Sunday, January 22, 2006

North Stars lose, IceDiggers win at Showcase

The Traverse City North Stars will take a victory – even if it’s in defeat.

After getting pounded by a combined 25-4 margin over the first three days of the North American Hockey League’s four-day North Division Showcase at The Ice Zone near Youngstown, Ohio, the Stars battled first-place Cleveland to a virtual draw before succumbing, 2-1.

“It’s a little bit of positive today,” North Stars head coach/GM Scott Gardiner said. “Just because we lost total team confidence these past two days, so we have to start building that back up and we started that today.”

The North Stars came out of the locker room with some jump, as Joe St. John scored his second goal of the season at the 11:44 mark of the opening stanza to give TC a 1-0 lead they would take into the first intermission. Jake Erway drew the lone assist on the St. John goal, his fourth of 2005-06.

Brett Jendra evened things up for the barons just 1:44 into the second period, and the team’s traded scoring chances until NAHL leading scorer Carter Camper notched the game-winner on the powerplay a mere :44 into the final 20 minutes of play. The Stars, now 12-21-5, outshot the Barons down the stretch 8-6, but Bobby Jarosz kept Cleveland (25-15-4) atop the division with several sterling stops.

Jeremy Kaleniecki (pictured) worked in net for the North Stars, stopping 31 Cleveland attempts, but it was Traverse City’s continued futility on the powerplay that hindered a comeback. In fact, the Stars are a mere 4.65 percent with the man advantage so far in 2006, connecting on just two out of 43 tries.

“I have no answer for that, and to tell you the truth it’s the least of our concern right now," said Gardiner. "We’ll keep working on things in our own end of the ice and work our way forward. Hopefully, we can get the powerplay going by the time march and the playoffs roll around.”

Traverse City will try to get back on track Friday and Saturday at Centre ICE arena with a pair of home games against Mahoning Valley. Both games get underway at 7:30 p.m.


The Alpena IceDiggers salvaged their Showcase experience with a 7-4 win Sunday over the Springfield Jr. Blues.

Seven different Alpena skaters - Todd Rudasill, Drew Pierson, Zach Barron, Earl Hudick, Anthony McIntyre, Eric Roman and captain Nolan Craner - scored in the win, just their seventh of the season.

Chris Lanciano chipped in with two assists for the IceDiggers and Johnny Morrow stopped 40 shots for the victory.

Alpena plays the U.S. National Development Team Friday and Saturday in Ann Arbor and then the first-place Cleveland Barons in Cleveland Sunday afternoon.

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