Written by: Nick Nielsen
Via: West Central Online
After a long and difficult camp over the course of the weekend, the Kindersley Klippers Jr. A team didn’t get a chance to rest as they welcomed the Battlefords North Stars for two exhibition games Monday afternoon. The first game saw the young and new players on the ice while the second saw the vets get on the ice, and while both games were quite different, the Klippers dropped both by a score of 4-2.
While you won’t want to see your team lose at any time, Head Coach and GM Ken Plaquin was still happy to see his team’s performance through the two games. The bones of a strong team showed when they hit the ice even though some of the guys may have been tired, and Plaquin knows his team has more to give come the rematch on Wednesday.
“I wanted a fast, creative team and I think we saw that we do have that tonight. I think our speed, the fact that we don’t back down from the physicality, our goaltending is going to be really good, I think there’s tons of positives and I’m not a big guy for excuses, but when I was in talking to the guys after the game, that was their seventh game in what 72 hours so I think we’re going to be even faster than that when we lay him next time.”
A total of 11 games were played on the ice at the West Central Events Centre over the course of the Labour Day weekend between camp and preseason action, and while the first set of cuts has been made after camp, there is still some spots open on the team that can be earned through the rest of the preseason. For Plaquin, one of those spots has likely already been claimed by one of the walk-ons at camp.
“I could honestly tell you that Brenden Lee, one of our new defencemen, I’m very impressed with the way he plays and how much poise he has. He plays like he’s like been in this league for over a year. He wasn’t really on our radar until camp started, but now I think I’d be shocked if he’s not here all year.”
Plaquin says that there is a potential leadership already been chosen for the team this year, and that announcement is likely to be official next week.
Game one recap: Young guns game
In the first game of the afternoon, the Klippers and North Stars sent their rookies at camp out to face one another with the game ending in a 4-2 score for the North Stars in a game where they often pushed the pace.
The scoring started when a missed defensive cue saw Bradley Blake sneak in behind the defence and he was sprung on a breakaway thanks to a stretch pass from Marshall Light, and Blake streaked down the left side of the ice and fired a snap shot that beat Brayden Schenstead in the Klippers’ net for the 1-0 score just six minutes into the game.
After that, the Klippers answered when a point shot from Liam Furlong was blocked and the puck found its way back on to the stick of Furlong. His second shot made it through to the pad of and the rebound kicked out into the slot where Carson Baylis was waiting to hammer home the rebound and tie the game.
After 1: Klippers 1 – 1 North Stars
Brayden Schenstead stayed in goal for the Klippers to the halfway point of the second period and locked down the crease for the rest of his performance. He got the team through a couple of scary situations that saw the puck bounce around in front of him and he had to make multiple saves, and one save in particular saw him slide to his left while extending out his glove to make the save, then tuck his arm in and lay a shoulder into the man trying to tip the puck from the side of the net in an effort to protect himself. Once the 10 minute mark of the second period hit, Nicolas Jensen took over the crease.
The North Stars retook the lead at the 13:13 mark after a string of Klippers’ penalties started to tire out an already tired Klippers group on the ice, and shortly after a penalty was killed the North Stars got a 3-on-2 break that saw Caden Drury bring the puck down the right side of the ice and drop it behind him for Jace Bymoen who snapped a shot home past Jensen’s glove.
After 2: Klippers 1 – 2 North Stars
The third period saw Bradley Blake strike again for the North Stars in about as identical fashion as he could have. Not on a clean breakaway but he did score on the rush on the left side of the ice, same spot on the net, and the exact same time as the goal in the first period with 14:01 on the clock.
The Klippers started to find some late game legs in the third period and mounted a push back, and they got on the board again when Carson Baylis started to work the puck behind the net. A pile up insued and Josh Danis came in to help his teammate, Danis found the puck and sent it out front for a waiting Matthew Ripplinger, and his wrist shot hit the twine to make it a one goal game with just over four minutes left.
The comeback would fall short when the North Stars added an empty netter off the stick of Colby Bear.
FINAL: Klippers 2 – 4 North Stars
Game two recap: Returning stars game
Although the score end up the same, this game was quite different from the one before. The Klippers lead the charge in a very physical game including two huge hits from Ethan Ironside at the beginning of the game and another from Ethan King, and the Klippers lead the shot for the majority of the game until penalty troubles started to plague them in the third.
Still in the first however, it was while on the penatly kill that the Klippers struck first. Charles Obobaifo was on the ice defending the pass from the point and poked it past a defender. Obobaifo then blazed by the defender for the loose puck and was home free on a breakaway where he faked the shot, then tried to pull it to the backhand but was poked checked along the way but he sold the fake enough to back the goaltender into the net, and he dragged the puck along with him for the game’s first goal just under eight minutes into the first period.
Obobaifo continued a great first period with another breakaway opportunity that he didn’t score on this time, but he did score again in a team effort this time. Less than 20 seconds to play and it looked like the North Stars were about to break out on a possible 3-on-2 but Ethan Ironside picked the pocket of a defender near the top of the left circle to create a 2-on-1 going the other way. Ironside’s pass was picture perfect for Obobaifo’s one timer which he hammered into the back of the net with 14 seconds on the clock.
After 1: Klippers 2 – 0 North Stars
The North Stars came out of the gate in the second period quickly. Just under two minutes in, a shot from Leo Senger at the point was kicked out to KT Walters, and Walters put his snap shot past the likely backup goaltender for the Klippers this year Brett Sweet for the first tally of the North Stars’ comeback.
Three minutes later and the North Stars were on the board again when Zane Florence turned the puck over in the offensive zone and took another quick snapshot, and with 15 minutes left in the period the score was tied up. Once the halfway mark of the period his, Sweet went to the bench to give Kris Johnson an opportunity in net during game action.
Through the rest of the period, both teams faced penalty troubles, and the North Stars even got their first of two 5-on-3 opportunities, but the North Stars finished the second period 0/6 on the powerplay as well as giving up a shorthanded goal while the Klippers were 0/5.
After 2: Klippers 2 – 2 North Stars
The third period started on an interesting note. Early one, Mason Svarich had the puck in the offensive zone for the Klippers and took a shot, but his stick was poked as he took the shot and flew into the face of the defender who poked the stick, Wilson Steele. Svarich was given a four minute highsticking call as a result, and less than 30 seconds into the penalty, Ethan Ironside was called on a questionable clipping penalty, giving the North Stars a full two minute 5-on-3 as well as 1:35 of powerplay afterwards.
The Klippers killed off the 5-on-3 quite effectively, and 5-on-4 was going well until Holden Doell found a loose puck on the left side of the slot and fired it past the blocker of Kris Johnson in net for the Klippers to give the North Stars their first lead in the game at 14:21.
The North Stars added one more late in the game thanks to Ryland McNinch, and the game would end as one that saw the luck on the other side of the ice for the Klippers.
FINAL: Klippers 2 – 4 North Stars