After two periods of play in Saturday's home opener, the Battlefords North Stars were all squared up 0-0 with the Kindersley Klippers, much the same as Friday's season opener.
But this time, the North Stars didn't need overtime to pick up the win, thanks to captain Layne Young leading the way in what ended up as a 4-0 win.
"[Young] is a player that's special," North Stars head coach Brandon Heck said on the post-game interview on CJNB/CJNS. "With him — and not to compare him to guys like Gretzky — but when they get that first one, they smell blood and they go harder for more almost. He's got that in him."
The North Stars scored three goals in a span of 2:15 early in the third period to shut out Kindersley for the second straight game.
Young had the game-winning-goal and added two assists, giving him four points in his first two games of 2017-18. Last season, he had 71 points in 53 games and in his rookie year he had 75 points in 57 games. The North Stars captain was also double shifted for more than half the game after his centreman, MacGregor Sinclair, was ejected following a checking from behind penalty three minutes into the third.
Goaltender Taryn Kotchorek was lights out yet again as well, stopping all 33 shots he saw for his second straight shutout. The North Battleford native has now won his last 17 games, dating back to January of 2017.
"Taryn was being Taryn tonight...He makes our [whole] team feel confident," Heck said. "And it's nice to see the boys play for Taryn. You saw in the last three minutes, up by four, and Owen Lamb is blocking shots like it was the last minute of the game in game seven."
Lamb may not have found the scoresheet, but he was noticable all evening long for not only his shot blocking (he must have had at least 10 blocks) but also for his relentless puck pursuit, especially on the penalty kill, which went a perfect 8-for-8.
The team's penalty kill is now 14-for-14 after two games this year.
"[Lamb] is just not afraid to sacrifice his body for the team," Heck said when asked about his defensive performance. "If you come to the game, you'll just be amazed by him. Our penalty kill again really good tonight. A large part was blocking shots and the other thing [Lamb] did well was he was getting to loose pucks and able to get them out."
Battlefords fired 38 shots on goal in Friday's overtime win and 42 on goal in Saturday's win.
Overall, Heck said on Saturday they were able to generate better offensive chances.
"We shot the puck more [tonight] and were able to retrieve pucks that way, instead of getting our cycle broken up," Heck said. "And we had a game plan to come through the neautral zone. I thought yesterday, they did a better job slowing us down through the neutral zone and today we stuck with it. It showed in the third period. Just needed to keep believing in it for it to work out."
New addition Keith Anderson also had a three-point night on Saturday, thanks to an offensive infusion when Young began skating on a line with him and youngster Matthias Urbanski. Newcomer Dakota Huebner also scored his first career Junior A goal, while Urbanski and Elijah-Loon-Stewardson picked up their first career Junior A points.
The North Stars will welcome the 2-0 Estevan Bruins to town next Saturday. The Bruins beat Melville twice this weekend: 4-2 on Friday and 5-1 on Saturday.
"I'm going to start looking at video from [them from] this year," Heck said. "I don't know what to expect from them. I haven't seem them so I'm going to have to do my homework that way to get the guys ready. We've got a veteran squad that can [help] pre-scout opponents.
"We've just got to make sure we're ready with a good four days of detailed practice."
Saturday's game is set for 7:30 once again and the Ultra-Print pre-game show can be heard on CJNB/CJNS beginning at 7:15 p.m.
3 Stars from Saturday:
3. Justen Close - G - KIN - 38 saves on 42 shots
2. Taryn Kotchorek - G - BAT - 33 saves on 33 shots
1. Layne Young - LW - BAT - GWG, two assists
3rd. BAT – 1:49 – Young (1) ASST: Urbanski (1), Anderson (1)
3rd. BAT – 2:54 – Huebner (1) ASST: Young (2), Loon-Stewardson (1)
3rd. BAT – 4:04 – Anderson (1) ASST: Young (3), Urbanski (2)
3rd. BAT PPG – 18:01 – Manegre (1) ASST: Jensen (1), Anderson (2)
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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