It may have been a rematch from last week, but the result couldn’t have been more different as the Humboldt Broncos put up three third period goals to come back against the Battlefords North Stars.
Just a week before it was the North Stars that put up three goals in the third period for a 6-3 win. The North Stars also seemed in control on this night through two periods with a 2-0 lead. But it was Humboldt who completely erased the deficit in the final period, in the process handing the North Stars their first home defeat of the young SJHL season.
The Broncos came into the game hoping to avenge a 6-3 loss to the North Stars the week before. Since then, both teams had been in action at the Showcase in Warman, where the North Stars swept two games from the Melville Millionaires and Yorkton Terriers by scores of 9-5 and 6-5 respectively. Humboldt, meanwhile, lost 5-3 to Weyburn in the Showcase but came back with a win in Estevan on Wednesday 3-2.
The first period of Friday’s game saw plenty of chances but little scoring as both goaltenders Ulrik Roussel of the Battlefords and Rayce Ramsay of Humboldt pitched a shutout through one.
The North Stars ended the period having to kill off a tripping penalty to Holden Doell, the first penalty of the game to the team. The Broncos’ Ramsay was able to stop a shorthanded possibility from Steven Kesslering late in the period; ultimately the North Stars killed the penalty. Shots favored the North Stars 13-11 through one.
A hallmark of the season so far has been the seemingly large number of players achieving the milestone of a “first goal in the SJHL” — a seemingly common occurrence due to the lack of games from March of 2020 to September 2021.
Colby Bear was the latest to achieve that goal for the North Stars just 2:04 into the period, with the assist from Bradley Blake.
The North Stars added to the lead at the 7:31 mark as Easton Johns got his first as a North Star, with assists from Tanner Gold and Dace Prymak. That would be all the scoring, with the North Stars holding the lead in shots on goal through two periods 28-21.
Down two going in the final period, the Broncos needed to score quickly and they did. Just 51 seconds into the third, Braiden Koran scored his fourth of the season unassisted to cut it to a one-goal deficit.
Then the Broncos were handed a golden opportunity near the midway mark of the period, with a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. With the Stars’ Easton Rask in the box for interference and Dylan Esau off for cross checking, and with Holden Doell unavailable due to a ten-minute misconduct, the Broncos swarmed the North Stars’ end.
With just 13 seconds left in the two man advantage, the Broncos scored at 9:39 to tie the game. It was Alex Saretzky getting his ninth of the season, with the assist from Connor McGrath.
With 3:44 remaining the Broncos took the lead on Cage Newan’s goal from Nicksha Eric. It was Newan’s first of the season.
That would be all the scoring as the North Stars failed to tie the game with the extra attacker in the final minute. Final shots favoured the North Stars 37-32, but it was Ramsay getting the win with 35 saves.
The same two teams meet again Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Humboldt.