Saturday, January 21, 2006

Traverse City beaten again Saturday

The North American Hockey League’s North Division Showcase is quickly becoming an event to forget for the Traverse City North Stars.

After 7-3 and 10-0 losses at the hands of the Team USA Under-18s, the Stars absorbed an 8-1 lambasting to Cleveland on Saturday on the third day of the Showcase at The Ice Zone near Youngstown, Ohio.

Forward Carter Camper (pictured), the NAHL’s leading scorer with 65 points in 42 outings and also a former HoneyBaked midget player, added a pair of goals and assisted on two other to lead the Barons back into first place in the North Division at 24-15-4. Brett Jendra scored twice for Cleveland, while Tomas Petruska chipped in with a goal and two helpers.

“We’re really struggling with our confidence right now,” North Stars head coach/GM Scott Gardiner said. “(Friday) night’s game (a 10-0 loss to USA-18) really, really hurt us. Coach (Mike) Stapleton and I are really at a loss right now. We were outshot by one and lose 8-1. It makes no sense. It’s all mental right now.”

Patrick Nagorsen scored the lone goal for the North Stars (12-20-5), but not until early in the third period with the Barons already enjoying a 4-0 bulge. Jonathan Juliano and Brett Englebright assisted. Whatever momentum Traverse City had built on Nagorsen’s team-leading 12th tally of the season lasted exactly 16 seconds before Nick Kosinski restored Cleveland’s four-goal cushion.

Jeremy Kaleniecki took the loss for Traverse City, permitting eight goals on 33 shots. Kenny Reiter won his 11th start for the barons, making 31 saves.

The teams face off again on Sunday in a 10 a.m. affair. Gardiner says that despite a 25-4 goal differential thus far, the final game of the four-day event will be telling.

“We have to stay with it and keep working hard and good things will come,” he insisted. “We still have one more game and we have to try to shake this off. We have to get ourselves out of this.”

The Stars return to Centre ICE arena next Friday for a two-game homestand against Mahoning Valley.

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