Saturday, February 26, 2011

Four Goal Third Leads Stars Over Bombers.

The Battlefords North Stars have drawn first blood in the Bauer Conference Survivor Series with the Flin Flon Bombers. Blake Tatchell scored twice, Colin Phaneuf added three assists and Kyle Birch rose to the occasion in goal as the Stars defeated Flin Flon 6-2 in front of 876 at the Civic Center.

The Battlefords North Stars struck first on the power-play. Colin Phaneuf's shot was stopped by P.J. Musico, but Cris Neurauter finessed the puck free to the stick of Blake Tatchell, who took advantage of Musico's positioning and buried his first of the playoffs.

Less than a minute later, Robbie Newton and David Roper dropped the gloves for the first fight of the evening.

26 seconds later, the first major turning point of the series. Flin Flon defenceman Tanner Korchinski and North Star's forward Tony Oak were involved in a collision in the Flin Flon zone behind the play. Korchinski went down, and stayed down for quite some time. Oak was assessed a double-minor penalty for high-sticking and Korchinski didn't take another shift. *Korchinski's status for game-two is up in the air due to a rumored concussion.

*Quick Broadcaster Note* (I cannot confirm or deny a concussion. Out of respect to both the Bombers and Korchinski, I refuse to speculate on the injury until I hear his official status from their coaching/training staff. Also, I did not see the hit directly, so I am unable to comment on whether it was indeed a high-stick or a hit to the head.)

Flin Flon was unable to convert on their double-minor power-play, and the Stars skateed into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead. The lead could have been greater had it not been for a solid succession of saves from P.J. Musico in the late portion of the period.

The second period was easily Flin Flon's best. Corey Tyrell got Flin Flon on the board after he put-home a David Roper point-shot over the shoulder of Kyle Birch. 62 seconds later, Jesse Mychan put home a Dillan McCombie rebound, and the Bombers quickly led 2-1, and the Civic Center was hushed.

Moments later both Riley Storzuk and Andrew Johnston both had point-blank chances to score, but Kyle Birch made some big saves, and kept the Stars within one.

In the final three minutes of the second, the Stars tied it. Blake Tatchell weaved his way through the Flin Flon defence, had Musico out of position, but was unable to tuck it into the goal due to some heady defence from David Roper. Seconds later, the Stars had a similar opportunity on the right-wing, and Cole Gibson did not miss. Gibson's first of the playoffs from Colin Phaneuf and Woody Klassen had the Stars tied at two heading into the third.

The Bombers and Stars started the third period four-on-four, and once Colin Phaneuf's penalty ended, he joined the play and the Stars struck on the power-play. Brody Luhning's shot from the right-point seemingly re-directed off of a Flin Flon defenceman and past P.J. Musico. 3-2 Stars.

58 seconds later, a strange one. P.J. Musico was again caught out of position due to an apparent collision with a North Star in front of him. With Musico down and out, Dillon Forbes fired a low shot on goal which Boyd Wakelin redirected home.

Blake Tatchell notched his second of the game off a tip-in from Brody Luhning, and then Tanner Schwab iced the game with a give-and-go finish with Cole Gibson.

Some rough-stuff towards the end, as Travis Sparrow got into a fight with Tyler Mah. After the fight, Sparrow started chirping with the Flin Flon bench. Ashton Bernard did not take too kindly to this, and he did his best to get at Sparrow before he left the ice surface. Once Sparrow had gone, Bernard then spotted Tony Oak on the bench, and made an attempt to get at him. Star's coach Ken Pearson got between the two of them, and the linesmen promptly removed Bernard from the game and assessed him a 10-minute misconduct.

In the end, the Stars finished 2-11 on the power-play and outshot the Flin Flon Bombers 42-29.

The 3 Stars from the CJNB/CJNS broadcast were:

1) Colin Phaneuf (three assists)
2) Blake Tatchell (two goals)
3) Brody Luhning (one goal, one assist)

Warrior of the Game: Cris Neurauter

The Stars and Bombers take the ice for game two of the Survivor Series Saturday night at the North Battleford Civic Center. The puck drops at 7:30.

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