Long layoff no problem as NCN Flames beat Norway House by wide margins

Having nearly four weeks off since their last game didn’t dull the skills of the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) Flames, as they trounced the Norway House North Stars in Thompson and Nelson House Nov. 15-16.

Lance Laycock, Henbry Muchikekwanape and Keenan Keeper got the Flames off to a quick start en route to a 9-2 win at the C.A. Nesbitt Arena Friday night, putting their team up 3-0 before Roman Muminawatum got the North Stars on the board with a power play goal in the period's final minute. Any momentum that goal generated was stopped in its tracks, however, when Michael Markus scored shorthanded 11 seconds later to restore the three-goal lead.

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Norway House’s Tanner Poker cut the Flames’ lead to two early in the second period before Albert Berard, Markus and Michael Venne made it 7-2 at the end of 40 minutes, with Markus’s goal coming while NCN was two men short. 

Venne and Calem Ross closed out the scoring for the Flames in the third period.

Shots in the game were 67-17 for the Flames, and Kruz Mitchell made 15 saves to give NCN the win.

Lopsided as the opener of the back-to-back series was, it was close compared to the rematch in NCN on Saturday, a 14-1 victory for the Flames. Poker was the only Norway House player to beat NCN netminder Braedin Melsted, but by the time he scored in the third period his team was already behind by 11 goals. 

Jonathan Saunders had a natural hat trick for the Flames in the second period, while Laycock also contributed three goals. Keistin Saunders and Berard each had a pair of goals, with Isiah Spence, Muchikekwenape, Markus and Venne recording one goal apiece.

Melsted stopped 17 shots in the first 30 minutes for the win, while Mitchell stopped four of five shots in the last 30 minutes. Norway House netminder Dominic Bernittic made 62 saves while getting peppered with 76 shots.

The Flames are currently third in Keystone Junior Hockey League standings with six points in four games. They have played two fewer games than any other team so far because a pair of road trips were cancelled. They are back on the ice Nov. 22-23 in Thompson and Nelson House to take on the Cross Lake Islanders, who have three wins in six games this year.

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