The Norman Northstars got the home portion of their Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League off on the right foot Oct. 7 against their East Division rivals the Eastman Selects, scoring early and often on their way to a 6-2 victory. The following night, they split those duties with the Selects, as the home team scored early but the visitors tallied often, scoring four first period goals in what would eventually be a 7-4 Eastman win.
Captain Tanner Hepp got the Northstars on the board in the home opener, scoring 3:34 into the opening frame. His team then went up two goals when Jameson Scott added his third of the season less than two minutes later.
The Selects gained momentum when Mathew Hadley scored during a 5-on-3 power play just 20 seconds into the middle frame, but after the Northstars killed off another extended power play sequence featuring a double minor and two more infractions, Tavish Quinn deposited a rebound off the back boards behind Tanner Friesen to make it a 3-1 game.
The Northstars put the game to bed early in the third, as Drake Bodie pounced on a rebound in the slot and buried it past the goaltender just eight seconds into a Northstars power play. Brendan Barronís shorthanded marker with 4:42 put the home team up 5-1 but Eastmanís Jonathan Kasdorf quickly struck back, scoring his teamís second goal of the game just 44 seconds later. The final goal of the game came with just 1.2 seconds on the clock, as the Northstarsí leading goal-scorer last year, Eddie Bayer, fired a rebound into a wide open net.
Justin Paulic made 38 saves in the win, as the Northstars were outshot 40-35, continuing the new seasonís trend of giving up 35 or more shots per game.
Evan Akkerman opened the scoring in the second game of the homestand, jamming in a rebound after a shot rang off the post just 2:17 after the opening faceoff. The lead lasted just 14 seconds, however, as Alex Tetrault tied things up for the Selects. Just over a minute later, Eastman struck again, with Donovan Reimer the goal-scorer this time. Only 12 more seconds elapsed before Riley Welsh got the Selectsí third goal, prompting Northstars coach Dustin Levesque to yank starting goaltender Paulic in favour of Aaron Vallance. The game was still not 10 minutes old when Dylan Betteridge fired a high shot past Vallance after receiving a cross-ice pass during a power play.
Hepp got his second goal in as many games less than two minutes after that, receiving a pass from Barron behind the net and putting it past Ryan Miner with the Northstars enjoying a man advantage.
It looked as thought the Northstars might be back into the game when Bayer made it 4-3 just 1:06 into the second period, but Thomas Lenchyshyn scored another power play goal for Eastman about five minutes later and Eastman got its sixth goal, and third on the power play, just 72 seconds later, after which Paulic re-entered the Northstarsí net.
Eastmanís fourth power play goal of the game, by Hadley, made it a 7-3 lead before Cory Reid got the final goal for the Northstars, blasting a slapshot from just inside the blueline that Miner couldnít stop.
Shots were 41-39 in favour of the Northstars, who are at home again next weekend, facing the Yellowhead Chiefs on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.