Sinclair nets OT winner; North Stars come back to beat Humboldt

By Nathan Kanter
October 3, 2017 - 11:10pm

A slow start didn't prevent the Battlefords North Stars from picking up two points on Tuesday night at the Civic Centre, as they downed the Humboldt Broncos 3-2 in overtime.

MacGregor Sinclair scored 3:42 into the extra frame on a shot from the high slot that went top corner after he received a pass from captain Layne Young.

"His shot is definitely underrated," North Stars head coach Brandon Heck said after the win, which improved the North Stars record to 5-0-1. "It's sneaky. He knows how to change stick angles and he worked hard on his skills in the summer and it's paying off for him. Extremely happy for him. He's a grounded kid and understands he didn't play his best but big players step up at the right time and he did."

Humboldt, who now have a 4-2-1 record, got out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes thanks to goals from Kaleb Dahlgren and Evan Thomas.

But Levi Kleiboer cut the lead in half with just five seconds to go in the second period and then scored again early in the third to tie the game and send it to overtime.

"I saw us come out flat," Heck said. "We felt them out and they took it to us. We got momentum from a strong penalty kill again and chipped away and responded in the second and third period like a veteran team does. Credit to our guys for that."

Kleiboer was the seventh defenceman dressed and has already missed two games this season.

But he was arguably the best skater on either side. His three-point night now brings his season total to six in just four games.

"He brings it all," Heck said of his star defenceman. "We planned not to use him [on the penalty kill] but he's just a thoroughbred horse. He's [on the bench] looking up at you like 'put me out there,' so I have no choice when he's [playing] that good. He controls the game and he makes his partner [better]. And a lot of credit goes to [Cody] Spagrud playing with him too. They just compliment each other."

Taryn Kotchorek shone in goal as well, stopping 40 of 42 pucks thrown his way, including going perfect in the final second periods and the overtime.

"The thing that impressed me is he let in two after the first period and some goalies don't respond that well. They kind of pack it in for the night," Heck said. "He locked it down and gave us a chance to win and chip away because he knew weren't going to score a lot [because] Humboldt limits chances. We needed him to be strong back there...and that's exactly what he did."

Kotchorek improved his record to 4-0-1 this year and stays perfect in his career against Humboldt. He is now 7-0 all-time against the Broncos with a .945 save percentage.

The Broncos out-shot the North Stars in the game 42-37.

Heck said a lot of Humboldt's chances came on the man advantage, where they went 0-for-5.

"They came in waves tonight," Heck said. "I thought it was a back and forth game. We'd be strong for five minutes and then they'd be strong for five. It was a good see-saw battle."

Battlefords will now have an even longer break than the one they had coming into Tuesday's action. Their next game isn't until Friday, Oct. 13 at home against Melville.

"I thought we had pretty hard, competitive practices leading up to [tonight] with a lot of battle and our battle level wasn't there in the first," Heck said. "We're going to have to do some searching and hopefully the boys can go home, enjoy thanksgiving and come back refreshed and ready to perform."


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