The North Stars lost 4-2 last night to the Melville Millionaires. The Mills ended up taking 3 of 4 games from the Stars this season.
The first period last night started out pretty much the same as the Stars recent losses. They came out strong with several good shifts to start the game. The Keller, Quinn, Forbes line really set a good tone. There were 3 or 4 times in the early going where the Stars drove the net and created rebounds. But the Mills cleared the puck before the Stars could pounce.
Midway through the period the Stars took a penalty. Dillon Forbes with a slash low on Ashton Clark knocked the former AAA Star off stride. Forbes went to the box for tripping. 14 seconds later the Stars were behind. Landon Farrell beating Casey Parker to open the scoring. The goal was scored at the 13:13 mark of the period. The Stars had some bad luck the rest of the night.
The shots after the first were 17-10 in favour of the North Stars. They played well but trailed. A pretty familiar story so far. Some fans I spoke with in the intermission felt the Stars hadn’t done enough of the net drives that had been working in the opening phase of the game.
In the second period a net drive led to the Stars tying goal. With a delayed penalty Tanner Quinn was able to come of the bench as an extra attacker. He raced towards the front of the net as Alex Bechtold drove the puck wide. Eventually a shot and a rebound made it’s way to Austin Evans and he hammered the puck home for his second of the year. His delight, and relief, were obvious.
The Stars almost took a lead late in the second. A shot of the rush was stopped by Plett but the rebound fluttered up in the air and onto the back of the net. The Stars knocked it loose as Plett scrambled around trying to find the puck. Ben Mack came in and shoved the net off it’s moorings. He took a delay of game penalty but the Stars couldn’t capitalize.
The Millionaires jumped out to a lead in the third. Just 2:45 into the period an Adam Dibella point shot squeaked through Casey Parker who may have been screened on the play. Two and a half minutes later Brady Constant made it 3-1. The crowd got behind the team with a ‘Go Stars Go’ chant and they responded. A minute after the Constant goal it was Nick Fountain making it 3-2. Founts has been great of late for the Stars and a great story after struggling to get into the lineup at times this season. He found a rebound and from just outside the crease, on his knees with his back to goal, he whacked the rebound home.
The Stars had chances after that. They buzzed in the attacking zone. They won puck battles. And I thought they had tied the game. A Jack Petrino deflection went just wide when seemingly the puck was headed into a yawning cage. The Stars just can’t buy a break.
Perhaps no player exemplifies the Stars struggles more than Spencer Gosselin. I think he’s been pretty solid but seemingly every time he makes a mistake the puck ends up in his team’s net. He was good last night. And then the bad luck. With the Star pressing in the attacking zone Goose went to the wall to try and hold a clearing attempt. Then the puck hit a station and deflected past and out to neutral ice. Kelvin Walz raced onto the loose puck and went in on a 2 on 1 and made no mistake snapping the puck past Parker.
A terrible bounce costing the Stars. They got the net empty and ended up drawing a late power play but were unable to score. They lost 4-2 in another game where they played well, were unlucky at times, struggled to finish the chances they created and every little mistake they made seemed to cost a goal.
After the game Coach Hasselberg praised the way his team worked and battled. He loved the way the crowd got behind the team. And he also admits the Stars need to make less mistakes. To control the play when the puck is in their possession.
As the GM I had to ask about potential moves. He said he has faith in this group. Kevin has to do his job and listen to offers and look at players who are available. He says he doesn’t want to make a trade just to make a trade. If they can improve the team they will. But he likes this group and the work they’ve done to assemble this team. You don’t want to bring in a bad apple into a locker room full of great young men.
Also last night, the North Stars auctioned off pumpkins that they had carved. There were some pretty creative efforts so I snapped a quick picture. It’s not great but you get an idea what the Star were able to come up with.