“We’ve got to make sure we play five-on-five,” said Richardson Pioneer Weyburn Red Wings head coach Cody Mapes after Wednesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Battlefords North Stars. “We’re pretty good when we do that, we just got to make sure we don’t give teams like this chances when they’re going to get chances on their own.”
The loss closed out a two-game, two-night trip to North Battleford where the Red Wings kept pace throughout the night against the North Stars. The games just came down to small mistakes, miscues and bounces.
Red Wings netminder Dazza Mitchell, playing back-to-back games for the first time since before December, turned aside 31 of the 35 shots that he faced. His efforts in goal weren’t overlooked by Mapes. Neither was the power play, which has been one of the best on the road in the SJHL.
“Goaltending was good for two games, gave us a chance in both,” Mapes said. “Good to see the power play get rewarded here. The guys have been working hard and they finally bang one in.”
The North Stars opened the scoring at the 9:25 mark of the first period when Steven Kesslering came in with Dylan Esau on a shorthanded rush. Kesslering would bury the feed from Esau to make it 1-0. Then, on the power play with 35 seconds left in the first, Sam Witt would score on a hard shot from the point that just got over the shoulder of Mitchell, making it 2-0.
The second period saw the two teams exchange opportunities with a high pace of play for 20 minutes. Both goaltenders made great saves to preserve the score where it was.
The work of the Red Wings paid off early in the second period. The puck was initially fired on goal by Matthew Reidy, then Blake Norris got it on his stick. He passed it to Kirk Mullen who was parked on the side of the net and he would beat Lowen Kenyon at 6:29 of the third to make it 2-1.
The power play goal was Mullen’s eighth tally of the season.
The North Stars, though, were determined to expand the lead, and they would when Esau scored his third goal in two nights against the Red Wings with 6:28 left on the clock. Then, Tanner Gold scored a goal for the North Stars to put the game completely out of reach with 3:54 remaining.
The Red Wings will now get set for a pair of home games against the Yorkton Terriers. The first will be Saturday night, then the Terriers come back on Tuesday.