Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Stars remain undefeated in pre-season

~ Article and image by Marty Martinson, battlefordsNOW

Ryland McNinch and Zane Florence scored a pair each, while Daniel Thiessen and Holden Doell also added a goal apiece, as the Battlefords North Stars topped the Kindersley Klippers 6-4 Wednesday in North Battleford.

For the Stars, the win came in their first home preseason game of the year, improving the team’s record to a perfect 3-0 to start the exhibition schedule.

Kindersley struck early, just under 7:30 into the first period on Carson Baylis’ first of the preseason, followed by two more goals from Charles Obabalfo and Matthew Mazzocchi in the second to make it 3-0 Klippers midway through the middle frame.

However rather than roll over, the North Stars answered back quickly, on a quick snapshot by Daniel Thiessen just eight seconds later, cutting the deficit to two at 3-1 with his first of the preseason.

Prior to end of the second, Florence’s first goal of two, came off a rebound in front, making it a one-goal game at 3-2 KIN heading into the second intermission.

Florence then scored again — for his second of the night, and third in two preseason games — just a minute into the third, to knot the game 3-3; although the Stars were not yet in the clear.

Aiden Bangs’ first reestablished the Klippers’ lead at 4-3, coming on the power play just over two minutes later, only for McNinch to answer and pull the Battlefords even again at 4-4.

McNinch’s second of the game would serve as the game winner, making it 5-4 on a one-timer in front on the power play, just past the midway mark of the third. Doell’s empty-netter then iced the victory for the team in front of the home crowd in dramatic fashion.

Holden Doell’s tally secured the 6-4 victory for the team. (Twitter/MartyMartyPxP1)

Stars’ goaltender, Ulrik Roussel stopped 38 of 42 Kindersley shots to keep the team in it early, and then secure the victory late, playing the full game for the black and silver.

McNinch said following the night’s contest, that while they will certainly hope for a better start in their next game, the resiliency shown by the group to battle back was a good sign.

“I thought our first period was a bit [rough], we weren’t playing that hard, but the last two we played really well, so I think that’s huge and good to build on heading into the weekend,” McNinch said.

The veteran forward then added that being back in front of the home crowd for the first time since the preseason last year, may have helped contribute to the team’s spark as the game went along.

“It was good looking up in the stands and seeing lots of fans up there,” McNinch said. “There are always lots in the building, and that’s great; it really helps us out a lot and it’s good to see.”

The North Stars will return to action this weekend, with a home-and-home versus the La Ronge Ice Wolves. Saturday’s game will be played in North Battleford at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday’s game an afternoon start in La Ronge.

The NAPA Auto Parts North Stars Hockey Broadcasts will begin with the start of the regular season Sept. 24, when the Stars open their schedule at home versus Kindersley. The Ultra Print Pregame Show will begin at 7:15 p.m., with puck drop to follow at 7:30 p.m.

On Twitter: @MartyMartyPxP1