Sunday, November 02, 2008

Traverse City's streak ends Saturday night

It was bound to happen eventually.

After winning 12 of their first 14 games this season – including the previous nine consecutive contests – the Traverse City North Stars lost a 6-2 decision to Mahoning Valley on Saturday night at Centre ICE arena in the second of a three-game series.

The Phantoms rattled off the first four goals of the contest over the first 12:37 of the first period and the host Stars couldn’t recover, despite outshooting Mahoning by a 35-24 margin. It was TC’s first home loss of the season.

“We did not come out ready to play and they did,” said Stars head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo. “I think we may have come out thinking it was going to be easy, though I have no idea why anyone would think that against a team like Mahoning. That surprised me, but we try not to get too high after wins and too low after losses.”

Down 4-0, the North Stars (12-3) made a bid in the second stanza, halving the deficit on goals by Dean Pawlaczyk and Nate Urbaniak, but couldn’t get any closer. Dan Radke and Eric McLintock assisted on Pawalczyk’s goal, while Kyle Bonis set up Urbaniak’s goal on a pretty give-and-go rush in the Mahoning zone.

The Phantoms, however, made it 5-2 just 1:05 into the third period to blunt any momentum TC had amassed.

With the loss – and Team USA’s rout of Motor City on Saturday – the Stars’ lead in the NAHL North shrunk to five points over the second-place Nationals, and seven over third-place Mahoning.

“If we come out and duplicate our effort tomorrow (Sunday), then I’ll be very disappointed,” Palumbo added. “It’s pretty easy to go out and enjoy winning games, but it’s the bouncing back from games like this that might be a more true measure of a team’s makeup.”

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