Written By: Rory McGouran
The Humboldt Broncos became the first team to beat the Battelfords North Stars twice this season on Friday, then did one better, by defeating them a third time on Saturday.
The top two teams in the SJHL standings squared off for a home and home set (Battleford’s home game on Saturday was played in a neutral site in Martensville) this weekend. This was the first meeting between the two teams since they split a pair of weekend games in late October.
Although the two games were decided by just three goals combined, the Broncos dictated the large majority of the play throughout both nights.
Humboldt at Home
Friday night, at the EPA in Humboldt, was played in front of 1400 boisterous Bronco’s fans.
Following the first two periods where the Broncos outshot the North Stars 36-19, Humboldt built a 3-1 lead early in the third period. Producing the goals were Quinn Myles (1), Alec Saretzky (19), and Ethan Zielke (13).
With the game fully in Humboldt’s control, Sam Marburg was called for a 5-minute-major goaltender interference call, one that the fans loudly disagreed with, handing down a barrage of boos onto the ice.
The talented North Stars made them pay, scoring twice to tie the game up at 3-3.
Faced with a mountain of a momentum swing, the Broncos battled through the adversity, as Cage Newans (13) scored a powerplay goal with just 2:49 remaining that stood to be the game-winner.
Jared Picklyk picked up the win in net, stopping 28 of 31, as the Broncos Outshot the North Stars 49-31. This was just the second time this season that Battelfords lost in regulation.
Hockey Day in Saskatchewan
The following night, the two rivals met in Martensville, SK for Hockey Day in Saskatchewan, a weeklong event that raises money for local community’s sporting initiatives.
Once again, the Broncos’ structure and relentless pressure posed as a puzzle for the North Stars from the opening puck drop.
Cage Newans, who ended the game on Friday, started the scoring on Saturday with his 14th of the season.
The North Stars then took a costly double-minor penalty for kneeing in the second period and the Broncos found the back of the net twice. Alec Saretzky capitalized on the powerplay, extending his goal-scoring streak to 5 games with his team-leading 20th goal. This was his 11th goal in the past 12 games.
Tim Kim followed up just 36 seconds later with his 8th to give the Broncos a 3-0 lead.
Humboldt continued to press in the third period with Chase Lacombe crashing home his 2nd of the year and a 4-0 lead.
The highest scoring team in the SJHL wasn’t going to relent without a fight. Battelfords added two late goals by Riley Girod and Colby Bear, putting pressure on the Broncos to finish the game strong.
In the end, Ben Motew stood tall stopping 24 of 26, while the Broncos once again outshot the North Stars 50-26.
Humboldt has now defeated the North Stars in three out of four games this season.
With the win, the Broncos remain in second in the SJHL standings with a 26-11-1-0 record.
The two teams will have to wait a while to reconnect, as the final two meetings of the season will take place on March 3rd and 4th.