The Battlefords North Stars have started out February strong.
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League-leading club won both of its games last week. After a stretch in January that saw the North Stars suffer its first regulation loss this season and lose three out of four, the squad has won five straight. The North Stars lead the SJHL with a 39-3-2-1 record. With 81 points, they are 22 ahead in the standings of second-place La Ronge Ice Wolves, which has 59.
Last week most of the league’s action came on the weekend as the SJHL-MJHL Showcase was held Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in Winnipeg. The SJHL squads went a combined 4-2 at the event, which was played in front of scouts from the college, university, and pro ranks.
On Feb. 2, Kian Bell scored twice to help the North Stars rally to beat Notre Dame, 5-2, in Wilcox. The host Hounds led 2-1 after the first period.
Also scoring for Battlefords on the night were Holden Doell, Bradley Blake, and Jake Southgate. For the North Stars, Justen Maric stopped 42 of the 44 shots he faced. Tynan Ewart, Doell, and Kesslering each had two assists.
On Saturday in Melfort, Battlefords took a 3-1 first period lead. The North Stars won 6-4. Bell again lit the lamp twice. Also scoring for Battlefords were Alex Izyk, Kesslering, Southgate, and Tanner Gold. For the North Stars, Josh Kotai had 34 saves.
Melville Millionaires (11-26-5-1)
The Millionaires stopped an eight-game losing streak by beating the league’s No. 2 team – the La Ronge Ice Wolves – 4-3 on Saturday. In Melville, the Ice Wolves got ahead 2-1 in the first period. Jaxon Martens had the Millionaires’ goal in the opening period.
Sam Schofield tied the game at 2-2 in the second. In the third, Matt Kjemhus and Schofield lit the lamp to put Melville up 4-2. La Ronge got one goal back but was unable to tie things up. Clement Labillois made 34 saves to earn the win.
Last Friday, the Humboldt Broncos beat Melville, 6-1. Caden Drury had the Millionaires’ lone goal. Labillois made 46 saves on 52 shots.
Kindersley Klippers (9-24-2-5)
A three-goal second period on Sunday helped the Kindersley Klippers beat the Melfort Mustangs 5-2 in their only game of the week. The two teams were tied 1-1 after the first period. The Klippers led 4-1 at the second intermission.
Kindersley goalie Logan Falk stopped 36 of the 38 shots he faced. Kayden Ostrom led the Klippers with two goals. Also scoring for Kindersley were Cash Arntsen, Logan Linklater, and Tylin Hilbig.
Humboldt Broncos (28-12-1-0)
Consistent scoring helped the Humboldt Broncos beat Melville 6-1 on Friday in its lone game of the week. The host Humboldt team scored two goals in each period. Doing the honours for the Broncos were Ben Kotylak (two), Alec Saretzky (two), Cage Newanns, and Carsten Kayter. Broncos goalie Benjamin Motew turned away 20 shots. Humboldt sent 52 shots at Labillois, who stopped 46.
Nipawin Hawks (21-19-2-1)
On Saturday in Fln Flon, the Hawks and Bombers were tied 1-1 after the first period and the Nipawin team led 2-1 early in the second period. Flin Flon scored three times in the period on the way to a 4-3 win. Hometown product Finley Radloff, Braxton Buckberger, and Joel Mabin had Nipawin’s goals.
La Ronge Ice Wolves (27-15-3-2)
Although the Ice Wolves lost twice last week, the team sat second in the SJHL standings. On Friday in Weyburn, Trenton Curtis and Thomas Wright scored in the third period to tie the contest at 3-3. In the shootout, two of Weyburn’s four shooters scored while Wright was the only one of the La Ronge quartet who was able to find the back of the next. Weyburn won 4-3. Liam McInnis had La Ronge’s first period goal, which tied the game at 1-1. Weyburn scored twice in the second to lead 3-1. Dawson Smith made 38 saves for the Ice Wolves.
On Saturday, the Ice Wolves fell 4-1 to Melville on the road.
Melfort Mustangs (23-14-5-2)
Saturday’s contest in North Battleford pitted the North Stars against a Mustangs team that entered it 4-0-0-1 in its last five. After its 6-4 loss to the North Stars, the Melfort squad fell 5-2 on the road to Kindersley Sunday.
Notre Dame Hounds (14-20-3-2)
In their lone game last week, the Hounds fell 5-2 to Battlefords at home on Feb. 2. Evan Vanden Heuvel and Carson Baylis scored for Notre Dame. Johann Tremblay-Kau made 39 saves