North Stars contain Hounds for second consecutive shutout victory

By Nathan Kanter
February 10, 2018 - 11:55pm Updated: February 11, 2018 - 3:55pm

In what was their sixth game in nine nights, the Battlefords North Stars shut out the Notre Dame Hounds 1-0 on home ice for their 38th win of the season.

The club hasn't allowed a goal in back-to-back games now, with each netminder recording a shutout the past two games, first Taryn Kotchorek on Friday, and then Joel Grzybowski on Saturday with a 24-save performance.

"He was on his toes," North Stars head coach Brandon Heck said of Grzybowski's performance, which was his 14th win in 15 games. "Great on rebounds. He was finding the puck in scrums real well tonight. He's just a calm guy. You can't pick a wrong goalie for us."

Grzybowski now carries a 1.82 goals-against-average and .930 save percentage this season.

While the North Stars edged out the Weyburn Red Wings on Thursday 2-1, coach Heck said Saturday was different.

"Tonight it was more of an even game. They played pretty well tonight and limited our chances," Heck said. "It was very encouraging to be able to gut one out, especially a 1-0 win. That shows guys bought in.

"We had great back pressure...When we work hard and when we're playing the right way, good things are going to happen."

Cole Johnson scored the game's only goal on a power play in the second period.

It was his 13th of the season in 15 games, and was assisted by Layne Young and Levi Kleiboer.

Johnson and Young now each have eight-game point streaks, Johnson with six goals and eight assists during those eight games and Young with seven goals and 12 assists.

Although the power play notched the game's only goal, it finished 1-for-6 and continued to underwhelm.

"I liked [the power play] the first half of the game and then once we scored, I didn't like it after that," Heck said. "Our guys have just got to realize — and we showed them video in the intermission — you get chances from shooting the puck and that's when they break down and space opens up. We don't shoot and [get] them scrambling. We wait and kill so much of our own power play time."

The win is the North Stars' fourth straight, during which they've only allowed three goals. They are also now 7-1 in their last eight. On the season, the North Stars carry a 38-9-2 record with nine games left in the regular season.

With their next win (or a Humboldt loss), they will lock up the division for the third straight season.

Next up is a three-game road swing down south against Estevan, Notre Dame, and then Weyburn, beginning on Saturday night. Seven of the North Stars final nine games are on the road, with their last home games not set until March 2 and 8.


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