The Battlefords North Stars needed a big performance to bounce back to two bad games in a row, and that’s exactly what they did at home against Nipawin on Friday.
The North Stars lead the first period 1-0 on a power play goal by Igor Leonenko with 17 seconds left. Leonenko’s goal finished off some nice passing by the North Stars on the power play as he one timed a pass from Layne Young around Kristian Stead to open the scoring.
It took until the later stages of the second period for the North Stars to extend their lead.
Nipawin forward Garrett Dunlop’s pass behind his own net was intercepted by Coby Downs, who threw it in front of the net. Dustin Gorgi was stopped on the first chance, but got his own rebound and knocked it past Stead for his 24th goal of the season to make it 2-0 with 5:53 left in the period.
Just over two and a half minutes later, the North Stars struck again.
Troy Gerein had the puck in the slot and tried to send the pass to the left wing side for Braydon Buziak. Instead, the puck ended up on the stick of Leonenko, who dragged a wrist shot past Stead for his second of the game to give the North Stars a 3-0 lead heading into the third period.
In the third the Hawks found themselves shorthanded for nearly the entire period, and it cost them in a big way. The North Stars added to their total while playing four-on-four.
All four Hawks players were along the right wing boards in their own zone, allowing Jake McMillen to spot Ryan Rosenberg all alone in the high slot. He came in alone on Stead before firing a wrist shot through the legs of the goaltender for his second goal of the season at 3:55.
The goal also ended Stead’s night, who was clearly not pleased with the decision as he discussed it with his coach on the bench.
Three minutes later the North Stars got a full two minute five-on-three power play as Gordon Campbell was called for roughing and Reily McIntosh was called for holding on the same whistle. It didn’t take long for the North Stars to take advantage.
Just 22 second after the puck was dropped, Cody Spagrud’s centring pass deflected off a Hawks player in front and past Michael Barabash to make it 5-0 with 13 minutes left in the period.
They weren’t done there. 1:13 after Spagrud’s goal, Gorgi deflected a shot from the point by Connor Sych through the legs of Barabash for his second of the game to make it 6-0.
Shortly after the goal, things got a little rough. After play had been stopped Hawks defenceman Gordon Campbell threw his gloves down and grabbed Buziak’s jersey before throwing him to the ice and trying to throw punches.
Campbell was quickly escorted out of the game and given a nine-minute penalty for his actions, giving the North Stars a power play for almost the remainder of the game.
While they were unable to capitalize any more, the Hawks had one last chance to get on the board when Brett Harasymuk took a shot from the high slot with five seconds left in the period. He hit the post and Ryan Rewerts recorded his second shutout of the season.
The North Stars are back in action on Wednesday when they welcome the Notre Dame Hounds to the Civic Centre for the sixth and final matchup of the season between the Finning Division rivals.
The North Stars look to improve to 5-0-0-1 against Notre Dame on the season.
On Twitter: @craig_beauch
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