The Northstar Knights’ inaugural season for the 15U/16U team at the academy got off to a good start this past weekend after 4-3 and 7-5 wins against Team North Dakota.
The Knights used a big stretch in the second period on Sunday to secure that two-goal win. It was tied early in the frame, but Nathan Huntington got a shorthanded goal that put Northstar up by one. That was the start of four unanswered for the Knights as Dawson McCann, Josh Oswald and Adler Johnston made it 7-3 heading into the third. North Dakota got two goals in that final frame, but it was too little, too late.
John Simon got the win in net for Northstar with 22 saves on 27 shots.
Johnston had two goals in the game, and Kaleb Pitman and Caleb Elfering added first-period goals as well. Briggs Orr set teammates up with three assists, and Alexandria native Brayden Berg had two assists.
Saturday was another close game that Northstar found a way to close out. The Knights trailed 3-2 in the third period before back-to-back goals from Garin Cernich and Anthony McIntosh. Nate Farrell scored the first goal in team history in the first period on a shot from the point, and Berg made it a 2-0 game on a power-play goal in the second period.
North Dakota rallied for two late goals in that middle frame and another in the early third, but CJ Kier stood tall from there in goal. He got the win with 25 saves on 28 shots faced.
The Knights will be back in action this coming weekend when they go to Blaine for the North American Prep Hockey League Showcase.
18U team splits with North Dakota
Northstar’s 18U prep team also played Team North Dakota to open its season over the weekend and the 18Us split the series after winning 6-3 on Saturday and falling 5-4 on Sunday.
North Dakota scored the first three goals in the finale to help secure the win. Reese Laubach and Alexandria native Joe Westlund made the game close with second-period goals that made it 3-2, but North Dakota answered with a goal in that middle frame.
That proved to be important as Anthony Menghini scored 30 seconds later for Northstar and Jacob Napier added a goal quickly after that to tie it. After letting the lead slip away, North Dakota got the all-important goal early in the third period on what turned out to be the game winner. Logan Verpoort stopped 21 shots for the Knights in the loss.
Northstar again had to rally during Saturday’s opener, but this time the Knights completed the comeback for a 6-3 win.
North Dakota led 1-0 with a shorthanded goal in the opening period before Cody Croal got on a breakaway and tied it up. KJ Hjelm and Owen Hanson were the next two Knights to find the back of the net as they gave their team a 3-2 advantage.
North Dakota scored a third-period goal, but two goals from Blaise Miller added insurance to secure the win for the Knights.
Chris Brown saved 23 of the 26 shots he faced, while Kade Peterson had three assists. Jeremy McDonald, Wes Griffin, Menghini and Tyler Johnson all added assists, as well.
The Knights will be at the NAPHL Showcase in Blaine this weekend, starting with a Friday morning game against TRC Academy.