The Battlefords North Stars appear to ahve turned a corner after a big 3-2 win over the Kindersley Klippers last night at the Civic Center.
The Stars were outstanding at 5-on-5 defensively giving the Klippers very few scoring chances. The best that they were able to carve out at even strength was a back door feed in the first period that Darcy DeRoose couldn’t pop into a gaping net. Spencer Tremblay was scrambling across but didn’t have to make a save as Michael Statchuk blocked the shot. Tremblay was outstanding when called upon but for the most part was only forced to make routine saves on shots from the outside.
The Stars had a 2-0 lead after the first period and what a moment it was when the puck went in for the Stars first goal. Baxter Kanter got to a puck down low and passed out front to Logan Nachtegaele. He was all alone in front and easily fired past Nathan Hargrave. His first goal in Junior A and he scored it at the Hot Stove lounge end of the rink he grew up watching the Stars play in. But Nachtegaele wasn’t done. Later in the first Ryne Keller spun and fired a pass rink wide off the side boards that Logan was able to skate onto up the right wing and he snapped a shot past the glove of Hargrave. 2-0 Nachtegaele after the first.
The only goal in the second was a power play goal from the Klippers and the Stars had a 2-1 lead going to the third. They are now 8-0 on the season when leading after 40 minutes.
They made it 3-1 when Jake Erickson was all alone out front of the Kindersley net and scored his own rebound. Another Klipper goal on the power play made it 3-2 but that was as close as the Klippers would get.
Erickson and Connor Sych were good together again last night. Sych had a few little mistakes but made up for them well. I remember at one point he used his long reach to knock the puck away from an on rushing Kindersley forward and prevent a scoring chance. I though last night was arguably Erickson’s best ever game as a North Star.
Jake Calverley along with Kendall Fransoo were solid again and combined blocked a lot of shots. That was something the Stars did as well last night as they have done all season. Blocking shots was a key to the victory.
The line of Kanter, Keller and Nachtegaele was the Stars most consistent line last night but all 4 lines did some nice things. Brady O’Sullivan and Matt Saharchuk helped to set up the game winning goal and looked lively with Jake McMillen. The Havens, Heinrich and Mitchell line was buzzing at times and Heinrich in particular looked really good. He had plenty of jump and his speed was a weapon all night. And Bond, Townsend and Fountain teamed up as they have a few games this season. Townsend’s great burst up the middle and move around a D man drew a penalty in the first.
The one draw back for the Stars was maybe the fact that the power play looked a little off last night and they took a few undisciplined penalties. But they overcame those two factors to win the game.
Connor Sych almost put his team in trouble late when he hit a Klipper player from behind. But Shaun MacPherson jumped in to protect his team mate and you can understand why he did. The Refs implemented a rule that allows them to give Such a double minor for roughing instead of 5 and a game for fighting because he didn’t have a chance to say no to the fight. MacPherson got 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a game. Sych ended up with a double minor for roughing, 2 for a check from behind a game misconduct.
The penalties evened out and the Stars and Klippers were 4-on-4 for the final 1:12. Kindersley got the net empty and got the extra attacker. But they couldn’t get much going as the Stars shut-up shop and grabbed the victory.