The Battlefords North Stars have spent more time on the ice than any other SJHL team so far this season. 5 of the Stars 7 games this season have gone beyond regulation. And that was the case again last night as the Stars lost to Kindersley 3-2.
The North Stars opened the scoring pretty early in the first period. Just seconds after a power play expired, and before the Klipper player was back in the play, Matt Saharchuk was able to wrap around on his forehand and beat Evan Weninger through the 5-hole.
The lead didn’t last as a North Stars turnover at their own blueline led to the tying goal. Owen LaClare with the steak and he went in to beat Spencer Tremblay. The rest of the period was all North Stars as they out hit the Klippers, controlled the play, dominated the puck possession and earned a couple more power plays. They did everything but score as they outshot Kindersley 18-7 in the period.
That was the basic story of the game. The Stars in control but unable to beat Weninger who was excellent.
Jake McMillen returned to the lineup for his first game of the season and played center on a line with Matt Havens and Brenden Heinrich. That line created chance after chance and could have scored a couple of goals. If they stick together, and once McMillen shakes off a little rust, they could score a bunch of goals.
Baxter Kanter had 4 different hits in the running for the Sanberg Collision Collision of the game. He hit the other number 10 Landon Gross really hard twice in the third period. That line provided great energy. The line of Townsend, Bond and Fountain was together again after a strong game in La Ronge. And that group again looked dangerous.
The North Stars were short a D man for the third period after Kendall Fransoo took exception to a high stick that he received from Ryley Bosman. Those two dropped the mitts late in the second and were done for the game. Give a lot of credit to the Stars D in this one as they were excellent apart from two glaring turnovers. Other than that the Klippers didn’t really get a ton of chances. And when they did test Spencer Tremblay he made several good saves.
In the third the Stars took the lead when Reed Delainey found Brady O’Sullivan and the Minnesota native beat Wenginer from the right face off circle short side up over the glove. A beautiful wrister and the Stars were on top.
But 32 seconds later a terrible break. A Klippers rink wide pass that was going no where near the goal hit a North Stars leg deflected up in the air and fluttered across the goal line as Spencer Tremblay was sliding across to take away a possible one timer. He had no chance to adjust in time and make a save. That made it 2-2.
Then, after some complaints from the Klippers bench about their lack of power plays, the Stars were short handed a couple of times late. With Connor Vermeulen in the box twice the Stars had to rely on Erickson, Sych, Statchuk and Robin Yew on defence to kill penalties. And they did juts that. One of the penalties to Vermeulen carried over into OT and despite puck possession from the Klippers the Stars 3 PK guys handled the 4 Klipper PP guys.
Once it was back to evens you thought the Stars might have momentum to go on and win the game. But another turnover near their own blueline allowed Case to score his second of the game and win it in OT.
The Stars have now gone to OT/SO in 5 of their 7 games so far this season and in 3 of the 4 versus Kindersley.
Next up a trip to Nipawin Friday night and on to Flin Flon Saturday. It sounds like Adam Smith could be back in the lineup as soon as this weekend as the Stars continue to get healthy after some early season injury troubles.
Congratulations to Jordan Townsend. The Stars rookie center picked up SJHL rookie of the week honours after his 3 point game in La Ronge on Friday. Townsend now has 5 points, 1 goal and 4 asssts, in 6 games played this season. Townsend is the first Star to win a weekly honour so far this season.
I also noticed yesterday that the North Stars are back on the CJHL top 20 list. At the start of the season the North Stars were an honourable mention. And they are again after winning 4 straight. It’s early and some league’s are just getting underway. But nice to see the Stars on that list once again. Notre Dame, also in the Kramer Division, came in at number 2. Kindersley has only played 4 games so far but they haven’t lost in regulation yet. The Kramer might be the toughest division in the SJHL this season.