North Stars even series

The Battlefords North Stars beat the Estevan Bruins 2-1 last night at the Civic Center. Goals from Igor Leonenko and Nick Fountain were enough as Spencer Tremblay made 36 saves for the win.

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The Stars came out with a decent first period on home ice and had a 1-0 lead after the opening frame. Matt Saharchuk had the Stars first scoring chance but Fuhr made the save. The Stars couldn’t get to the big rebound that bounced off the Bruins goalie.

At the other end Ryan Duret couldn’t get a stick on a back door pass and then moments later Spencer Tremblay was run over by Wyatt Garagan. Tremblay has been bumped and ploughed over several times. To his credit he hasn’t taken a dive trying to embellish contact and con the referee.

Bryce Hall had a couple shots in the first and Brenden Heinrich tested Fuhr but he stood tall. Then he made his best save of the game to rob Igor Leonenko. Igor showed great patience to move through the slot. On his forehand he waited, and waited, and waited some more. When he finally shot it appeared he had done everything right to score. But Fuhr made a jumping/lunging right pad save. The best of the game.

Just after a Stars power play they got on the board. The puck came to Igor Leonenko and he was able to bat it from along the goal line and in off Fuhr who wasn’t on his near post. That was Igor’s first of the post-season.

The Stars got caught in their own zone a few times. But they were blocking lots of shots and throwing lots of hits. Heinrich got a big hit on Pastachak. Fransoo hammered Taylor Ross.

Tremblay’s best save of the period came as he charged out to challenge Pastachak and stop the forward’s shot. Not long later Allison was able to replicate the move of his team mate and get in alone on Tremblay. Again he made the save. Tremblay with a stretching right pad save and the rebound was cleared.

In the second period the North Stars were without Reed Delainey who left the game and did not return. Jake McMillen started the frame with an epic shift on the PK. Logan Nachtegaele got out of the box, threw a hit, and then went back to the box. The Stars killed that penalty as well. Baxter Kanter got a huge hit on Kurt Sonne. On the PK Kanter crushed Allison. Matt Havens didn’t shy away from the physical stuff either and he hit Ryan Duret.

The North Stars set up Kendall Fransoo for a one-timer but Fuhr made the save. The Stars made it 2-0 moments later. Matt Saharchuk and Nick Fountain got away on a 2-on-1 and Saharchuk was able to go around the sprawling d-man and set up Fountain in front. His second in as many nights got the Stars the lead and stood up as the game winner.

Brenden Heinrich almost made it three for the Stars. Fuhr didn’t appear to see the one-timer from Heinrich from the slot but was in position and made the save anyway.

Then the rough stuff. Rice hit Saharchuk with what looked to me like a clean hit but Fountain didn’t like it. He jumped Rice and the two fought. Fountain got 2, 5 and a game for instigating. Rice got a double minor for roughing. The referees really messed up though. All 4 officials were watching the fight down in the corner and no one was watching as a wrestling match broke out in front of the North Stars bench. That led to more penalties and the Stars lost Kendall Fransoo for 2 and 10 because the refs weren’t on hand to stop the Bruins from going after the North Stars.

After the rough stuff Tremblay made some nice saves including stopping a one-timer from Reiger on a Bruins power play. Estevan had 3 minutes of Fountain’s major penalty as a power play but couldn’t score. At the other end Brenden Heinrich hit the post.

The Stars managed to get to the third period with a 2-0 lead for the second straight night. This time they held on.

At times the third was a bit nervous looking. Kanter kept hitting as he got a good one on Pastachak. Saharchuk had a strong period but more than once his shots were stopped by Fuhr and the rebounds cleared. Jordan Townsend had a chance to add to the lead. Saharchuk set up Havens for a shot which Fuhr stopped. The rebound bounced up in the air and Townsend missed it as he tried to bat it in out of mid-air.

Saharchuk blocked a shot later that trickled in on Tremblay and he made the save. Seconds later Manley’s shot was turned away as well. The Bruins were running out of time and Kanter, Mitchell and Nachtegaele had a great shift keeping the puck down in Estevan territory.

With under a minute to go the Bruins got their net empty and did eventually jam a puck home. A greasy goal with about 20 seconds left that broke the shutout bid of Tremblay’s. But the Bruins couldn’t get much going in the final 20 seconds and the Stars kept the puck to the outside and away from their net to hold on for the win.

The series is now even at 1-1.

After the final horn Kendall Fransoo and Pastachak came out of the penalty boxes and got into it. Their wrestling match drew a big crowd but nothing kicked off as cooler heads prevailed. But this series is now getting seriously heated and should be a lot of fun in Estevan tomorrow and Tuesday.

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  1. SJHL Playoffs Game #3 – Battlefords North Stars at Estevan Bruins | North Stars Beacon

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