NORTH BATTLEFORD - The Battlefords North Stars were home for the first time in three weeks on Saturday night, taking on their division rivals the Notre Dame Hounds.
The two teams had staged some barnburners this SJHL season, with three games in November going to overtime and one of those going to a shootout, all ending in North Stars wins.
This one at Access Communications Centre was another tight contest. This time, though, it was Notre Dame managing to get the job done in regulation time, winning 2-1 over the North Stars for their first win in five contests between the clubs this season.
But it was no easy win for the road team, as the Hounds survived a barrage by the North Stars who outshot them 50-29 on the night.
The first period saw no scoring although the North Stars had plenty of opportunities, outshooting the Hounds 18-9.
The second period was a different story, as the Hounds scored at the 1:18 mark. With the North Stars’ Steven Kesslering in the box for tripping, Sam Kroon scored from Connor Nolan, beating the Stars’ Lowen Kenyon to give the Hounds the lead.
But with 4:40 remaining in the period, Emmett Wurst scored from Brad Blake for his eighth goal of the season, to tie the game at 1-1. Shots through two periods favored the North Stars 26-20.
About five minutes into period three, fireworks ensued near the benches as a fight erupted between the Stars' Wurst and the Hounds' Blake Rasmuson. Both players were sent packing with major fighting and game misconduct penalties.
With 5:16 remaining in the third period, the Hounds broke the stalemate as captain Kevin Anderson fired a shot into the top corner of the North Stars net. Jared Sych and Elliot Dutil notched the assists.
The North Stars furiously tried to tie the game in the final minutes, with Kesslering firing a shot that hit the post with less than three minutes left. In the end, the Hounds hung on to get the win for their netminder Ryley Osland, who stopped 49 of 50 shots.
For the Hounds, the win snaps a four game losing streak to the North Stars this season. Four of the five games between the two clubs this season have been decided by one goal.
Next up for the North Stars is a trip to La Ronge on Tuesday, while the Hounds will host Estevan in Wilcox.