Tuesday night the Nipawin Hawks came to the Battlefords and beat the North Stars 4-2. Saturday in Nipawin the Stars returned the favor by beating the Hawks 5-2. Brody Luhning scored twice and Graham Hildebrand put forth another solid effort in goal for his second straight victory.
Hildebrand was strong early. His toughest test came off a point-blank shot from Nipawin newcomer Jeremy Peeke. Moments later Tim Rollins buried his ninth of the year to put the Stars up 1-0.
Later on in the first, Brody Luhning beat Brody Hoffman with a slapper from just above the circle. The Stats killed off two Nipawin powerplays in the first and led 2-0 after one.
Luhning notched his second of the night just 28 seconds into the second period on a powerplay. Good thing too because it was the last man-advantage the Stars would get all night.
Cole Gibson continued his steady production when he stole the puck from Hawks goalie Brody Hoffman and wrapped the puck into an empty net. That goal made it 4-0 Stars and also spelt the end for Brody Hoffman. He was pulled after making 17 saves on 21 shots faced.
The Nipawin Hawks seemed to rally behind backup Stephen Klein. The Hawks scored on back-to-back powerplays (Peeke and Tash) and came awfully close at the end of the second to making it 4-3. Luckily for the Stars, Graham Hildebrand rose to the occasion, and he also got help (twice) from the goalpost.
Early in the third just 53 seconds in, Keith Grondin put the game away when he converted a Colin Phaneuf pass by Klein. For Grondin it was his team leading 27th goal.
With the win, the Stars remain one point behind Humboldt for third in the Bauer Conference. The Stars did get help from La Ronge who beat Flin Flon 5-1.
The Stars improve to 22-23-1-1 and again (for a fourth time this season) have a chance to reach the .500 mark with a win Wednesday. Their opponent? The Sherwood Conference leading Yorkton Terriers.
GLENN OUT / SMITH IN
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