Strong goaltending, a solid penalty kill, and a timely goal from a hometown kid were enough to get the Battlefords AAA Stars past the Beardy's Blackhawks on Tuesday night at the Civic Centre.
Fifteen-year-old netminder Carter Serhyenko made 37 saves on 38 shots to improve his record to 4-2 this season.
More importantly, it got the Stars one game closer to the .500 mark, as they now sit in eighth place with a 6-7 record.
"Serhyenko and [Joseph] Young have done a really good job for us [in goal]," Stars head coach Norm Johnston said after the win. "I'm really happy with them."
The Stars entered the game with 46 goals against in 12 games played, for an average of nearly four per game.
But on Tuesday, Johnston said he was satisifed with the team's overall defensive effort, despite allowing 38 shots.
"Backside pressure is a lot better," he said. "Tonight I've got no downside. None. Our kids worked hard. Our kids deserved to win and they won."
The Stars did take significantly more penalties than their opposition, but the penalty kill went a perfect 7-for-7.
Meanwhile, the power play went 1-for-2, as Adam Beckman opened the scoring in the second period to increase his point streak to six games.
"PK is good. Power play we could have scored maybe one more goal," Johnston said. "Took too many penalties but we want to be more physical, we want to make sure we handle that stuff and I didn't think some of the calls were justified, but that's the way she bounces. Some nights you get them, some nights you don't."
Talon Thomas tied the game for Beardy's in the second, so the teams entered the third period all knotted up 1-1.
Halfway through the final period, Luke Fennig and Tye Scherger connected on a nice give-and-go to regain the Stars one-goal lead, one they would not relinquish. Fennig, a North Battleford native, also added an assist in the game to give him seven points on the season in 13 games.
Johnston added he was happy that the Stars started taking the puck wide more often, something he said had been lacking in the past.
"You know what, it's a process," he said. "It's a work in progress, so we've just got to keep on going."
With their 6-7 record, the Stars' eighth-place ranking currently has them two points ahead of ninth-place Moose Jaw, but the Stars also have a game in hand.
Battlefords will play in Prince Albert against the Mintos on Thursday night, a team that is second right now with an 11-2-0-2 record.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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