Wheat Kings beat Northstars late in weekend opener, then steamroll them the next day

The Norman Northstars continued to search fruitlessly for their first win of the Manitoba U18 AAA Hockey League season at home Nov. 30-Dec.1, dropping 4-1 and 9-1 decisions to the Brandon Wheat Kings, who are 11th in league standings but 14 points ahead of the 13th-place Northstars.

The opening game of the weekend series was tight until the last six minutes, with the Wheat Kings never leading by more than a single goal until Dalton Andrew scored the game-winner with 5:49 to play in the game. Mitch Thiessen increased the lead to two goals just 42 seconds later and Jeremiah Jacques scored his second of the game into an empty net in the final 20 seconds. Jacques had opened the scoring about midway through the game’s second period. Ian Snooks scored the Northstars’ only goal about five minutes into the final frame.

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Shots were 49-39 in favour of the Wheat Kings and Rylan Potkonjak made 45 saves in a losing effort in the Northstars net.

Jacques once again scored the only goal of the first period Dec. 1 but the similarities to Saturday’s game ended there, as Brandon scored four times in the second period and four more in the third for the lopsided win.Ty Earl had a pair of second period goals for the Wheat Kings with Thiessen and Andrew also scoring in the middle frame.

The Northstars’ Albert Sinclair got the home team on the board early in the third period before Deniz Ntelioglou, Cayden Glover, Andre and Brady Frattinger replied for the Wheat Kings.

Shots were 46-23 and Linden Gamblin made 37 saves in the Northstars’ net.

The home losses came on the heels of a Northstars’ road trip Nov. 22-24 in which they were outscored 26-7 over three games.

Roger Houle Jr. and Jordan Pfoh had goals for the Northstars in an 8-2 loss to the Eastman Selects to start that trip. Branden Hill and Blake Lahonen scored in a 9-2 loss to the Winnipeg Thrashers the following afternoon. Derek Koisvisto, Brady Krentz and Houle were the scorers for the Northstars in a 9-3 loss to the Interlake Lightning Nov. 24. The Northstars never led in any of those games.

The Northstars are at home again Dec. 7-8 against the Kenora Thistles, who are 12th in league standings with three points. The Thistles have one win and one overtime loss, while the Northstars’ only point so far this season came via an overtime loss.

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