A share of the division lead slipped from the grasp of the Battlefords North Stars this weekend at the Civic Centre.
They had led 2-1 in the third period of their game against the Kindersley Klippers, but the Klippers tied the game in regulation and then won it on an overtime goal by Kyle Bosch less than a minute into the extra period, for a 3-2 win.
It was a stunning end to a weekend that had held so much promise for the North Stars. A regulation win would have meant a tie for first place at 48 points apiece, but as coach Brayden Klimosko said afterwards, it was not to be.
“You don’t have to be first place in December, that means nothing anyway,” said Klimosko, pointing to the fact that it was where you stood at the end of the season that counted the most.
Despite the defeat there were lots of positives to point to. The North Stars had performed well in their two games against Kindersley, even with the loss of both Quintin and Elijah Loon-Stewardson and Braydon Buziak from the lineup due to the flu bug.
“We can compete with anyone. I think that is one thing you can take away,” said Klimosko. “Guys stepped up, guys like (Brett) Gammer were really good for us these last couple of days.”
With a 4-2 win in Kindersley the night before and with the overtime result Saturday, the North Stars earned three out of a possible four points up for grabs against the Klippers. Unfortunately, the Klippers also got two of those four points, which means their division lead now stands at three over the North Stars as the teams enter the new year.
“We’re trending in the right direction,” said Klimosko. “Hopefully we get a couple days off here and get to work next weekend.”
The North Stars got on the board first with a power play goal by Regan Doig from Owen Lamb at the 6:37 mark of period one. But Kindersley tied it 1-1 on the goal from Clay Keeley from Noah Bankowski and Caden Benson.
In period two the North Stars re-took the lead as Matthias Urbanski got his 15th of the season from Noah Form. But in the third period Josh Fletcher's goal tied it from Tyler Traptow at 11:49.
It was Bosch's ninth of the season from Fletcher and Keeley that beat netminder Joel Grzybowski to end it just 46 seconds into overtime.
As was the case the night before, the Klippers outshot the North Stars. The shot count was 41-26. but this time it was the Klippers who emerged with the victory. Despite a 38-save night, Grzybowski took the loss and Zach Johnson got the win in net for Kindersley.
Now the North Stars have an extended period of time away from the Civic Centre, with the venue hosting the Pinty's Grand Slam of Curling in January. The North Stars will not be playing at the Civic Centre again until Jan. 22 against Kindersley.
In the meantime, their next "home" contest will be Friday, Jan.4, against the Humboldt Broncos across the river at Battleford Arena.