The Norman Northstars started the Manitoba AAA U18 Hockey League season on a high note Sept. 24 before falling back to earth the following afternoon against the Kenora Thistles at the Thompson Regional Community Centre.
Four players scored for the Northstars in the first two periods on Saturday night and the team held on for a 4-3 win despite giving up two goals against in the last eight minutes to make it closer than it had been.
Nole Pearson got the first Northstars goal of the season midway through the opening frame. Gregory Wiseman and Reed Scaddan scored in the second period, the latter on a power play, to make it 3-0 before Nickolas Fagnilli got the Thistles on the board with a man advantage. Daylin Monias re-established the three-goal cushion with a tally just 18 seconds before the second intermission.
Reed Pitura, on the power play, and Landon Lowes, in the final minute of play, got Kenora within one in the final 20 minutes but Paxton Moore finished the game with 39 saves in the Northstars’ net for his and the team’s first win of the season.
The Northstars’ offence dried up in the second game of the season on Sunday afternoon, with the Thistles establishing a three-goal first period lead thanks to Brandon Gustafson, Lowes — shorthanded — and Fagnilli before Wiseman scored twice in the second period, once on the power play, to make it a one-goal contest.
Kenora struck twice early in the third, off the sticks of Reidar Paquette and Emerson Evans, to go up by three once more before Lowes and Fagnilli added their second goals of the game for a 7-2 final. Moore stopped 25 of 32 shots in net in his second straight start.
The Northstars head out on their first road trip of the season this weekend, facing the Winnipeg Bruins twice and the Interlake Lightning once.