It's safe to say the Battlefords North Stars were firing on all cylinders during their Family Day matinee against the Weyburn Red Wings, shutting out the home team 5-0 while firing 43 shots on goal and going 7-for-7 on the penalty kill.
The win means the North Stars are still the only team that has yet to lose three straight games this season, after snapping out of their two-game slide.
"[I'm] proud of the guys with the way they responded," North Stars Head Coach Brandon Heck said in a post-game interview on CJNB/CJNS. "They took that desperate mode that we played [with] at the end of the game against Notre Dame and carried it on forward."
The power play got things started with a MacGregor Sinclair one-timer goal, his 30th tally of the season, then continued with a Cole Johnson short-side snipe to make it 2-0. Owen Lamb, Brad Girard and Layne Young would each add even-strength goals.
Young's goal was his 35th of the season, and after recording an assist on Sinclair's first period goal, Young reached 100 points on the year. He is the first player in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League to record a 100-point campaign since 2010-11, when La Ronge Ice Wolves Marc-Andre Carre and Travis Eggum each had 106.
"I was talking to a Division-1 school and they told me the [SJHL] is the hardest league to score in," Heck said. "I think that makes it even more impressive."
Taryn Kotchorek built on his league-leading shutout tally with his fifth of the season, thanks to 36 saves. The 20-year-old now has 14 career shutouts, building on his SJHL record. This season, he is 16-8-2 with a 2.41 goals-against-average and .917 save percentage.
"Kotchorek was solid with his rebounds," Heck said. "He had to make a few big saves when it was 1-0, 2-0, and that kept the momentum and energy on our bench."
After 52 of 58 games, the North Stars carry a 39-11-2 record and have locked up their division for the third consecutive season. Their next game is Friday on the road in Melfort. The Mustangs lost 6-0 to Humboldt Monday, and are now 35-12-4-1. Heck said the North Stars' fast players will give them an advantage.
"I know our speed was an issue for them the last time," Heck said. "We came at them with a ton of speed and put pucks behind them. It's not good for us when they lose 6-0; they're going to be angry and come at us, so we're going to have to be on our toes and get healthy and get some rest."
Speaking of health, forward Dakota Huebner left Monday's game with an uppder-body injury and did not return. The North Stars are already without Garan Magnes, Troy Gerein, Conor Jensen, and Parker Smyth due to various ailments.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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