40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
North Stars Record: 33-17-0-3
- 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
- 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
- Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
- Battlefords Coop Pregame Show – 4:15
- Puck drop – 4:30
Last game recap: – The North Stars are now 16-1-0-1 in their last 18 games following a 4-1 win over Weyburn last night at Crescent Point Place.
The North Stars and Red Wings had a bit of a feeling out first period with Michael Gudmandson the busier of the two goalies. He was solid making several key saves. His best was a nice glove save in the second period. But the first was when he was at his best.
Moments after getting a shift “off” to regroup, the Cam Blair line had a real solid physical shift that helped set the tone for the second half of the period. It’s not about what happened before that shift that matters. It’s the way that group responded. And respond they did. That’s what I love about this team and this coaching staff. Everything has a purpose and lessons are learned quickly.
The North Stars had a couple good first period penalty kills as that unit continues to play well. They did get beaten later in the game. More on that in a second. In all the first period was pretty even and the Wings should be given a lot of credit for the way they came out and played in that opening period. This is a good young team that showed a lot of speed and physical play tonight.
I felt the Stars could play a lot better in the second period and they certainly did just that. But the period started on a sour note. Latrell Charleson did not return for the second and his night was done. The big 18 year Surrey, BC native has been so good for the Stars this season but they had to soldier on without him. That meant Jake Erickson and Kyle Schmidt played a ton the rest of the way. As did Dillon Forbes as he skated with either Robin Yew or his usual partner Kendall Fransoo.
Ryne Keller opened the scoring after he was initially stopped by a good save from Rylan Parenteau. Just another in a long line of excellent young SJHL goaltenders that have stood out this season. He’s one of the very best and his save off Keller was a very good one. But Keller was able to pop in his own rebound as he was all alone in front. Erickson and McColgan drew assists on the goal.
The Stars got a power play goal from Kyle Schmidt that was credited to Cam Blair. But after the game it was confirmed that Blair didn’t get a piece of the puck and Schmidt will get credit for the goal. It was a power play goal that made it 2-0.
It maybe should have been a bigger lead for the Stars. Kyle Schmidt and Luke McColgan both hit the bar just seconds apart. And they made different sounds. I thought Schmidt scored and I wasn’t alone. But coach Hasselberg thought the second shot went in. He saw the net ripple. Schmidt’s initial shot did come straight back out to McColgan who fired a blast right back on net and his went straight down. Rapid fire, back to back shots off the iron but no goal given. And really there’s not much that can be done in those situations but to buckle down and get on with the game and that’s what the Stars did.
The North Stars juggled the forward lines a little last night as well. In the third period Nick Fountain moved up to play with Blair and Young. Regan Yew moved onto the line with Reich and Greenaway. And that line clicked. Greenaway found Yew with a nice back door feed. With Parenteau diving across the net to try and stop a shot from Yew the puck was fired back across the ice to Reich. He tapped home the great pass from Regan and it was 3-0 North Stars.
The Wings got one on the power play when Colton Laroque fired into the top corner with a screen in front. That goal came moments after Cam Blair was knocked down from behind while trying to clear the puck. Maybe it should have been a penalty and not a goal. And it was 3-1. So what did the North Stars do? They buckled down.
Tanner Quinn helped Brenden Heinrich keep his composure and then Luke McColgan skated away from a confrontation as the Stars showed good discipline. They didn’t want to give the Wings another PP just after they had scored to get within 2.
With 3 minutes left the Wings pulled their goalie in an aggressive attempt to get back in the game. I liked the move but the North Stars made them pay when Ryne Keller hit the post and McColgan followed up to hit the empty net. McColgan ended up with a goal and two assists, a crossbar/maybe goal, and several notable defensive plays. He was the first star and it was well deserved.
The Stars 5 remaining D deserve great credit for their performance as well. And Gudmandson was stellar again. That’s 3 straight wins for the North Stars and in those 3 wins they’ve allowed 3 goals. Martin and Gudmandson. 7 strong D. 14 very good two-way forwards. 8 forwards with 10 or more goals. This is a loaded team.
- Previous Meetings: The North Stars are 5-0 against the Notre Dame Hounds this season. Almost all have been close hard fought games. They met earlier this week with the Stars winning 5-1 but they pulled away in third period. For a long time that game was close and tight and could have gone either way. This is the Stars second trip to Wilcox. Earlier this year they snapped an 8 game losing streak with a 3-2 OT win. Robin Carlson scored for the Stars before Regan Yew tied the game in the third and Reed Delainey scored the winner in extra time.
