Giving up goals in bunches proved costly for the Norman Northstars in a pair of losses at home to the Interlake Lightning Oct. 26-27.
The Lightning scored six times in a 10-minute stretch of the second period of Sunday’s game, turning a one-goal game into a 7-0 blowout in the process. Cole Emberly started the Interlake onslaught 1:31 into the middle frame, picking up a rebound after a couple of saves by Northstars goalie Linden Gamblin and putting it in the back of the net to make the score 2-0. Lyle Murdock extended the lead less than two minutes later, finishing off a rush by redirecting a pass from Ayden Manningway into the net from the edge of the crease. Manningway got a goal of his own less than a minute later, poking a rebound under Gamblin after the goalie couldn’t locate the puck following an initial save. Aiden Bruce scored a similar goal 1:02 later, prompting a goaltender change for the Northstars, but Interlake’s Austin Adair quickly beat Odin Church on a wrist shot. Manningway finished up the scoring with a power play tally with just under nine minutes left in the period.
Matthew Vandel opened the scoring for the Lightning 7:15 into the first period on his team’s second shot. Gamblin kept it a one-goal game when he stopped Adair on a penalty shot 3:04 before the first intermission.
The Northstars began the weekend series by dropping a 5-2 decision to the Lightning Oct. 26, giving up three goals in the third period after battling back in the middle frame from a two-goal deficit.
Vandel scored twice at even strength for the Lightning in the first nine minutes of the final period to restore Interlake’s two-goal advantage and Kaden Stewart put the game completely out of reach with an empty net tally with 28 seconds left to play.
Albert Sinclair and Ryan Monias scored power play goals in the last seven minutes of the second period to tie the score 2-2. Murdock, in the first period, and Ashton Fisher, in the second, had scored earlier to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead.
All of Interlake’s goals on Saturday came with the teams at even strength, but the Northstars outshot the Lightning 39-26 in the game. Christopher Fines made 37 saves in Interlake’s net, while Gamblin had 21 saves in the loss.
The Northstars lost a pair of one-goal games and a blowout on their Oct. 18-20 road trip. They began it with a 5-4 loss to the Central Plains Capitals, as Riley Borody scored the only goal of the third period to give his team the win. The Northstars had gone up 3-2 in the first period on even-strength goals by Monias and Blake Lahonen and a power play marker by Sinclair. Ryan Botterill and Will Faraci had the Capitals’ goals. Jackson Wilson tied the score early in the second period before Sinclair’s second of the game put the Northstars back on top for about three minutes until Cameron Trimble scored the fourth goal for Central Plains. Shots in the game were 34-30 for the Capitals. Gamblin had 29 saves for the Northstars and Caran McVicker 26 for the Capitals.
Derek Koivisto spoiled a Winnipeg Wild shutout bid in last two minutes of a 15-1 loss Oct. 19. Northstars’ netminder Church gave up 10 goals on 30 shots in 41:34 of playing time before being relieved by Gamblin, who surrendered five goals on 20 shots in less than 19 minutes in net. Total shots were 50-18 in favour of the Wild.
The Northstars closed the road trip by trying to battle back from a 3-0 deficit in the last eight minutes of the third period Oct. 20, coming up one goal short of tying the Winnipeg Bruins. Monias and Dredyn Robinson scored back-to-back power play goals to pull their team within a goal with about four minutes to play. Nicholas Guberman had two goals for the Bruins – a power play goal in the second period and an even-strength marker in the second – while Ashton Romaniuk had the game-winner 6:22 into the third period. Shots in the game were 41-29 for the Bruins. Gamblin stopped 38 shots for the Northstars while Nikulas Jerris had 27 saves to give Winnipeg the win.
The Northstars head back on the road seeking their first win of the season Nov. 1-3, taking on the Bruins, the Winnipeg Thrashers and the Eastman Selects.
The Northstars and the Kenora Thistles are the only two teams in the 13-team Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League who have yet to register a win or a point this season as of Oct. 27.