North Stars get the better of Broncos in extra time for 5th straight occasion

By Nathan Kanter
March 3, 2018 - 12:05am

Five times the Battlefords North Stars have faced the Humboldt Broncos this season and five times the game has needed overtime to decide the winner.

All five times that winner has been the North Stars, thanks to Friday's 2-1 shootout win at the Civic Centre, the club's 40th win of the season. It also pushed the North Stars winning streak against Humboldt to 18 consecutive games, dating back to January of 2015.

Brad Girard had the shootout winner in the fourth round, thanks to Taryn Kotchorek's fourth round save on Conner Lukan.

"I went with the same [shootout] guys and I felt bad because I wanted to get [Brad] Girard in," North Stars head coach Brandon Heck joked after the game, as his first three shooters were once again MacGregor Sinclair, Layne Young, and Chaseton Braid. "Didn't want to change anything up."

Sinclair and Young both scored, but so did Logan Hunter and Logan Schatz for Humboldt.

Braid then missed, before Kotchorek stopped Nick Shumlanski with the game on the line, setting up Girard's winner on his first shootout attempt of the season.

As for the game itself, Kotchorek once again made big saves at big times.

"[Kotchorek] always impresses me," Heck said. "He's got such a battle level."

The North Battleford native finished with 26 saves on 27 shots for his 17th win of the season in 28 starts, while his team is now 40-12-2 this season.

The lone North Stars goal in regulation came courtesy Keith Anderson, who ripped a shot short side past Jacob Wassermann in the third period to even the game 1-1.

"We got better as the game went on, which was a good sign," Heck said. "Second half of the game they backed off [on the their forecheck] and they tried to 1-2-2 us and it worked. We had to make a few adjustments and once we bought into the adjustments, we were able to chip pucks in and go at it with a guy with speed."

In the end, the North Stars outshot the Broncos 29-27, including 12-8 in the third period.

Particularly effective up front, according to the head coach, was the line of Connor McIntosh, Elijah Loon-Stewardson, and Chaseton Braid.

"They were pretty dominant and controlled the play and Braid hit two posts," Heck said. "McIntosh missed a few good chances and Loon was real calm with the puck. I wish I would have been able to get them out more in the first period when all the penalties happened because they were going tonight."

The North Stars were shorthanded a total of seven times in the contest, including four in the first. Humboldt was only called for two penalties all night long.

The club's penalty kill went 6-for-7, including killing off consecutive minors with under five minutes to go in regulation

Heck was overall pleased with the North Stars' defensive effort, but said turnovers need to be curbed.

"For the most part, we didn't give up a lot. Even in the first half of the game when we didn't play that well," Heck said. "One of the big things defensively where we've got to get better is just not turning the puck over in our own end. It led to a lot of chances against that they got. I felt we gave them more than they earned."

The North Stars and Broncos will finish up their season series on Saturday with a game in Humboldt.

NorSask North Stars hockey will once again begin at 7:15 p.m. with the Ultra Print pre-game show on CJNB/CJNS.


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On Twitter: @NathanKanter11

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