'Frustrating' was the word of choice for assistant coach Boyd Wakelin in the Battlefords North Stars 1-0 loss to the Weyburn Red Wings on home ice on Saturday night.
The North Stars outshot Weyburn 31-20, and likely had another 20 (at least) blocked.
Not to mention, defenceman Conor Jensen was called for roughing with 2:25 left in the game, right as the North Stars were pushing to tie the game. The call was just the third penalty called by the referees all night long.
"Not really the time in the game you expect one that could go either way to be called, but I guess I'll just leave it at that," Wakelin said. "I'd categorize [this loss] as frustrating. I thought we carried the play for the most part and just didn't capitalize and just didn't get to the areas that you need to get to to score in a close game like this."
Wakelin said the game was another example of guys working hard, but not as smart as they could.
He specifically saw it in the team's shot selection.
"I think guys were trying to get the perfect shot rather than shooting at the pads and getting into the dirty areas to score, which is where we've had a lot of success this year," Wakelin said. "That was the gameplan going in.
"It's getting shots through from up top [too]. We had lots of shots blocked. You don't want to get take credit away from Weyburn, they played a hard game but when you're getting that many shots blocked, [it's frustrating]."
One positive was Elijah Loon-Stewardson, and while no one on Battlefords found the scoresheet, he appeared to be shot out of a cannon.
"He had a great game," Wakelin said of the rookie. "It seems like every game he's just getting a little more confident. It's really good to see."
Taryn Kotchorek made his return to the crease for the North Stars and made 19 saves on 20 shots. He now has a 2.12 goals-against-average and .929 save percentage in six games
With 31 saves on 31 shots, Avik Weersink recorded his first career shutout for the Wings, while affiliate player Connor Gabruch scored the game-winning-goal in his first career SJHL game.
North Stars Keith Anderson and Connor McIntosh returned to the lineup for the Stars after serving their two-game suspensions, but Anderson left after the first period and did not return. It was not immediately clear what the ailment was.
Meanwhile, new North Star Brad Girard made his debut as well, wearing number 20 with no name bar, as he was acquired halfway through the week.
"I thought as the game went on, he started handling the puck a little better," Wakelin said. "At the start, he was kind of fumbling it a bit. But I thought he had a pretty good game for a first game with a new team."
Layne Young's season-long 14-game point streak was also snapped. He still has 31 points in 15 games this season.
The North Stars will hit the road on Wednesday for the first of four games in five nights. They'll take on Notre Dame on Wednesday, where head coach Brandon Heck will be eligible to return from a three-game suspension. The North Stars will then visit Estevan, Weyburn and Yorkton on the weekend.
"They'll be stuck together in a hotel for five days so It'll be a good time for guys to bond and gel together as a team," Wakelin added.
The first of those four games is set for 8 p.m. on Wednesday. NorSask North Stars will begin at 7:45 p.m. on CJNB/CJNS.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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