Six combined powerplay goals narrated the story of the Battlefords North Stars 5-4 victory over the Humboldt Broncos on Friday night.

With just three points separating the two Nutrien Division rivals, the two clubs embarked on the front half of a home-and-home weekend set in the Battlefords on Friday night.

The pair had split their previous two games back in October with identical 2-1 shootout victories for the visiting teams, setting the scene of a closely contested series.

Unfortunately for the Broncos, the North Stars were awarded 7 powerplays to the Broncos 3, and while the goals came for both sides, the additional time swayed momentum in the North Stars favour in the more crucial chapter of the tale.

All three goals in the first period came on the man-advantage. Broncos’ captain, Cage Newans, scored his 17th goal of the season and 11th on the powerplay for a 1-0 lead. Brayden Sinclair located a rebound and tucked home the game-tying goal, and Spencer Bell added his 25th goal of the year to give the Broncos a 2-1 lead heading into the second frame.

Ben Portner, who finished the night with an impressive 5 points, getting involved on all 5 of the North Stars goals, scored the only goal in the second frame.

Penalties, regardless of if the Broncos were in agreement with the calls made on the ice, were the difference-maker in the final frame.

After Dylan Nazareth scored his 4th of the year on a beautiful net front drive to regain the Broncos one-goal lead, back-to-back powerplay markers by Kian Bell (25th and 26th), slid all the momentum back in favour of the home side.

Porter solidified his game, scoring his second goal and 16th of the season to add insurance and a 5-3 lead.

The North Stars were awarded 5 straight powerplays from the 11-minute mark of the first until the 17:50-minute mark of the third. The Broncos got one final call their way and added their third PP goal, finishing perfect 3/3 on the mad advantage. Spencer Bell got credit with his 26th.

Pressing in the final minute, Humboldt was unable to find the equalizer, resulting in a 5-4 Battlefords victory who now take the 2-1 lead in the 6-game season series.

With the win, the Broncos fall 5 points back of the North Stars for 2nd place in the SJHL.