The Battlefords North Stars were looking for their first sweep of a seven-game series in 10 years as they went to Kindersley for game four. They were unable to eliminate the Klippers, as they’ll now have to return home for game five after a 4-1 loss.
The first period was rather pedestrian in that there weren’t a ton of high quality scoring chances. The best chance for either team came mid-way through the first when Nathan Hargrave took away a sure goal from Layne Young.
There was a bit of a scramble in front of the Klippers goal with three North Stars looking for the loose puck. It came lose at the left side of the net, and Young took a whack at it trying to knock it into the open cage. Seemingly out of nowhere came the glove hand of Hargrave as he snared the puck and kept the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
Early in the second the North Stars would open the scoring. Young and Coby Downs combined for a shorthanded goal in game three, and they’d do it again in game four.
Downs carried the puck down the left wing on a two-on-one before sending it across for Young. Hargrave managed to go post-to-post to make a great glove save, but the puck was sitting in the crease. Downs jumped on it and knocked it home to give the North Stars the lead.
Just like in game three, the Klippers answered back quickly. On the same power play as the shorthanded goal was scored on, Austin Calladine took a cross-ice pass from Daniell Lange and fired it through the five hole of Fuhr to tie the game just 1:01 after the North Stars took the lead.
Midway through the period Hargrave once again came up with a spectacular save. Igor Leonenko was skating through the slot heading towards the left faceoff circle. He let go a wrist shot and Hargrave flashed the glove, making a windmill style glove save to keep the game tied at one.
In the final minutes of the period the Klippers took the lead, for good. First it was Calladine sprinting down the right wing before stopping up near the corner. He spotted defenceman Nick Rein jumping in the play, and sent the pass across the ice for the defenceman to score his first goal of the 2015-16 season to make it 2-1 Klippers.
Two and a half minutes later the Klippers extended their lead. It was an unfortunate break for the North Stars, as Carson Pickett was coming down the right wing with a lane to the net. North Stars captain Kendall Fransoo was trying to get back to angle him off, but he stumbled at the blue line which allowed Pickett to walk in on a breakaway and beat Tyler Fuhr to make it 3-1 at the end of the second period.
In the third the North Stars had periods of time where they generated solid puck control and movement, but they just couldn’t solve Hargrave again. Jordan Townsend was robbed halfway through the period on a cross-ice pass by the blocker of Hargrave for the best chance of the period.
The clock wound down and Holden Daley hit the empty net from centre ice with 12 seconds left as the Klippers kept their season alive for at least one more game with the 4-1 win.
Game five returns to the Civic Centre Saturday, March 26, as the North Stars try for the second time to eliminate their biggest rivals.
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