One Battlefords North Stars rookie had a breakout game offensively, but it wasn't enough, as the North Stars surrendered four goals in the third period and lost 6-5 to the La Ronge Ice Wolves.
La Ronge's Travis Eggum scored the game's first goal on a powerplay, as he finished off a nice pass from Doug Lindensmith.
The North Stars took just over a minute to even the score, as Shayne Morrissey netted his third of the season from Woody Klassen and Brody Luhning, whose assist put his total to eight points in the last four games.
The first ended 1-1 with the North Stars out shooting the Ice Wolves 11-7.
The North Stars took the lead early in the second period when Keith Grondin scored on the powerplay. His seventh of the season was assisted by linemates Blake Tatchell and Colin Phaneuf.
Logan Herauf evened the score later in the second, but the North Stars responded quickly to retake the lead. On another powerplay, Luhning beat Adam Bartko for his third of the season, as Phaneuf and Grondin drew the assists.
That was how the second ended, with the North Stars up 3-2 and two periods of quick, exciting hockey and strong team defence.
"We played a good 40 minutes," said North Stars coach and general manager Ken Pearson. "In the third period we kind of got away from our game plan. We gave up five odd-man rushes in the third, which is uncalled for. In the first two periods combined we only gave up two odd-man rushes."
La Ronge started the period shorthanded after a vicious boarding penalty on Colin Phaneuf at the end of the second. That didn't slow the Wolves, as Taylor Piller scored 22 seconds into the third, shorthanded, to tie the game.
Less than two minutes later, the North Stars took the lead when Morrissey scored his second of the game from Phaneuf and Tony Oak.
Shortly after the goal, Marc Andre Carre scored for the Ice Wolves followed by a Richard Cameron goal and La Ronge was in front 5-4.
Later in the third, the Ice Wolves increased their lead with an Aaron Enns powerplay goal.
Minutes later, Morrissey completed his hat trick with Cade Kimery and Nathan Tomac drawing the assists, while the North Stars pulled to within one goal.
In the final seconds, La Ronge took a delay of game penalty after covering the puck in their own zone. With a second left, and the goalie pulled, Grondin was stopped by Bartko and La Ronge held on for the win.
Graham Hildebrand made 28 saves in the loss while Bartko stopped 37 giving the Ice Wolves their ninth win of the season.
The North Stars take a 5-9-1-1 record into a weeklong break between games and coach Pearson hinted roster changes will be made before the players return from the weekend break. The North Stars currently have three goalies, eight defenceman, 11 wingers and four centres listed on the roster and it is likely two or three of the 26 will be dropped or traded.
"We have to get down to some more workable numbers," said Pearson. "We want to get back down to about 23 guys so we're going to be making some roster decisions and start preparing for our game against Kindersley on Wednesday."
As for the new guys who played Wednesday, Travis Sparrow, Samuel Houle and Samuel Fortier appeared to fit in well with the team.
"They are going to help out, the two kids from Quebec (Houle and Fortier), it was their first game in almost two weeks and I thought they played well," said Pearson. "Travis Sparrow and Houle played together on the back end and worked well together."
Two players, Cody Folstad and Chris Neurauter, served their first of two games after being suspended for an incident in Humboldt. Pearson also wasn't on the bench due to a one game suspension coming from the Humboldt game.
As for the play of his young rookie, Morrissey, Pearson was glad he put three goals in, but said there is still work to do on his game.
"He played good offensively, defensively, it was a good thing he scored three goals because his line was on for two against. His line, and he in particular, have to play a little better defensively, but that will come, I guess. It was good to see him score offensively, but at the same time we got to get him to play the other side of the puck also."
The North Stars practised Thursday morning and will take a few days' break before returning for the game in Kindersley and their next home action, Nov. 6.