- Balance: The North Stars have 8 players on their roster who have scored 10 or more goals this season. That’s almost 3 full lines of forwards. They have 3 D men with 5 or more goals. That is a ridiculously balanced lineup that can hit you from all angles.
- Standings: Kindersley won last night beating La Ronge handily. That means, with the Klippers holding the tie breaker, if the North Stars don’t win tonight the Klippers will clinch the division. There was a slight error on the SJHL website which has been corrected. The Klippers own the first tiebreaker so the Norht Stars at the moment still need help from Humboldt. If the Stars win then the Kindersley game against Humboldt would be a very meaningful game for the Kramer Division title. Also, if the North Stars grab a victory tonight they will move into a tie with Melville for 4th in the league. With the Mills holding the tiebreaker there as well.
- Big Ice: The Olympic size ice in Wilcox always makes for an interesting game. It’s not an easy rink to play in for several reasons. The Hounds always work hard and have a dangerous team. There often isn’t much of an atmosphere in the rink. And it’s a different ice size. But the North Stars have traditionally done well there and know what it takes to win.
- Southern Sweep: Battlefords can take all 3 for the second time in the last 3 seasons. They did it 2 years ago as well. It’s not easy to do for a number of reasons. They’ve gone 2-1 a couple times and 2-0-0-1 earlier this season. They’ve done so well on these tough southern trips and once again have a shot at a 3 for 3 sweep.
- Turn Around: The North Stars won here in Wilcox on November 2nd. Including that win their record since that game is 29-5-0-2. 60 of a possible 72 points and a ridiculously good .833 win percentage. The league’s top team is Yorkton with a .708 win percentage this season. It isn’t a fair comparison and I am not saying the North Stars are the best team in the SJHL but……
- Goalies: Darren Martin is 3-0 against Notre Dame this season with just 4 goals against and 85 saves on 89 shots. Michael Gudmandson is 2-0 this season against Notre Dame with 3 goals against and 61 saves on 64 shots. Martin’s GAA versus the Hounds is 1.30 while Goody’s is 1.44.
- Aulie: Sam Aulie is the Hounds top offensive threat with 26 goals in 52 games. Which is a half a goal per game this season. Against the North Stars he has 2 goals in 5 games played and just 3 points. One of those goals, in the most recent game in NB, was a late consolation goal that had no real impact on the game. Aulie and his linemates are very dangerous and the Stars will have to continue to do a good job against them.
- Last game: This is the North Stars last regular season game this season against everyone other than Kindersley. It is the last game that the departing players will play in the SJHL against Notre Dame on the big ice in Wilcox.
- BC: Brett Soles and Will Lightfoot are from Cranbrook BC. Ram Brar is from Surrey. Dion Antisin is from Kelowna. The North Stars have players from Kelowna, Surrey and the Cranbrook area on their team. So it won’t just be the Saskatchewan kids who will be familiar with each other.
- Americans: This game may lead the league in American players. Petrino, McColgan, Erickson and Leonenko for the Stars. Donovan, Cummings, Anderson, and Paris for the Hounds.
Some Keys for the Stars:
1) Between the Dots – The ice in Notre Dame’s arena is the same length as a normal rink. And it’s the same width between the face off dots. The extra ice is around the outside. The North Stars will find success if they play the game the way they usually do. With puck support in close areas. And get the puck to the front of the net and into scoring areas.
2) Zone Exits - On the bigger ice passes to the blueline have to be crisp. Soft passes leave too much to do to get out of the zone before the pressure comes from the forecheck. Turnovers leave teams really stretched as they try and regroup. So exiting the zone as a unit with hard passes is key. Speed in transition is killer on big ice as well. Something both teams have and have to be aware of tonight.
3) Wide rushes: – There is more room on the rush out wide and the angles are tough for the goalies as they are different than usual. Former North Star forward Robin Carlson scored off the rush in Wilcox earlier this season. Speed wide and well placed shots are a weapon to be used tonight.
North Stars Lineup:
Forbes – Fransoo
Erickson – Schmidt
Lacoursiere – Robin Yew
McMillen – McColgan – Keller
Young – Blair – Delainey
Leonenko – Petrino – Heinrich
Regan Yew – Reich – Greenaway
Scratches: Quinn, Charleson, Fountain