North Stars clinch playoff spot with shutout win
Traverse City 4 @ Michigan 0 - Eric Jones scored bookend goals on Wednesday evening at Perani Arena in Flint, including what turned out to be the game-winner in the first period, and assisted on a third, leading the Traverse City North Stars to a 4-0 victory over the Michigan Warriors in the teams’ final regular season meeting. The win clinched a playoff berth for Traverse City. Just one playoff berth in the North Division remains.
Jones kicked off the first three-point game of his junior career with a one-time slapshot from a difficult angle, converting the Stars’ odd-man rush 6:01 into the affair. The visitors made it 2-0 at 4:55 of the second period when Seth Adams tipped a Nathan Harris shot into the Warriors net.
Jones collected a pass in the low slot and wristed home his second marker of the evening with 5:33 to play, and Kyle Schempp closed out the scoring with a long-range empty-netter in the waning seconds.
Zach Nagelvoort stopped 28 shots to notch his third shutout of the season, and he improved to 7-4-1 overall. Robert Wiener set up Jones’ initial lamplighter along with Adams, Jones and Harris were credited with helpers on Adams’ sixth of the season, and Jake Peacock and Chris Leibinger assisted on Jones’ second salvo. Schempp’s seeing-eye tally with :10 to go was unassisted.
Brach Tiller got the start for Michigan in goal and made 39 saves.
Traverse City upped its mark to 27-16-6, and climbed to within six points of second-place Kalamazoo in the NAHL North Division standings, while yet retaining three games in-hand.