After a "hairy" win on Saturday night on home ice against the Moose Jaw Generals, the Battlefords AAA Stars picked up another two points with a better performance in Sunday's 5-2 win.
The pair of victories improved the Stars' record to 9-10 this season, which currently gives them a three-point cushion for the eighth and final playoff spot.
"Our goal was to get to .500 by Christmas and we're one below at the end of November. We're pretty happy about that," Stars head coach Norm Johnston said following Sunday's win. "And we've got some guys really going hard. I know [Adam] Beckman has got points and [Ty] Mosimann and [Damon] McKenzie have got points, but look at the things that [Tye] Scherger is doing, look at what [Ian] Hillis is doing, look at what [Dylan] Esau is doing, look at what [Logan] Flodell is doing. Look at what those other kids are starting to do on our hockey team; they're starting to come."
It was a dicey start to the year for the Stars, who went 1-4 in their first five games, but Johnston is happy things finally seem to be progressing well.
"It looks like we've got a hockey team. That's the point. At one time, we didn't think we had a [good] hockey team," he said. "I think the kids have worked really hard and I've got to give gratitude to the parents of our hockey team... You can't run a good program without good parents and good kids.
"The other thing is I'm getting to know the kids. I didn't know any of these kids when I first got here. It's taken me half a season to get to know my kids and see who's going to go."
With a two-point performance on Sunday, Adam Beckman increased his point streak to four games, during which he has six goals and three assists. Overall, the Saskatoon native has 27 points in 17 games. Ty Mosimann also has points in four straight, with eight assists over that span, and a total of 28 points this season.
As Johnston mentioned, others are stepping up too.
Scherger had three goals and an assist in the two weekend wins over Moose Jaw, while Flodell also had three goals. Forward Shayde Peterson had a four-point weekend as well.
Joseph Young stood out on Sunday as well, with 40 saves on 42 shots.
It has been a busy time for the Stars, who not only had games on Tuesday and Thursday last week, but also had another doubleheader the weekend before.
That means they played six games in just nine days.
"This isn't a sprint. This is a race, this is a long process to get these kids to play well and get them to keep on going," Johnston said. "Today we had six really good efforts from six really good forwards. And one line kind of backed off and didn't play as well. But maybe next [time] it will be [their] turn. That's all it is."
"We've played a lot of hockey in a very short period of time... so you've got to be happy with the wins, you've got to be happy with the kids."
Not only has a strong run of games provided a challenge for the Stars, but a shortened lineup on the blueline has too.
Unfortunately, that may continue.
The Stars were without defenceman Jackson Tonnies for nine games, and Trey Stocker missed the weekend games because of a two-game suspension following a fight in Prince Albert on Thursday. Now, it appears Carson Robertson, the team's captain, could be on the shelf for a while, after he left Sunday's game early on after taking a hit in the neutral zone.
"It doesn't look very good," Johnston said. "We'll find out. We don't think it's a separated shoulder, we think it's dislocated. So, if it's dislocated we might be alright. But we're down to five and we've just got to find some APs to play and fill in."
The good news is Battlefords has a week off now, which is good timing, although APs will surely still be needed.
"It's a nice break," Johnston added.
The Stars will practice Tuesday-Thursday this week and then the kids will get the weekend off. They'll return to practice Monday-Wednesday and then play on the road against Beardy's on Thursday, Dec. 7.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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