Kam River Fighting Walleye vs Battlefords North Stars

The North Stars are the first team to earn a victory at the Centennial Cup tournament. The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Champions defeated the Fighting Walleye 4-1 in a game Battlefords outshot their opponents 40-24.

Emmett Wurst took a hooking penalty near the halfway point of the first period, which put Kam River on a power-play. The man advantage didn't go how the Fighting Walleye expected, as the North Stars were the ones to capitalize, just 11 seconds into their penalty-kill. Steven Kessler picked up the tournament's first goal and set the tone for the rest of the game.

A late goal from Jackson Allen made it 2-0 after the first period, with Battlefords outshooting Kam River 15-4.

Jeremy Dunmore trimmed the lead in half in the second but Tanner Gold responded at the end of the frame, entering the break with a two-goal lead once again.

Kam River put the pressure on early in the third period but thanks to some big saves from Josh Kotai, and a third-period demoralizer from Colby Bear, Battlefords skated away with a 4-1 win.

Peguis product Colby Bear says, despite the win, the North Stars can play much better than they did today.

"We were pretty rusty. Obviously, you're going to have a little bit of rust after a couple of weeks not playing a game," Bear explains. "We expected that coming into this first game. We just had to find our feet in the first and just tried our best to find our game again. This boosts our confidence, for sure."

Battlefords and Kam River will be back in action on Saturday. The North Stars will take on the Collingwood Blues at 11:30, and the Fighting Walleye will face off with the Portage Terriers at 7:30.

Portage's own Riley Borody in action against Battlefords.Portage's own Riley Borody in action against Battlefords.


Yarmouth Mariners vs Brooks Bandits

The defending Centennial Cup Champions took care of business in their first game of this year's tournament as the Bandits downed the Mariners 7-2. 

Elliot Dutil scored the first two goals of the game for Brooks, and in the final minute of the first, the Bandits added two more to their total. They went into intermission with a 4-1 lead. 

Ethan Beyer scored his second of the game for Brooks just past the halfway mark of the game but Michael Marquez responded for Yarmouth a minute later. That was as close as the Mariners would make it, as Brooks dominated the third period, getting goals from Tyler Blocha and Oak Lake's own Hunter Wallace to secure the 7-2 win. 

Brandon product Hughie Hooker says the experience the Bandits have in this tournament played a large part in the hot start.

"It's definitely a huge benefit. We have a lot of returning guys that can help our younger guys get accustomed to all of this. I think that plays a big part."

The Yarmouth Mariners will look to get back on track today at 3:30 as they face off with the Timmins Rock. The Brooks Bandits return to the ice tomorrow afternoon against the Ottawa Jr. Senators.

Ben Roode makes a move around Caelan Fitzpatrick.Ben Roode makes a move around Caelan Fitzpatrick.


Collingwood Blues vs Steinbach Pistons

Day one saved the best for last as the Blues won a nailbiter over the Pistons 2-1 in overtime. 

Both offences were held in check in the first period as Steinbach had nine shots to Collingwood's five, and neither team was able to tickle the twine. 

The first goal of the game didn't come until six minutes into the second period when Mark McIntosh beat Dominik Wasik and gave the Blues the first lead of the contest. However, it wouldn't last long. Less than three minutes later, Ian Amsbaugh got one right back.

The third period was another scoreless one but Pistons' defenceman Langley Kruggel took a four-minute kneeing penalty with a minute and a half left in regulation. Collingwood started overtime with a two-and-a-half minute power-play but was unable to capitalize. 

Unfortunately for Steinbach, just 15 seconds after the penalty to Kruggel expired, Parker Jasper was sent to the box for tripping. The Pistons killed off more than half of the power-play but Robert Strachan eventually made them pay and helped the Blues end the night in the win column.

The Pistons hope to redeem themselves tonight at 7:30 when they take on a familiar foe, the Portage Terriers. Collingwood's next contest is set for tomorrow morning against the Battlefords North Stars.

Kirk Mullen making a hit.Kirk Mullen making a check.

The second day of the round-robin begins today at 11:30 a.m. as the Ottawa Jr. Senators take on Cobras de Terrebonne.