North Stars drop game three to Portage 5-3

It was a frustrating night at the Civic Centre for the Battlefords North Stars in game three of the Anavet Cup.

Despite outshooting the Portage Terriers and despite coming back twice to tie the game, they ultimately lost 5-3.

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There were no excuses from coach Brayden Klimosko afterwards.

“I don’t think we played a full 60 minutes. I think it showed on the scoreboard. That’s why we didn’t win the hockey game here tonight.”

One thing was consistent about the first three games of the Anavet Cup, and that was the Terriers scoring first.

That they did again just 1:22 into the first period and Reece Henry scored from Ocean Weisblatt and Caelan McPhee, beating Joel Grzybowski and made it 1-0.

“That’s a big part of it, we do have to score first,” said Klimosko. “It definitely helps the momentum, right and when you’re always behind the eight-ball you always have to push back. So it’s a little bit of a problem of ours right now and hopefully we can it out.”

It was a brisk first period with the North Stars struggling to contain the speed of the Terriers. The North Stars managed to get out of the first period with no further scoring, although there was an exchange of words between the Stars’ Elijah Loon-Stewardson and Kolton Shindle of the Terriers as the period ended. Shots favored the North Stars 9-8.

The fast pace continued into the second period. The North Stars were able to tie it up 1-1 at the 4:43 mark with the third goal of the playoffs for Owen Lamb. Ryan Gil and MacGregor Sinclair had assists.

Not long after, the Terriers put pressure on Grzybowski in front of the North Stars goal. Grzybowski was sprawled all over the ice and it looked for a moment like he had made another brilliant save — except this time the goal light was on and the puck had gone into the net. Orca Weisblatt had scored from Ty Barnstable and Owen Murray at 6:07 to restore the Portage lead.

Portage added to the lead with 5:46 left in the period on a goal by Chase Brakel. The North Stars stared at a two goal deficit through two periods, despite having outshot Portage 18-15.

In the third, the North Stars rallied to tie the game. At the 6:30 mark, with the Terriers’ Peyton Gorski in the box for cross-checking, Gil scored a power play goal from Matthew Fletcher, pulling the North Stars within one.

Then with 10:18 left in the third, Cody Spagrud tied it 3-3 with Urbanski and Brett Gammer the assists.

But with 7:53 left on the clock, Brakel restored the lead for the Terriers at 4-3 with his second of the night.

With 1:35 left the Terriers make it 5-3 on a goal from Ty Barnstable to pretty much seal the deal. In the final moments the fists started flying as Elijah Loon-Stewardson and Ocean Wiesblatt got into a scrap to close out the contest.

The North Stars wound up on the short end of the scoreboard despite outshooting Portage 31-21 in the game. In all, coach Klimosko was happier with the effort he saw in the second and third periods.

“That’s North Star hockey,” he said. “We haven’t played that for a full 60 (minutes) yet and hopefully we get that tomorrow.”

The North Stars had no time to mope about the outcome, as they were set to resume action Wednesday night back at the Civic Centre for game four.

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