Lodie Ipeelie's second hat trick in the last six games powered the Norman Northstars to their first home win of the 2012-13 Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League season on Oct. 27, as the squad got three goals in the first and third periods en route to a 6-2 win over the Interlake Lightning
The victory avenged a loss the night before, when the Northstars got off to a flying start but couldn't establish a big enough lead to hold off the Lightning, who outscored them 5-3 over the final 40 minutes to come away with a 7-5 win.
The Northstars remain in fourth place in the East Division standings, with an overall record of 3-7 and six points, two more than the Lightning, who are two ahead of cellar-dwellers the Eastman Selects, who have won just one of their first eight games. The Northstars are 3-3 in their last six after opening with four straight losses to the Brandon What Kings and Winnipeg Wild, who both currently sit at 16 points.
Tyrel Charlton got things started for the Northstars on Saturday, giving his team a 1-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the contest. Ipeelie's first came with just under three minutes left in the opening frame, then Cory Reid made it a 3-0 game when he picked up the rebound of Brendan Barron's shot off the base of the post and wired a slapshot past Interlake goaltender Hayden Dola with 92 seconds to play until intermission.
The Lightning's Rhett Lough had the only goal of the second period, a power-play marker, before Trent Laycock pushed the puck over the blueline early in the third period, where Ipeelie picked it up and ripped a high shot past Derek Davies, who replaced Dola in net to start the third period. Ipeelie finished off the hat trick by tipping the puck in from the edge of the crease on a power play with 5:09 to play. Northstars captain Tanner Hepp got his third goal of the weekend with just under a minute to play, positioning himself in front of the net and tipping a shot past Davies.
The Lightning had one goal in the final 20 minutes, from Travis Kilbrei, about 30 seconds after Ipeelie made it a 4-1 contest.
Shots in the game were 43-43 and Luke Penner made 41 saves for his second win of the season. Laycock and Barron both finished the game with a pair of assists.
The Northstars got off to a fast start in the first game of the home series as well, outshooting the Lightning 20-10 in the first period on Friday, and taking a two-goal lead as Tanner Hepp scored twice, once at even strength and once on the power play, before Eli Batt made it a one-goal game with the man advantage and 71 seconds left in the period.
Interlake took the lead with goals just over a minute apart in the second period, as Carter Johnson scored on a power play and Thompson product Nicholas Kraychuk made his hometown team pay with 6:46 remaining in the middle frame. Barron tied it up for the Northstars with 1:12 left in the period but a shot by Clayton Tait sailed over Aaron Vallance's glove with 4.1 seconds to play, sending the Lightning into the final 20 minutes with a 4-3 lead.
Steven Goran made a great individual play to even things up again 2:02 into the third period, walking out of the corner and deking out a defender before putting a backhander over the glove of Davies. Less than five minutes later, Darek Ramage gave the Lightning another lead that lasted just over a minute before Gillam's Layne Anderson potted his first as a Northstar. Once again, however, the Lightning stuck back, with a goal from Johnson just before the midway point. This time the lead would stand, however, and Lough added an empty-netter with 30 seconds left to seal the Interlake victory.
The Northstars outshot the Lightning badly in this game, putting 55 pucks on Davies while allowing 33 against Vallance, but their penalty killing was not up to par as the Lightning went 3-for-5 on the power play in the game.
The Northstars return to the ice this Friday when they meet the Yellowhead Chiefs for the first of two games at the C.A. Nesbitt Arena. The Chiefs are currently second in the West Division with a 7-2-1 record.