The Norman Northstars played their last three road games of the 2018-19 Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League season Feb. 8-10, sandwiching losses in which they were outscored by 10 goals around one in in which the other team won by five.
The trip started out against the Winnipeg Thrashers, who got first period goals from Connor Roulette, Jaden Shumilak, Nick Sharpe, Griffin Asham-Moroz, Mathieu Moreira and Brandon Ambrozik before Henry Muchikekwanape got the the Northstars on the board. Sharpe and Jack Stewart made it 8-1 after 40 minutes, with Branden Huminuk, Cameron Hibbert, Ryland Kuczek and Roulette scoring in the third period before Muchikekwanape’s second goal made it a 12-2 final. Shots were 56-35 for the Thrashers and Braedin Melsted made nine saves in the first 17 minutes before being relieved by Rylan Potkonjak, who finished with 35 saves.
The Northstars were neck-and-neck with the Eastman Selects until the last 10 minutes of the game Feb. 9. Kyle Melo and Andrew Blocker put the Selects up 2-0 in the first period before Hunter Rambow cut the lead in half. Blocker’s second was the only goal of the middle frame and the Northstars pulled within one just before the midway point of the third period when Ryan Monias scored to make it a 3-2 game. Kieran Thiessen replied for Eastman just over a minute later and that seemed to open the floodgates, as Matthew Boonstra, Kade Runke and Josh Beauchemin scored goals in a three-minute span to blow the game open and give the Selects a 7-2 win. Potkonjak made 39 saves as the Northstars were outshot 46-36.
Morgan Daneliuk was the only Northstar to score in an 11-1 loss to the league-leading Winnipeg Wild Feb. 10, getting his team on the scoreboard in the third period when they were already trailing 11-0. Reese Belton had four goals to pace the Wild, with Jackson Klewchuk and Ethan Robson each scoring twice and Tyson Smith, Matthew Shatsky, Luc Benedictson and Brandon McCartney adding singles. Shots were 58-19 for Winnipeg and Melsted made 47 saves in the loss.
The Northstars play their last four games of the season at home against the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Interlake Lightning. They could still pass the Parkland Rangers to climb out of the league basement if they string together a couple of wins. Parkland is two points ahead of the Northstars thanks to a couple more overtime losses.