May 4, 2017
by Trevor Miller
Penticton, BC – The Battlefords North Stars got a must win, and their first of the Western Canada Cup tournament Thursday afternoon against the Chilliwack Chiefs in a 3-0 decision at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
The Chiefs, who already had secured a spot in the final Saturday, scratched a number of players for the game, and started 16 year old Mathieu Caron between the pipes.
North Stars veteran 20 year old Layne Young scored twice in what he hoped would not be his last Junior ‘A’ hockey game while 17-year-old Joel Gryzbowski stopped all 22 shots he faced to keep the North Stars season alive for at least a few more hours.
Battlefords opened the scoring in the late stages of the opening period off a nice deflection in the high slot from Layne Young, tipping home a Cody Spagarud slap pass off the stick at the 17:03 mark.
The goal beat Chiefs goaltender Mathieu Caron, a 16-year-old AP who got the start.
That was the only scoring in the first period as well as holding up as the only marker through 40 minutes as Battlefords pressed in the middle stanza but were stonewalled by the young AP netminder of the Chiefs, including a big save midway through the period on Coby Downs.
Chilliwack pushed for a tying goal throughout the third period, outshooting the North Stars by a 7-0 margin at one point, but Gryzbowski was up to the task, keeping the slim 1-0 lead intact for the SJHL champions.
The North Stars extended their lead to two goals on a Keaton Holinaty wrist shot from the high slot that eat Caron over the glove side with just 2:26 to play in regulation. It was Holinaty’s third goal of the tourney.
Layne Young then finished it on an empty netter with 38 seconds left.
The win kept the North Stars playoff hopes alive in search of a spot in the 3rd vs. 4th place game on Saturday afternoon.
With Penticton’s win later that evening, the Battlefords are moving onto Saturday’s action, to face the Vees in the 3rd vs. 4th place contest at 2:00 PM PST.
All Western Canada Cup contests will be streamed live online, or on demand, at HockeyTV.com.