North Stars lose 4-3 again despite late push

By Nathan Kanter
February 19, 2018 - 10:00am Updated: February 19, 2018 - 1:20pm

The Battlefords North Stars lost their second straight game Sunday afternoon for just the third time this season, falling 4-3 to the Notre Dame Hounds.

The loss comes one day after falling 4-3 to Estevan, also on the road, and the club's record now stands at 38-11-2.

"I liked our game for about 55 minutes," North Stars head coach Brandon Heck said. "I thought we competed hard. We were winning races. Credit to them; they capitalized.

"We made some individual mistakes that cost us. They took advantage of the few there were."

Keith Anderson had another strong performance with two goals for Battlefords, one of which was on a power play. He now has 16 goals and 17 assists in 38 games this season.

Chaz Smedsrud scored the game-winning goal for the Hounds on a breakaway with 4:11 to go in the third period, his 27th goal of the season, a tally that gave the home side a 4-2 lead. 

Layne Young would score shorthanded for the North Stars with 1:48 to go in regulation to cut the deficit to one, but that was as close as they got.

"We figured out too late how we needed to score," Heck said, as the North Stars got two of their three goals in the third. "We were preaching traffic [but] we made [Hounds goalie Jack Ryan] make a lot of easy saves instead of getting traffic. We controlled the puck great in the o-zone. We were winning races and [had] a good cycle, but at some point, we've got to get to the front of the net. It can't just be Keith Anderson all the time."

Defensively, the North Stars allowed just 22 shots, but Notre Dame took advantage, including scoring shorthanded courtesy Chance Longjohn.

Heck said communication is one area that was lacking.

"Picking up the right guy on the backcheck [needs to be fixed]," Heck said. "Same as last night, the winning goals were just body position on a guy, letting him get to the inside."

Heck did give credit to the Hounds for using their speed effectively, which allowed them to break a five-game slide.

"They did a good job of flipping pucks out and coming at us with speed," Heck said. "They're fast and we defended it well to limit the odd-man rushes but we were susceptible to a few and they made them count."

The North Stars will take on the Weyburn Red Wings in the last of their three-game southern road swing on Monday afternoon.

"We're going to come out hard," Heck said. "We're a fast and in-your-face team and I think if we try to play passive, I don't think it'll work."

Puck drop on Monday is set for 3 p.m.


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