The Norman Northstars wrapped up their season over the weekend with a pair of disappointing losses to the expansion Winnipeg Bruins.
The Nor-Man squad was playing with a short bench Friday night, as captain Jerome Linklater, Jonathan Saunders and Frederick Ledoux were out of the lineup. Ryan Monias, who had 17 points (6G, 11A) with the Midget “AA” King Miners this season, made his Northstars debut.
The Winnipeg Bruins came out hard and fast, as they needed just one point to lock up third place in the league heading into the playoffs. Jason Kotchon potted the first of the game less than two minutes in, giving the Bruins the lead. Kyle Lang and Blake Burr would add two more goals for Winnipeg, giving them a 3-0 advantage going into the second. Wheat Kings prospect Wililam Highet added one on the powerplay 1:24 into the second, before Lang added a pair of goals two minutes apart to double the Bruins lead to 6-0. The Northstars would get two back, with Hunter Rambow and Sheldin Howard beating Kolby Thornton. 6-2 was as close as they would come, however, as Lang and Jayson Szun would add two more to make the final 8-2. Szun and Lang finished with five points each, while Burr added four. Tanner Pilon was one of the bright spots for the Northstars, playing as a forward for the first time in his midget “AAA” career. Despite not making a mark on the scoresheet, Pilon had a handful of scoring chances and made his presence known physically in the Bruins’ end.
Saturday saw the debut of two more Midget “AA” King Miners, Riley Locke and Cody Hale. The penalty-filled affair was not better for the Northstars than it was the night before, as they were down 5-0 after the first period. The only real bright spot of the game came near the end of the second period, when Mikey Baron scored his eight goal of the season shorthanded. The third period started with the Bruins up 11-1, and they’d add five more in the final frame for a final score of 16-1. Szun would finished the night with seven points, Luc Massé with six, and Lang and Devin Bulloch with five a piece. Northstars alternate captain Mitchell Reid finished the game with 23 PIMS, while Jamie Valentino had 15.
The Norman Northstars finished the season with a record of 4-43-0-0-1. The Northstars will say goodbye to five players as they are aging out of midget hockey; Linklater, Reid, Pilon, Jon Tagoona and goaltender Keian Weseen.
The Pas, MB native and OCN Blizzard prospect Hunter Rambow, who wore the captain’s “C” in the final two games, finished the season as the team leader in points with 36 (12G, 24A).