Thursday, May 2, 2019
STARS FACING ELIMINATION IN ANAVET CUP
The Battlefords North Stars fell 7-5 to the Portage Terriers in Game 4 of the Anavet Cup Wednesday, held at the NB Civic Centre.
With the loss, the Stars now trail the best-of-seven championship series 3-games-to-1, with Game 5 Thursday – for the third time in three nights – in the Battlefords.
Quintin Loon-Stewardson opened the scoring Wednesday, notching his first of the series to make it 1-0 Stars just 1:16 into the first period.
Not done there, the Stars then proceeded to add to their lead further, just about five minutes later while shorthanded, courtesy of Regan Doig. His first of the series and second since the playoffs began, Doig’s goal at 2-0 gave the Stars their first two-goal lead of the series.
The Terriers would ultimately answer back, however, with two of their own. Entering the third, the teams were all tied up, 2-2 with the game at stake.
Scoring two quick goals in the final period, from Scott Mickoski and Funk (his second), just 6:26 into the third, the Stars suddenly found themselves trailing by two, with about 13:34 to go in regulation time.
Rather than worry about the deficit, the team opted to just keep chipping away, which would pay off as the right choice quickly, as Sinclair picked up a gorgeous stretch-pass from defenseman Matthew Fletcher to cut through in solo on Portage’s Ethan Peterson, snapping a shot high to get his team back to within one, at 4-3.
Then, just three-or-so minutes after Sinclair got on the board, the Battlefords would cash in for their hard-work once again, as Fletcher, who set up Sinclair’s tally potted one of his own to nearly blow the roof off the building, pulling his team even at 4-4.
Despite the heroic effort, Portage again pulled through to take the lead just two minutes later, as Terriers’ rearguard, Caelan McPhee notched his second of the night, on another seeing-eye puck.
Following his teammate’s lead, Scott Mickoski drained his second of the game as well just two minutes later to again, reestablish a two-goal cushion at 6-4.
Despite the setback, the North Stars refused to quit on the game, coming back – again – with one of their own, this time off the blade of rookie, Brett Gammer, who picked up his first of the series in just his second game, after missing the first two due to illness.
At 6-5, the crowd was hopeful, and rightfully so. The North Stars continued to push right to the end, until Kolton Shindle finally established an advantage that would stick for good, scoring an empty net goal with just a minute-and-a-half to go in the third to ice the proverbial cake at 7-5.
Stars’ goalie Joel Grzybowski stopped 21/27, while Ethan Petterson made 29/34 saves for the Terriers.
Game 5 of the series will be played Thursday night at the Civic Centre. The NAPA North Stars Hockey Broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. with puck drop at 7:30 p.m. on 1050 CJNB.