The Battlefords North Stars got back in the win column Monday night at the Centennial Cup with a 3-2 win over the host Portage Terriers.
SJHL Playoff MVP Steven Kesslering would open the scoring in the opening frame with his 3rd of the tournament to give the Stars an early 1-0 lead.
However, in the opening minute of the 2nd, the Terriers would respond as a centering pass would take a funny bounce and fool Josh Kotai.
The two teams would go end to end with numerous chances but both goaltenders made some incredible saves to keep the game even at one.
Battlefords though would continue to put on the pressure and near the tail end of their 4th power-play of the game the Stars would get a fortunate bounce that would find the stick of Bradley Blake in the slot and he would make no mistake for his first of the Centennial Cup, making it 2-1 Stars.
Just over two minutes later on another power-play, the Stars would extend their lead thanks to Captain Jake Southgate who wristed one in through a maze of bodies for his first of the Centennial Cup. 3-1 Stars entering the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Battlefords would continue to control the play in the 3rd, but a rush back the other way halfway through the period would result in the Terriers getting back to within one.
Despite giving up the goal, the Stars would continue to play solid defensively and not allow the Terriers much time in their own end.
In the dying seconds the Terriers would get one final chance, but Josh Kotai would slam the door shut to secure the 3-2 win for the Battlefords North Stars in a thrilling hockey game between the two clubs.
With the win, the Stars improve to 2-0-1-0 (6 points) at the Centennial Cup and have moved into a tie for first in Group B with the Portage Terriers, but the Stars do have the tie-breaker (Head to Head).
Below you can find the standings in Group B following Monday night’s action.
Despite the win, the Stars have not clinched a spot in the playoff round. However, they would do that if they earned at least one point in their final round robin game Tuesday night against the Steinbach Pistons. Puck drop for that game is 6:30pm (Sask)
Below you will find Highlights from Monday night’s game along with post-game comments from Battlefords North Stars Head Coach and General Manager Brayden Klimosko, Stars Captain Jake Southgate, and Stars goaltender Josh Kotai.