Traverse City Record-Eagle

March 26, 2012

Stars top Hitmen; last series on tap

FROM STAFF REPORTS
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CHICAGO — The Traverse City North Stars will return on a winning note after a 3-1 victory Saturday night over Chicago.

Chris Leibinger and Mitch Snider each had a goal and an assist in the victory.

Will Badner added a goal, and Conor Durgan and Kyle Froese also had helpers.

Zach Nagelvoort made 25 saves on 26 Chicago shots as he and the North Stars held the Hitmen to 0-for-6 on the power play.

With a three-game homestand remaining with Jamestown, the Stars (31-20-6) have locked up the third spot in the North Division. But their first-round playoff opponent isn't as clear as it seemed just a week or two ago when it seemed a given that Traverse City and Kalamazoo would face off to start the postseason.

Since then, the K-Wings have surged enough and Port Huron has limped to the finish line enough that this weekend's home-and-home series between the Fighting Falcons and K-Wings will determine who wins the division and draws fourth-place Michigan to start off. The runner-up will face Traverse City.

Most of the remainder of the NAHL is fairly set, although there is some jockeying for position to be done in the final weekend, and there are two playoff spots up for grabs. Odessa and Corpus Christi are dead even in the running for the one South Division spot left, and Fresno and Kenai River are separated by just two points going into the decisive final regular-season weekend.