Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

North Stars Rally from 3-0 Deficit for Third Straight Preseason Win Over Klippers

The Klippers dropped their third straight preseason game to the North Stars Wednesday afternoon. (Photo courtesy of HockeyTV.)

Written by: NIck Nielsen
Via: West Central Online

After their first day of rest away from the ice since Thursday of last week, the Kindersley Jr. Klippers traveled to North Battleford Wednesday evening to play their third game of the preseason against the Battlefords North Stars. THis time both teams had a bit of a closer look to what their roster will look like at the beginning of the season including Matthew Pesenti in net for the Klippers, but they fell short 6-4.

Off the initial faceoff, the Klippers got control of the puck and worked in the offensive zone for a bit before the North Stars got control and started the breakout. Klippers defenceman Mark Snarr stepped up on the blue line to make a hit and hold the puck in, but missed his target just a bit and his hip caught his man a little low in what looked like a fairly innocent collision, no one was injured, but Snarr skated to the box for double minor for kneeing just 23 seconds into the game.

The Klippers penalty kill has looked strong to start the preseason, and they only allowed three shots on the four minute penalty while earning a couple of their own. Seven minutes into the first period, the Klippers generated enough momentum to get on the board themselves. The North Stars were trying to clear the zone when Tylin Hillbig poked the puck free at the centre of the blue line and it landed on the stick of Mason Svarich, and he cut down the left side of the zone on a 2-on-1 along with Carson Baylis. Svarich sent the puck into the middle for Baylis, and he shot blocker side to beat Ulrik Russel in net to give the Klippers their first lead.

Shortly after the goal, Bayliss would go to the box for tripping but would get bailed out eight seconds later when Jake Southgate did the same thing for the North Stars, but nothing came out of the 4-on-4. At the end of the period, Dylan Esau would take a charging penalty for the North Stars, and that gave the Klippers 1:34 of powerplay to work with at the start of the second period.

After 1: Klippers 1 – 0 North Stars, shots 12-9 Klippers

Starting the period with the man advantage, the Klippers were able to generate some shots and a point shot from Brenden Lee hit the post early on. After two shots and post on the shortened man advantage, Esau returned to the ice and we played even strength hockey. The Klippers then gave up a penalty of their own when Hunter Laroque interfered threw a hit on someone he thought had the puck in front when it had been poked away, but Pesenti stopped all four shots he was faced with and that set the stage for the Klippers to extend their lead.

Just over eight minutes into the period, the Klippers did just that when they struck again on the rush off a turnover. The North Stars were stuck at the Klippers blue line thanks to a solid defensive presence, and the puck got sent high into the air. Josh Danis whacked at it as it hit the ground and it landed right on the stick of his teammate Charles Obobaifo at centre. He gave the puck to Carson Baylis on the right side, and he sped into the zone before dropping the puck back to Obobaifo, who then cut into the middle to use the screen, and by the time he came out on the other side, the net was wide open and he deposited it in for his third goal of the preseason.

Two minutes later, and the Klippers struck again, and again on the rush from a turnover. Fresh after a change, Aiden Bangs went to work in the corner of the offensive zone to hold the puck in, but the North Stars got it out. Bangs hustled back on the backcheck and caused the turnover when he moved the puck to Matt Mazzocchi on the left side, and he whistled down the ice with a gorgeous wrist shot wide side over the glove before the goaltender even moved to give the Klippers their 3-0 lead.

After that, things started to south. The North Stars scored eight seconds later when Brenden Lee stepped up to intercept a North Stars pass of the faceoff, but his stick was poked as the puck hit his stick and it left an open lane for Daniel Thiesen to walk right in front of the net and beat Pesenti on a quick shot glove side from two feet in front unassisted.

Two minutes later, the Klippers got a great opportunity when Obobaifo again used his speed to steal the puck and sneak around the right side and then behind the defenders for a shot on goal, but the whistle was blown as he pulled the trigger. The referee saw Josh Danis set a screen so the defender couldn’t get to Obobaifo, and Danis went to the box instead. 25 seconds later, Ryland McNinch went to the box for the North Stars after he was also called on interference at centre while his team had the puck, and we were set for 1:35 of 4-on-4.

With the faceoff in the North Stars in their own zone, they won the draw and brought it down the ice to set up in the Klippers zone right away. As he came off the right side wall, Zane Florence threw a shot on goal from the top of the circle, and the rebound got a whack from Dylan Esau in front, that popped the puck into the slot for Florence following his shot up and he scored to bring his team to within one with over 12 minutes gone in the second.

After 2: Klippers 3 – 2 North Stars, shots 26-21 Klippers

The third period didn’t start well for the Klippers. Exactly one minute in, the North Stars tied it up after a mistake by Dylan Malarchuk saw him bring the puck into the offensive zone but he was offside so he lifted his stick off the puck to stop himself from getting the whistle. Zane Florence saw this coming and stole the puck away on a 2-on-1, but it didn’t matter as his shot from the right side put the puck in right away.

The Klippers did get their lead back, and they did it in a way they haven’t done yet: on the powerplay. Matthew Henry went to the box on a charging call when he hit Carson Baylis in the numbers after he had turned to drop the puck behind him. Baylis was alright. Off the faceoff, the puck almost snuck out of the zone, but Josh Pufahl stepped up with a hit/pokecheck on the left wall that freed the puck up for Max Kathol. He took the puck down the left wall and fed Matt Mazzocchi behind the net, and he gave a nice one touch pass right to Aiden Bangs in the slot who onetimed it home just eight seconds into the powerplay and just over three minutes into the period.

The lead wouldn’t last long unfortunately as the North Stars tied it up again just over a minute later when Klippers turned the puck over in their own zone and the North Stars got the puck in the corner to the left of Pesenti in net. Jake Southgate end up with the puck on his stick, and he sent it out front for Ryland McNinch in the slot and he fired it home.

The Klippers got another powerplay opportunity afterwards but couldn’t score, and that would prove to be a problem when Obobaifo was called on a interference and checking from behind call when he slough footed a player at centre, giving the North Stars four minutes to work with and taking one of the most dangerous penalty killers off the ice for the rest of the game. This happened shortly after Ryan Jessey took a hard hit from behind by Tyler Rimstead of the North Stars that was not called. Either way, Ryland McNinch gave his team the lead off a cross ice pass from Jake Southgate once again, the other assist going to Holden Doell, all in the first minute of the Powerplay.

The second half of the double minor was killed off by the Klippers, and the game would get a little aggressive from there. Just before the roughing penalties came, Josh Pufahl had a great rush around the outside where he worked right in front of the goaltender, but could put it through. His whacks at the rebound caused a scrum at the side of the net, and Mark Snarr and Jordan Grill were singled out of the pile to sit for roughing calls for either team.

Another set of offsetting roughing calls came in the final minute when the Klippers had their goalie pulled and another scrum formed at the North Stars net, this time sending Wilson Steele to the box along with Snarr for the Klippers again. Holden Doell added an empty net tally for the North Stars and that ended the game.

FINAL: Klippers 4 – 6 North Stars, shots 42-31 Klippers

The Klippers play their next pre–season game in Prince Albert as part of a neutral site game against the Flin Flon Bombers on Sunday.