The Battlefords North Stars fell 3-2 to the division-rival Humboldt Broncos Friday night in heartbreaking overtime fashion at Battleford Arena.
Matthias Urbanski opened the scoring with just under seven minutes remaining in the first period, scoring just moments after the Stars’ first man-advantage of the contest.
While not technically a power play goal, the opening tally came courtesy of some nice passing and offensive-zone pressure put on by the team’s second power-play unit, with Ryan Gil relaying a feed down low to Owen Lamb, who dished a pass out front, right on the tape for a quick catch and release by Urbanski.
The goal gave the B.C. boy his 16th of the season, tying him, at least at the time, for the team goal-scoring lead with Lamb.
Lamb scored one of his own, however, in the latter stages of the second.
Playing four-aside, Lamb’s 17th was the result of a nice play by blueliner Noah Form, who crashed the puck to the front of the net, where, on the rebound, it was put home by Lamb to give his team a 2-0 advantage.
The North Stars took their lead into the third period, with a 25-19 shot advantage. The game was in their control, until a roughly four-minute sequence of events that turned the scene into a nightmare when former Prine Albert Raider Drew Warkentine arrived in the back-half of the period.
Quiet throughout the first 52 minutes, Warkentine - who entered action as hot as any goal scorer in the league with 11 goals through just 13 games this season - showed just how dangerous he can be, scoring at the 12:27 mark on a seemingly routine-looking play until the 20-year-old Prince Albert product launched a sizzling wrister off the post and in far-side to cut the Stars’ lead in half at 2-1.
Then, just over three minutes later, with time running out in the third and a Stars’ player in the penalty box, Warkentine rocketed a one-timer from the goal line passed the stunned Stars’ goaltender and in to even the match.
Warkentine later stole the show for good in overtime, snapping home the O.T. game-winner just 1:41 into the extra frame, completing a natural hat trick that improves his goal status to 14 through 14 games this season since rejoining the Broncos.
Despite the loss, the Stars goaltending remained in excellent form with netminder Joel Grzybowski turning aside 36 of the 39 shots, thwarting several high scoring chances along the way.
The North Stars will now travel to Humboldt Saturday for the back-half of their home-and-home with the Broncos this weekend.
Saturday’s game can be heard on 1050 CJNB beginning with the pregame show at 7:15 p.m. and puck drop at 7:30 p.m.
13:10 BAT Matthias Urbanski (16) ASST: Owen Lamb (12), Ryan Gil (16)
17:24 BAT Owen Lamb (17) ASST: Noah Form (2)
12:27 HUM Drew Warkentine (12) ASST: Owen Guenter (25), Kade Olsen (4)
15:56 HUM Drew Warkentine (13) ASST: Owen Guenter (26), Michael Clarke (28) (PP)
1:41 HUM Drew Warkentine (14) ASST: Josh Patrician (19), Logan Foster (15)
3-2 Broncos, the Final
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