North Stars trounce BismarckThe Traverse City North Stars didn't wait long to get thi
The Traverse City North Stars didn't wait long to get things going on Saturday in the team's NAHL Showcase finale against Bismarck, scoring four goals in the first 17 minutes of action and cruising to a 4-1 win over the Bobcats at Schwan Super Rink in suburban Minneapolis.
Drew Strandberg (Thunder Bay, ONT/Thunder Bay SIJHL) was nearly impenetrable between the pipes for the Stars, winning his third game of the season with 27 saves in 28 chances. Strandberg, who earned his first shutout victory on Wednesday against previously-unbeaten Alaska, reduced his goals-against average to 2.00 while pumping his save percentage to .909 through four starts.
Andy Huff (Howell, MI/Honeybaked) registered his team-best fifth goal of the young season, lighting up the scoreboard a mere 1:15 into the contest, followed by a Sean Burke (Traverse City, MI/TC North Stars) tally at 4:07. Josh Miller (Trenton, MI/TC North Stars) made it 3-0 near the halfway point of the opening period (10:10), and Eric Rivard (Traverse City, MI/TC West HS) logged his first junior goal to close out the TC scoring with 2:45 left before the first intermission. The North Stars outshot Bismarck by a 16-8 margin through 20 minutes of play, chasing starting Bobcats netkeep Ryan Faragher. Bismarck dropped in a late goal with the issue not in much doubt.
Six Traverse City players drew assists in the initial offensive flurry, including Burke, Bo Jacobs, Dan Radke, Tim Opie, Eric McLintock, and Kelin Ainsworth. Jacobs finished the game at plus-3, and helped the Traverse City defensive corps kill off a two-man disadvantage for over a minute late in the second frame.
Traverse City, now 4-2-0 overall, won three out of four at the annual Showcase for the second year in a row. The North Stars will have some time off before getting back to NAHL North Division action on Sept. 26 at Motor City. The club opens its Centre ICE schedule on Monday, Sept. 28 and Tuesday, Sept. 29 against West Division foe Wenatchee (Wa.)