Friday, January 21, 2011

Stars Outlast Estevan 5-4.

No lead was safe at the North Battleford Civic Center.

There were five lead changes in the span of 60 minutes, but the Battlefords North Stars defeated the Estevan Bruins 5-4, and are now one point behind Humboldt for third place in the Bauer Conference.

The score was tied 4-4 after forty minutes, but early in the third the Stars notched the game-winner. With a delayed-penalty on the way, Kyle Hall converted on a shot from the high-slot to give his team a lead that they would not relinquish.

The Estevan Bruins drew first blood at 3:57 of the first when former Star's defenceman Dominic Perrault fired a wrister towards the goal. The puck re-directed off of Travis Sparrow and behind Graham Hildebrand to put the visitors up 1-0. Seconds earlier Graham Hildebrand made the first of several big saves off of former Star Calder Neufeld.

The Stars countered when former Estevan Bruin's forward Cole Gibson beat Bruin's goaltender Shea Cooper through a screen at 6:07. Then at 14:33 Braedon Johnson recorded his first as a North Star on a dandy individual effort that saw him deke his way through an Estevan defender and then fire a shot over the blocker of Shea Cooper.

The lead was short-lived though as another former North Star Ryan Andersen was the recipient of a defensive-miscue beside the Star's goal. A botched pass went right to Andersen in front, who had all day and then some to beat Hildebrand for his 25th of the year. The teams skated into the first intermission with a 2-2 tie on their hands.

The Estevan Bruin's power-play sparked them to a 3-2 lead early in the second frame. Lucas Stubel one-timed home a Jonothan Ceci pass at the left-point to give his team a brief 3-2 lead. The lead would last all of 74 seconds.

Boyd Wakelin's fouth of the year tied the game at three. Wakelin (playing defence again) received a pass from Mitch Galbraith in the high-slot and placed a wrist-shot perfectly under the bar to tie the score at three. Less than two minutes later, Tanner Schwab converted on a two-on-one with Cole Gibson to make it 4-3 Stars.

You can imagine how long that lasted.

Josh Jelinski tied it on a partial breakaway after receiving a nice pass from former Star's forward Justin Waskewitch. It was 2-2 after one, then 4-4 after two.

Earlier in the day, Kyle Hall was named the Star's nominee for Rookie of the Year, and he wrapped up the day with a game-winning goal, his 18th of the season.

Star's netminder Graham Hildebrand battled consistency through the first two periods, but managed to elevate his game in the third period to earn his seventh victory. Afterwards Blair Atcheynum said it was a well-deserved victory for Hildebrand.

"His game has come around and it's great to see him get a win tonight. It's what he was shooting for. He was playing well enough, and tonight was a nice little feather in his cap for his efforts," said Atcheynum on the Valley Ford post-game show.

Robbie Newton was named the Warrior of the Game for his hard-work in the faceoff circle while Boyd Wakelin (3), Kyle Hall (2) and Cole Gibson (1) were named the three-stars of the game.

Next up, the Nipawin Hawks, Saturday night on the road. That game goes at 7:30 and you can hear it right here on CJNB/CJNS.


I hope to have an audio recap (from the second-period onwards) posted sometime this afternoon.

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