North Stars win ugly game in Melville

By Craig Beauchemin
February 6, 2016 - 7:17am

The Battlefords North Stars didn’t play their best game of hockey Friday night in Melville but it still resulted in a 4-2 win, giving the North Stars a three game winning streak.

The North Stars controlled the play for the majority of the first period, with a few quality scoring chances including a shot by Igor Leonenko that hit the cross bar.

In the final few minutes of the period the North Stars were finally able to find the back of the net. Eric Williams was called for checking from behind on Baxter Kanter, giving the North Stars the man advantage while ending Williams’ night.

While on that power play, Coby Downs took a pass on the left face-off circle and walked in before firing a wrist shot under the glove of Brandon Wells for his 24th of the season.

In the final minute of the period, Downs was absolutely robbed of a goal. After a good play by Leonenko to try and tuck the puck behind the goaltender, he gathered it behind the net and came out the far side. He slid a cross-ice pass to Downs who was at the bottom of the left face-off circle as Downs one timed the puck. The right pad of Wells came out of seemingly nowhere to rob Downs and keep the game 1-0 after 20 minutes.

In the second the North Stars were able to extend their lead when Layne Young and Leonenko came barreling in on the right side of the net. 

Young took a quick shot which snuck through the pads of Wells for his 20th of the season to make it 2-0 at 6:58.

The Millionaires quickly responded, however. After catching the North Stars on a bad line change, Ryan Rothenberger had a partial break and beat Taryn Kotchorek through the five hole to cut the lead to 2-1 just 1:02 after Young’s goal.

The score stood at 2-1 after 40 minutes which was a good omen for the North Stars, as they were 24-1-0-0 when leading after two periods heading into yesterday’s game.

Seven and a half minutes into the third, Young struck again. Ryan Rosenberg at the left point sent a pass to Cody Spagrud at the right point with lots of ice to walk in. Instead of hammering a shot on goal, Spagrud spotted Young in the slot and feathered a pass to him that Young was able to deflect over top of Wells for his fifth goal in his past two games.

The North Stars had multiple other chances to find the back of the net, including Young hitting two posts and Leonenko missing the net on a breakaway.

They were able to add another goal late in the third on a bit of a controversial play. Kanter was bringing the puck down the left wing and cut to the net. As he jammed the puck on goal, he fell on top of Wells as the puck went into the net. The official called it a good goal, which resulted in boos raining down from the Melville faithful.

The Millionaires would add another goal late on a gorgeous shot from the slot from Jake Teserowski, as he beat Kotchorek over the blocker to make it 4-2 with two and a half minutes left.

The North Stars were unable to hit the back of the net, but it didn’t matter as the clock hit zero to signal a North Stars win.

It wasn’t the prettiest game by any means. There were times when the Millionaires really hemmed the North Stars in their own zone, but were unable to capitalize on their chances.

The North Stars are right back in action Saturday when they finish off their quick two game road trip with a stop in Yorkton against the Terriers, who are coming off a 4-0 loss to the Nipawin Hawks on Friday.

The last time the North Stars played at the Farrell Agencies Arena on Oct. 7, they won 7-1.

 

cbeauchemin@jpbg.ca

Twitter: @craig_beauch

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