The community of Wadena was in the spotlight after winning the right to host Hockey Day in Saskatchewan.
The town hosted a series of events; including a banquet featuring TSN’s Darren Dutchyshen, a midget AAA game between Tisdale and Notre Dame, a midget AAA girls game between Melville and Swift Current and finally, an SJHL tilt amid the Battlefords North Stars and the Notre Dame Hounds.
Prior to the matchup, Coach Kevin Hasselberg, along with a few players, took to the ice with the Initation Hockey Program for a few lessons and a nice warmup before their game later that evening.
“It was a great feeling to be here and on the ice with those kids. It’s such a privilege to give back to those kids who are coming up in the game. It’s what someone at some point did for us. We wouldn’t be where we are if someone didn’t mentor us,” Hasselberg said of the festivities.
Fresh off a big overtime win where Layne Young provided a clutch breakaway goal, the North Stars were looking to stay hot and extend their winning streak to three, doing so in a strong 3-1 performance.
Rory Davidson scored his second as a member of the black and white to kick off the scoring late in the opening frame. The speedster stepped around the Hounds defence while breaking into the offensive zone, exhibiting great patience before skating into the slot and popping a drag shot into the back of the net, beating Alexi Thibaudeau.
The North Stars were relentless in the first period, firing off 21 shots to Notre Dame’s five, creating numerous quality chances. Thibaudeau kept his team in the game with highlight reel saves throughout the night.
Davidson continued to hurt the Hounds with his speed in the second period. After slicing down the wing, he threw a shot on Thibaudeau, who made the save but kicked it into the air. Logan Nachtegaele was there to knock it into the back of the net for this third of the campaign. The fourth line drew blood for the second time in the tilt. Kendall Fransoo registered the second assist.
Against Weyburn it was the Coby Downs, Dustin Gorgi line providing the offence. Saturday night the grinders got the job done for the North Stars.
“He defines what compete is [on Davidson]. That’s what the challenge was for the bench, you have to watch that line. Especially with what they do in the corners and how they win battles,” Hasselberg said after the game.
The Hounds came back with one of their own to cut the deficit to one. Kobe Kindrachuk beat Tyler Fuhr with just three seconds left to play in the middle frame on the power play. This was the third night in a row where the North Stars were scored on with less than five seconds left to play in a period. Even with the goal, the Battlefords controlled puck possession and the pace of the game throughout 40 minutes, leading the shots department 44-12.
The Battlefords fired 19 more pucks on net in the final frame, scoring on their final shot courtesy of Baxter Kanter into the open cage.
Thibaudeau made 60 saves on the night, on the other end of the rink it was Fuhr making 22.
On deck for the North Stars is a home-and-home series against the La Ronge Ice Wolves next weekend.
News-Optimist THREE STARS
Rory Davidson - 1 G, 1 A
Alexi Thibaudeau - 2 GA, 60 saves
Logan Nachtegaele - 1 G