The North Stars grabbed a come back 3-2 win in Notre Dame last night as they were sparked by Igor Leonenko.
The Stars actually came out playing quite well at the start of the period and Kendall Fransoo’s rising right point shot was fought off by Benjamin Patt in the Hounds goal. With about 11 minutes left in the first the shots were 2-0 in favour of the North Stars. Not long later Spencer Tremblay made a nice pad save. Not long later the Stars were behind. Sam Aulie teed up a one-timer that appeared to hit the crossbar. The ref was in great position and immediately waved it off and play continued. At the next whistle the refs got together and eventually a goal was given. I am not sure how anyone else had a better view than the ref that was just on the goal line? In the end though they talked it over and someone must have been sure it was in the net.
Later in the period the Stars had a chance to tie when Brenden Heinrich found Bryce Hall out front. Hall’s shot though went off the heal of his stick and just wide. The Hounds went up 2 nothing on a breakaway goal by Cory Anderson. His shot was stopped but Tremblay couldn’t stop himself from sliding back into his own net. The puck did appear to be clearly across the line before the whistle went but again no goal was given. The refs talked it over, they did that a lot last night, and called it a goal. The Stars called a time out and re-grouped.
Brady O’Sullivan’s back hand pass to Nick Fountain on a Stars power play bounced passed Fountain in the slot and went to Igor Leonenko. He stepped into a big slapshot that rifled passed Patt and got the Stars on the board.
Late in the first Tremblay stopped a deflection and then the rebound was taken around the net on a wrap around attempt but Tremblay stopped that as well. It was 2-1 after 1.
In the second the Stars were outshot 11-9 but the first half of the period was all Hounds. Jake Calverley fell awkwardly and went off limping and in a lot of pain. I was surprised to see him return later in the period but glad that he was okay.
The Hounds had a 2-on-1 with Andrew Cummings setting up Jared Martin. Martin’s quick one-time shot was stopped by Tremblay. The Stars didn’t get their first shot of the period until over 5 minute had been played. Jordan Townsend took a feed from Matt Havens and went to the net. I was shocked there was no penalty as Townsend had a Hound draped all over him and didn’t score.
More controversy later in the period. Connor Sych took down a Hound player in the corner and a delayed penalty was coming. Sych then tried to get up and get back in the play and the Hound put him in a VERY clear headlock and wouldn’t let him up. Right in front of the referee. He blew his whistle with the Hounds in possession of the puck so I figured both guys were heading off. Then the puck went in the net behind Tremblay a few seconds after the whistle and the ref who blew the play down pointed for a goal. The Stars bench was all set to explode. After discussion the goal was rightfully disallowed. The whistle had gone. Sych was then the only player to go to the box. So why was the whistle blown? I am not sure. I am sure that Sych was livid with the call. The Stars killed the penalty with Tremblay making save after save.
And that penalty kill seemed to give the Stars momentum. After back to back kills they tied the game. Igor Leonenko sent Matt Havens in alone. Havens has some pretty sick hands. A little fake to open up the goalie and a backhand through the 5-hole made it 2-2.
Sych had a shot stopped and the rebound went right to Logan Nachtegaele who appeared to have an open net but the puck bounced and his shot just missed. End to end action saw Bryce Hall set up Jake Erickson for a chance but Patt turned Erickson’s shot aside. Tremblay made a good save seconds later at the other end of the ice. Brenden Heinrich had a tough start to the second period but a very strong finish with a few great shifts in a row. his rush helped set up a couple of chances including Jake McMillen who just missed.
Igor Leonenko found a loose puck with 2 minutes left in the period and his spinning slap shot beat Patt low along the ice. A goal that the goalie would like to have back for sure. I think Igor may have partially fanned and that could have fooled Patt.
In the third Dion Antisin got into it with Leonenko and they both went off. During 4-on-4 Patt robbed McMillen with a glove save. Tremblay then had a nice glove save off his own moments later.
The Stars took back to back penalties in the period but the PK was great. Tremblay has really found his form here late in the season. And the Stars blocked shots like crazy. O’Sullivan, Fransoo several times, and Logan Nachtegaele with memorable shot blocks in the period. Logan dropped down in front of Evan Werle, who has an absolute cannon, to block a shot. It hurt but it kept the Stars in front. Tremblay’s best save of the game was during a massive scramble in front. With sticks and bodies everywhere the Stars goalie really battled for his ice, tracked the puck and mad a save before covering up.
After the Stars took 3 straight penalties it was the Hounds who lost composure late. Lightfoot for tripping, Walsh for boarding Jake Calverley, Trapp for slashing Leonenko (a moment in the game that should be looked at by the league), Lightfoot again for a cross-check, and Cummings for hooking. It was a parade to the box. The Stars had 2 lengthy spells of 5-on-3 but couldn’t put the game away. Antisin and Fountain got into late as Antisin stood right over top of Fountain who was on the ice. The Hound forward wouldn’t let Fountain up so as the Stars forward tried to force his way to his feet both players ended up wrestling and both went off. It was all right below me in the press box and I thought it was a strange call to send Fountain off as well.
During that 4-on-4 Tremblay made another huge save on Werle then the Nachtegaele shot block I mentioned earlier helped the Stars hang on.
The Hounds were short handed for the last 1:30ish and got their net empty to make it 5-on-5. Nick Fountain missed the empty net. Tremblay was not going to be beaten and the Stars got the win.
That’s two in a row for the Stars and they know they have even more to offer moving forward. They were good this week and know they can get even better. And now they get to test themselves against the best team in the league on Friday when the North Stars host Melfort.