Sunday, December 18, 2005

TC downed by Barons, 5-1, on Sunday

The good news: The Traverse City North Stars drew first blood on Sunday at Centre ICE arena.

The bad news: The visiting Cleveland Barons scored the next five.

Matt Larke (left) gave the host Stars a 1-0 edge just 7:58 into Sunday’s matinee on assists from Jonathan Juliano and Ryan Bond, but the Barons’ answer – with just 1.9 seconds left in the first period off the stick of Jeremy Tejchma – started an avalanche of Cleveland tallies.

The game started to go the Barons’ way in earnest at 11:30 of the second stanza when Josh Leonard scored his first of two goals. Traverse City’s Travis Paeth had been whistled for elbowing on what appeared to be a clean – and decisive – body check a mere 46 seconds prior to the power play score.

“That turned the game right there,” assessed North Stars coach Scott Gardiner. “It was a good hit, but they called the elbow. I thought we actually outplayed them, but we didn’t get good goaltending, and we didn’t convert on our scoring chances.”

Those scoring chances included a penalty shot by Traverse City forward Adam Sponseller, but Barons goaltender Kenny Reiter was up to the challenge.

Eric Rex made it a 3-1 affair at 13:00 of the second, while John Kennedy and Leonard piled on with third period goals to make the final margin four goals.

Jeremy Kaleniecki and Ryan Donovan split time in goal for the North Stars (10-15-4), stopping 21 of the 26 shots they faced collectively. Reiter righted himself after the first period goal, and made 27 saves in 28 chances.

“We matched their intensity, their skating, and their play for most of the game,” Gardiner said. “But you can’t score just one goal and expect to win the game.”

The Stars will enjoy a Christmas break until Jan. 7, when they’ll travel to Mahoning Valley to face the Phantoms. The next home contest isn’t until Jan. 27, when the Phantoms visit Centre ICE arena.

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