The Battlefords North Stars fell 4-3 to the Humboldt Broncos Saturday night, marking the team’s second one-goal defeat at the hands of their rivals in 48 hours. The loss came in Humboldt at the Elgar Petersen Arena.
With the defeat, the North Stars are now 0-2-3 in five games against the Broncos, with just one game remaining in the season series.
Dylan Esau kicked off the scoring just over three-and-a-half minutes into the opening period - notching his first of the season and second of his career with the Stars - on a wrist shot from in tight.
The Stars’ lead did not last long, however, as Drew Warkentine, fresh off a hattrick in his first outing against the Stars Friday, registering his fourth goal in four periods against the Battlefords on the power play.
Just two minutes after Warkentine’s tying marker, the Broncos reversed the lead entirely. It came courtesy of Logan Foster’s sixth of the campaign. Foster’s goal came shorthanded after the forward worked his way into the Stars’ zone, firing a quick shot five-hole to give his squad their first lead of the night.
Just two minutes later there was another goal, this time going the way of the visitors to re-knot the game.
The Stars’ tying goal, Elijah Loon-Stewardson’s ninth of the season, came as the finishing touch from his linemate Braydon Buziak.
Twisting and turning with the puck on his stick, the Kindersley product dangled his way around the outside of the attacking zone, drawing in the defender, before toe-dragging the puck around the opposition’s outreached blade and whipping a pass into the wheelhouse of the elder Loon-Stewardson to one-time home.
Tied at two is how the first period looked to end too, until a simple high flip out of the zone by Broncos’ defenseman Josh Patrician was hunted down by Owen Guenter who roofed a shot from in tight on Grzybowski. This reestablished the Broncos’ lead to end the period 3-2.
In the second, the Broncos picked up right where they left off to end the opening frame, cashing in on a Reagan Poncelet chance that marked the forward’s first goal of the season.
Motivated to fight their way back from the deficit, the North Stars answered in a hurry. A bang-bang play in front resulted in a red-flashing goal light courtesy of Ryan Gil. MacGregor Sinclair ripped a pass out front to Gil who tapped home his 15th of the year to cut his club’s deficit once again to 4-3.
Somewhat contrary to the season-series, there was no scoring in the remaining second-half of the game, despite some great chances by either side.
Although the Stars fell, the team still managed to fire 40 shots on goal, while at the other end, North Stars’ goalie Joel Grzybowski was undoubtedly among the top performers on the night.
Gryz, as he’s known by teammates, made several 10-bell saves throughout his 28 stops on the evening. This included a couple of game-saving stops on two separate Bryson Cecconi breakaway opportunities that kept the black and silver in the game.
The North Stars will now get nearly a week off before heading back into action Jan. 11 against the Viterra Division-leading Yorkton Terriers in Yorkton.
Fans can catch Friday’s action on 1050 CJNB beginning at 7:15 p.m.
3:32 BAT Dylan Esau (1) ASST: Regan Doig (8)
5:40 HUM Drew Warkentine (15) ASST: Owen Guenter (26), Josh Patrician (21) (PP)
7:40 HUM Logan Foster (6) ASST: None (SH)
9:40 BAT Elijah Loon-Stewardson (9) ASST: Braydon Buziak (16)
19:34 HUM Owen Guenter (11) ASST: Josh Patrician (22)
4:41 HUM Reagan Poncelet (1) ASST: Riker Franczak (2), Derek Patter (6)
5:47 BAT Ryan Gil (15) ASST: Quintin Loon-Stewardson (7), MacGregor Sinclair (25)
4-3 Broncos, Final
On Twitter: MartyMartyPxP1
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