The Norman Northstars showed no signs of sluggishness from the holiday break when they returned to the C.A. Nesbitt Arena on Jan. 5, since they beat the visiting Parkland Rangers by a final score of 4−1.
Mikey Baron drew first blood for the Northstars by tipping the puck past goaltender Keaton Ziprick at 6:34 into the first period.
Even though the Rangers would answer back with a goal seven minutes into the second, Baron and fellow forward Jamie Valentino increased the Northstars’ lead to 3−1 with a goal apiece.
While the Northstars got embroiled in some penalty trouble halfway through the third, they managed to maintain their lead until the dying seconds of the game, where captain Hunter Rambow scored an empty net goal to secure a 4−1 final for his team.
Unfortunately, despite putting in a brilliant performance, Baron went down hard in the third period and had to be carried off the ice. In a post-game interview with CHTM Radio, coach Glenn Laycock said Baron could be suffering from a broken ankle.
However, Laycock also said that he was really impressed with his team’s performance on Saturday and hopes that they can generate enough momentum to qualify for the playoffs this year.
Last season, the Northstars were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention following a trio of road losses Jan. 19−21.
“This is a big win because we want to get out of that basement so bad,” said Laycock on Saturday. “And that’s our goal, to build off [this game] and get up in the standings a little higher. These kids are working hard and you can see it.”
While the Northstars didn’t capture a repeat victory during Sunday’s rematch against the Rangers, it wasn’t from a lack of trying.
Despite a slow start, the Norman squad mounted a pretty impressive comeback at the start of the third period when they were trailing Parkland by a 5−2 margin.
Thanks to goals from Keistin Saunders, Jordan Pfoh and Valentino, the Northstars managed to tie things up at 5−5 and send the game into overtime.
When five minutes of three-on-three hockey couldn’t break this stalemate, both teams picked their best offensive players to participate in a shootout.
Ultimately, the Northstars missed their first pair of shots while Parkland’s snipers scored two in a row, which secured them a 6−5 final.
Following this recent home series, the Northstars are still dead last in the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League, although they are only trailing the Rangers and the Interlake Lighting by two points as of Jan. 6.
Hopefully the Northstars can regain some ground at the C.A. Nesbitt Arena Jan. 12−13, where they will be going head-to-head with the tenth place Central Plains Capitals.