The Norman Northstars have been mathematically eliminated from Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League playoff contention after three more losses on the road Jan. 19-21 – their 31st, 32nd and 33rd of the year.
The final game of the trip against the Parkland Rangers was the closest of the matches, with the Northstars being outscored 7-2. Sheldin Howard and Mitchell Reid had the Northstars' goals, Howard's coming in the second period with his team already down 4-0 and Reid's in the third, at which point the score became 6-2.
Kurtis Luke and Vincent Hughes had two goals each for the Rangers, with Garrett Hrechka, Colby Cherneski and Jaeger Lapointe adding singles.
Keian Weseen made 38 saves in the Northstars' net as his team was outshot 45-33.
On Saturday, the Northstars were shut out 8-0 by the Southwest Cougars, who got a hat trick from Jared McCorrister, two goals from Tannery Clyne and one apiece from Matthew Ramsey, Callum Fortin and Josh Wiens. Skylar Szocs stopped 34 shots in net for the Northstars, who were outshot 42-30.
The trip opened with a 12-3 loss to the Brandon Wheat Kings Jan. 19. The Wheat Kings went ahead on first period goals by Carter Sawchuk, Brett Paddock, Tanner Morrison and Nolan Ritchie before Jamie Valentino and Jordan Pfoh scored back-to-back to halve the deficit. Ritchie scored again before the first intermission to make it 5-2 for Brandon.
Ritchie completed his hat trick 35 seconds into the second period. Drayson Collyer, Dylan Halliday with a pair, Sawchuk with his second of the game, Colin Cook and Jake Thompson were the other goal scorers for the Wheat Kings, and Reid got the Northstars' other goal midway through the second period.
Weseen made 32 saves on 41 shots and was tagged with the loss before being pulled in favour of Szocs, who stopped 12 of 15 shots in the third period.
The Northstars have 11 games left and are 24 points behind the eighth-place Central Plains Capitals who currently hold the last playoff spot.
The Northstars are at home this weekend to face the Winnipeg Wild, whose 32-4-1 record is almost the exact oppose of the Northstars' record of 3-33-1.