Stars beat Klippers to wrap up regular season

The North Stars jumped out to an early lead in Kindersley when Jake McMillen scored for the third straight game. Jake being on a hot streak and rolling into playoffs playing well is a great sign for the Stars. McMillen’s 13th of the season was actually partially stopped by Kindersley goalie Nathan Hargrave but fluttered in off his blocker.

Igor Leonenko got off to a strong start in the game and threw a nice early hit on Joel Webb to prevent the Klippers’ defenseman from getting away a good shot. The Stars had a pretty good first period and I am sure the shots were not as lopsided as the shot clock in Kindersley suggested. Ryan Rewerts was solid in that opening frame but most of the shots he faced were routine saves on shot from the outside.

McMillen was dangerous all night and during some first period 4-on-4 he had a nice rush, drag and shot that went just wide. Rewerts then made a nice save on Marc Dubeau from a sharp angle. The Klippers probably only had 2 or 3 scoring chances in the opening frame.

The Stars made it 2-0 when a rebound off a scramble came to Igor Leonenko and from a sharp angle he was able to roof the puck for his 8th of the year. Owen LaClare had a late rush for the Klippers but Jake Calverley played it well taking the body and allowing his team mates to clear the puck away from the slot area.

Early in the second the Stars went up 3-0. McMillen dropped a puck to Connor Sych at the right point and his shot went post and in on Hargrave. Less than 4 minutes later the score was tied. The Klippers with 3 straight goals in the space of 3:17. Dubeau’s shot just trickled home and then Connor Garden was alone in front and was able to score on the backhand. It looked like the third goal was knocked in with a high stick but it was allowed to stand. So early in the second it was 3-3.

McMillen then did great work down low to draw a penalty and on that power play he set up Leonenko for a one-timer that beat Hargrave low along the ice. Leonenko finished the season with 9 goals despite not playing until the game before Christmas and only featuring in 21 games. That’s a 20 goal pace and Igor will be a key figure for the Stars in the post-season.

Rewerts then made several key saves in the latter stages of the second including a diving cross crease save. And there was a fight between Brock Weston and Landon Gross that was probably a draw. Brenden Heinrich dropped the gloves with Tyler Anderson but not much happened and I am not sure either guy really landed a punch. At the end of it all the Stars had a lead to take to the third period.

Nick Fountain scored to give the Stars a two goal lead. Hargrave had a tough time with a dump in that went off his glove and trickled to the side of the net. The clearing attempt went to Fountain and he fired the puck home off the post. Kolby Johnson threw a high hit on Kevin Bendall and Connor Sych stepped in but Johnson wouldn’t drop the gloves. Owen LaClare was on hand to get in between the two young combatants. Nice to see Sych step up to protect a team mate. Bendall and Levi Kleiboer were both in the lineup as the Stars try and get healthy for playoffs.

The Klippers got the game back to a tie with a pair of third period goals. The tying goal that made it 5-5 was a dump in off the end wall that bounced hard out towards the slot and then in off the skate of Rewerts who couldn’t get back to his post in time.

The Klippers had the best chances in overtime but Rewerts stood tall.

In the shootout McMillen and Havens each scored and the Klippers could only beat Rewerts once so the Stars picked up the extra point and go into the post-season with a win under their belts. The Stars and Klippers split their season series with each team winning 4 times and each losing twice in OT or a shootout. So they each took 10 points from head to head games. The Klippers did win the first two matchups on the opening weekend. The Stars took the two most recent meetings.

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  1. SJHL Playoffs Game #1 – Estevan Bruins at Battlefords North Stars | North Stars Beacon

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