By Craig Stein
WILD GAME 4 LAND STARS FIRST TITLE SINCE 1999-2000
The Battlefords North Stars have captured their first SJHL Canalta Cup Championship since the 1999-2000 season, completing a clean sweep through the SJHL playoffs with a 6-5 win in Game 4 in Flin Flon on Wednesday night.
The Stars went a perfect 12-0 on the in the playoffs, with four game sweeps over Weyburn, Estevan and now Flin Flon in the final. After a 48-9-1 regular season, that gives the North Stars a combined record of 60-9-1-0 in 70 games played. They also went 30-2-1 in 33 games in the calendar year 2017.
Game 4 of the final was back and forth, and far from a sure thing as the Stars held a pair of short-lived leads early, but ended up trailing by as much as two early in the second period.
Layne Young led the way Wednesday with two goals and an assist in the clincher, finishing the postseason with 9-goals and 23-points in 12 playoff games. Coby Downs was the only one with more points than Young during the playoffs, and he had a goal and an assist in the finale, good for 4-goals and 25-points in just 11 games. Downs was also named SJHL Playoff MVP after winning the postseason scoring race. He also led the league in points-per-game during the regular season.
Troy Gerein opened the scoring for the North Stars 5:31 into the game and Bryce Hall gave them a 2-1 lead late in the first. After the Stars fell behind 4-2 early in the second, Reed Delainey and Young provided goals in the middle frame to tie things up. Young made it 5-4 early in the third and Downs scored the eventual winner at 7:42 of the third.
Kristian St. Onge had a pair of goals for the Bombers while Nick Shumlanski (1g-1a), Tyler Nyman and Troy Williams added the others.
The North Stars advance to the Western Canada Cup in Penticton, B.C., beginning on Saturday, April 29th.
The Stars will be joined at the event by the Portage Terriers (MJHL), Brooks Bandits (AJHL), Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) and the host Penticton Vees.