Saturday, February 04, 2006

Lewicki leads Texarkana past North Stars

A rough-and-tumble road trip – and Aaron Lewicki – caught up with the Traverse City North Stars on Friday night at the Four States Entertainment Center. The Stars were caught flat-footed by a high-octane Texarkana offense and were saddled with an 8-2 loss helped along by Lewicki’s hat trick.

Traverse City dropped the third of its four-game Texas road trip, which winds up on Saturday night near Dallas against the North American Hockey League champion Tornado.

“We just flat ran out of gas,” admitted North Stars head coach/GM Scott Gardiner. “We just didn’t have it. We had two hard games in a row and it really took a toll on us. We knew this trip was going to be tough, and it has lived up to that.”

The host Bandits (28-10-2) sprinted to an 8-0 lead behind the stellar goalkeeping of Riley Gill, who recently signed with Division I Western Michigan, and six different goal scorers: Pat Knowlton (3:25), Pat Maroon (14:56) and Lewicki (17:52) in the first period, and Casey Haines (:29), Anthony Becker (7:21) and Lewicki (16:13) in the second.

Lewicki (pictured), from Livonia, finished off the hat to open the third period (2:28) and Mike Leone made it an eight-goal rout 28 seconds later. Travis Paeth got the North Stars on the board with seven minutes to play, and Sal Ragusa capped the scoring with :37 left. Ryan Reid and Jonathan Juliano assisted on the Paeth goal, while Ragusa’s tally was unassisted.

Gill stopped 25 of the 27 shots he faced, while Ryan Donovan (17 saves on 21 shots) and Jeremy Kaleniecki (24 shots faced, 20 saves) split time in net for Traverse City (13-24-5). Donovan was tagged with the loss despite working just one period and 30 seconds of another. The teams combined for 22 penalties totaling 68 minutes.

“We sort of limped into this one,” Gardiner added. “It’ll be nice to get some of our injured guys back like Joe Schweiger (shoulder) and Ryan Bond (concussion) when we get home, but it would be nice if we could go back to Texas and get two points out of this before we leave.”

Traverse City returns to Centre ICE next weekend for a Friday-Saturday tilt with Mahoning Valley following Saturday’s rematch with the Tornado.

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