It was another tough, tight, physical game between the Battlefords North Stars and a team from Manitoba Tuesday night, but the result was similar as the Stars earned a 3-1 win to conclude the round robin.
Steven Kesslering got the scoring started for the North Stars in the opening period on the power-play. The 20-year-old has opened the scoring for the North Stars in all four games during the Centennial Cup.
After neither team could find the back of the net in the middle frame, it would be the Pistons scoring the equalizer 4:40 into the 3rd period with a seeing eye wrist shot which got through Josh Kotai to even the game at one.
The Pistons then poured on the pressure as they needed to win the contest in regulation to keep their playoff hopes alive, but it would be SJHL Goalie of the Year Josh Kotai bailing his team out, making some highlight reel saves to keep the score 1-1.
Then late in the period it would be SJHL Player of the Year and MVP of the Year Kian Bell putting the Stars back on top with as he poked one five hole for his first of the tournament to make it 2-1 with 3 minutes to go. Steven Kesslering would score into the empty net for his 2nd of the night and secure the 3-1 win for the North Stars.
With the win, the Stars finish the round robin with a 3-0-1-0 record (nine points), and have clinched a spot in the playoff round.
Where they finish and who they play in the playoff round though has yet to be determined. It all comes down to the final round robin game in Group B between the Collingwood Blues and the Portage Terriers which will be played Wednesday night at 6:30pm. A Collingwood win and they would finish in 1st in the group and the Stars would finish 2nd. However, if the Portage Terriers knocked off the Blues in regulation, it would be the Stars earning first and a bye to the Semi-Final on Saturday.
Regardless, the Battlefords North Stars will play in the playoff round. To stay up to date and to find out when and who the Stars will play stay tuned to the SJHL social media accounts for the latest.
Post-Game Comments with HC/GM Brayden Klimosko & Stars Forward Kian Bell
Meanwhile in Group A, the Brooks Bandits have clinched the bye to the semi-final with a perfect 4-0-0-0 record. The final two playoff spots will be determined on Wednesday with a pair of games. Ottawa meets Timmons and Terrobonne battles Yarmouth.