The Norman Northstars were on the road over the weekend down south to play the Wild, Capitals and Lightning on their last road trip of the 2017/2018 season. The team was down two regular forwards on the trip, Jonathan Saunders and Frederick Ledoux.
The weekend started on a rough note at the BellMTS Iceplex with a game against the Winnipeg Wild. Head coach James Buchanan said before the game that he knew his side was in tough against Winnipeg, especially without Saunders and Ledoux. Alternate captain Mitchell Reid spoke to 102.9 CHTM before the game, and said that going into the game the team had to do all they could to outwork the Wild. Braedin Melsted got the nod between the pipes to start the game, but didn’t last the first period, allowing seven goals in the first 16:22 of the game. Keian Weseen would allow 13 goals over the final 43:38 as the Wild came away with their fourth win of the season over the Northstars by a score of 20-1. Mikey Baron had the lone goal for the Nor-Man side, assisted by captain Jerome Linklater. Kyle Bettens led the way for the Wild with eight points (3G, 5A), while 14 other players had multi-point games.
It was a quick turnaround for the Northstars, who made the short trip to Portage la Prairie the next afternoon for a 4:00pm game against the Central Plains Capitals; a team they have beat this year. Melsted, who started the Saturday game, said that he was ready for the game and wouldn’t let the previous night’s game affect him. The Nor-Man side got out to a fast start by putting Central Plains on their heels, but couldn’t capitalize. At the end of the first frame the Capitals were up 2-0. Coach Buchanan spoke highly of his captain during the first intermission for his work in shutting down the Central Plains Captain, Reilly Funk. Funk has played 20 games this season, while not with the Jr. “A” Portage Terriers, and has 47 points (23G, 24A). He did score in the game, but that was the only time he was noticeable. The Capitals would add four more goals in the game to skate away with a 6-0 victory.
The Northstars wrapped up their road trip in Teulon, MB on Sunday with a matinee against the Interlake Lightning. The team once again got out to a good start, but couldn’t capitalize on their chances, leading to the Lightning breaking the deadlock with four minutes to go in the opening frame. Penalties plagued the Nor-Man side in the second period, as they allowed a goal while shorthanded. Mitchell Reid would answer back for the Northstars with his 18th of the season on a Northstars powerplay, with the assists coming from Linklater and Keistin Saunders. Despite the visitors having the momentum from the goal heading into the third period, Interlake would add four in the third period to finish the 7-1 victory.
Morgan Beauchamp, an “AP” call-up, was with the team over the weekend to help fill the holes left by missing players. Though he didn’t register a point, the coaching staff said they were happy with his play. He has now played five games with the team.
The Northstars will finish off their season at home with two giant challenges. The first is the Winnipeg Thrashers, who are in town this coming weekend for a pair of games. After the Thrashers, the Winnipeg Bruins will be in town for the final games of the season.