Player Links

Here is the North Stars roster. Click on their names to go their elite hockey prospects page for more information and stats.

9 – Matt Saharchuk
10 – Rusty Axtman
11 – Nick Fountain
12 – Logan Nachtegaele
14 – Jackson Bond
15 – Adam Smith
17 – Regan Yew
18 – Brenden Heinrich
19 – Ryne Keller
20 – Reid Delainey
21 – Kurtis Redding
22 – Jordan Townsend
23 – Brady O’Sullivan
24 – Jake McMillen
25 – Igor Leonenko
27 – Baxter Kanter
29 – Matthew Havens

2 – Curtis McKinlay
3 – Connor Sych
4 – Michael Statchuk
5 – Brock Weston
6 – Kendall Fransoo
7 – Robin Yew
8 – Connor Vermeulen
16 – Jake Erickson

1 – Spencer Tremblay
35 – Ryan Rewerts

Kick Off Breaktfast

The North Stars hosted their kick off breakfast this morning at the Civic Center.

The new staff members and the new look team were introduced to fans and sponsors. The Stars are carrying a few more players than I was expecting and assistant coach and GM Taurean White said that they have a very good group of players and look to have put together a very good team. They are going to be patient and make sure they have the right mix of players. So there are 27 players currently on the roaster.

There are a couple of interesting notes here. First of all this is a team with a real nice mix of size, speed and skill. The D is a very talented looking group with 8 guys who can really play. Spencer Trambley and Ryan Rewerts were both excellent in goal in the preseason. And up front the Stars have a lot of depth.

This year’s team is also very “local”. Robin and Regan Yew have been playing hockey in this community for a number of years. Connor Vermeulen has family in the area and his uncle played for the Stars. Rewerts, Keller, Weston and Delainey are from the surrounding areas. Sych, Fransoo, Nachtegaele are all from North Battleford.

There are only 10 returning players on the team but in total 16 who played Junior A last season. 18 have at least some Junior A experience. And there are 8 American players. The new import rules mean that all Canadian players are not imports and all out of country players are counted as imports. Even is they have played in the league before. I believe 6 imports are allowed in a team’s lineup. So there will be a battle to get on the ice with the depth this team has and because of those rules.

All in all based on what I saw in the preseason there are no real surprises here. This looks to me like a team that, at least on paper so far, can be very strong.

# Player Position Shoots Height Weight DOB Home town 2013-14 Regular Season
9 Matthew Saharchuk LW L 6’2″ 200 May 7, 1995 Fort St. James , BC Game by Game report
10 Rusty Axtman RW R 6’0″ 180 Maplewood , USA Game by Game report
11 Nick Fountain LW L 6’1 190 Jun 17, 1994 Wainwright, AB Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
12 Logan Nachtegaele LW L 6’0″ 190 Nov 21, 1996 North Battleford, SK Game by Game report
14 Jackson Bond C R 5’6″ 145 Apr 13, 1996 Roseville, USA Game by Game report
15 Adam Smith RW R 6’2″ 220 Jul 15, 1994 Nanaimo, BC Game by Game report
17 Regan Yew LW L 6’1 195 Nov 8, 1995 Ile-a la-Crosse, SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
18 Brenden Heinrich RW R 6’0 180 Dec 3, 1994 Kimberley, BC Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
19 Ryne Keller C R 5’9 165 Oct 25, 1994 Wilkie , SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
20 Reed Delainey C R 6’1 165 Jul 23, 1996 Edam, SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
21 Kurtis Redding C R 5’10” 155 Mar 25, 1995 Spokane , USA Game by Game report
22 Jordan Townsend LW L 5’11” 175 Jan 27, 1995 Cedar Hills , USA Game by Game report
23 Brady O’Sullivan RW R 5’10 165 Oakdale , USA Game by Game report
24 Jake McMillen C L 6’0 150 Sep 19, 1995 Carievale, SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
25 Igor Leonenko RW L 6’4 230 Feb 8, 1995 Santa Cruz , USA Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
27 Baxter Kanter C L 6’2″ 195 Jul 20, 1995 Lincoln , USA Game by Game report
29 Matthew Havens LW L 5’7″ 155 St. Albert , AB Game by Game report
Defencemen
# Player Position Shoots Height Weight DOB Home town 2013-14 Regular Season
2 Curtis McKinlay D L 5’9″ 150 Apr 15, 1996 Provost , AB Game by Game report
3 Connor Sych D R 6’4 190 Jan 22, 1997 North Battleford , SK Game by Game report
4 Michael Statchuk D L 5’11 200 Apr 4, 1994 Wadena , SK Game by Game report
5 Brock Weston D R 6’0″ 195 Mar 19, 1995 Maidstone, SK Game by Game report
6 Kendall Fransoo D L 6’1 175 Jun 1, 1996 North Battleford, SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
7 Robin Yew D L 6’0 175 Nov 8, 1995 Ile-a la-Crosse, SK Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
8 Connor Vermeulen D R 6’2″ 195 Jun 15, 1996 Medicine Hat , AB Game by Game report
16 Jake Erickson D L 5’9 175 Nov 3, 1994 Grant , USA Battlefords North Stars Game by Game report
Goalies
# Player Position Catches Height Weight DOB Home town 2013-14 Regular Season
1 Spencer Tremblay G L 6’2 185 Sep 24, 1994 Winnipeg, MB Game by Game report
35 Ryan Rewerts G L 6’2 190 Jan 30, 1996 Cutknife, SK Battlefords North Stars

New Season brings new sponsor

The 2014-2015 season is days away from beginning which means that excitement in the Battlefords is ramping up. The North Stars host their kick-off breakfast tomorrow morning at the Civic Center. The team then hosts the Kindersley Klippers at the Civic Center on Friday night.

The Stars had a strong preseason and despite a lot of turnover from last year’s team look to have a strong group once again this season.

Friday’s game will also feature a banner raising/unveiling as well as a moment of silence for a long time North Stars fan. It should be an exciting, emotional and fun start to the season. With the first game of the regular season comes the first broadcast of the game on CJNB/CJNS 1050AM in the Battlefords and 102.3FM in Meadow Lake as well as online at http://www.cjnb.com

The reason I am able to broadcast hockey games for a living, and the reason I get to do all regular season games home and away, is because of the North Stars great fans and the sponsors here in the community who support the team and the radio station. This year will see some new sponsors and some new features.

Once again NorSask Farm Equipment is the game day sponsor. UltraPrint is the new sponsor of the pregame show which starts 15 minutes prior to puck drop. 2 for 1 Family Pizza is once again on board as the power play contest sponsor. If you get your name in prior to the game you can win one medium pizza for every power play goal the Stars score during that game.

Sanberg Colision is now on board and will sponsor the North Stars Collision of the game. And Canadian Tire will bring us the 3 Stars of the game in the post game show. North Battleford Hyundai has joined as well and will sponsor the Coach’s Show during the pre- and post-game segments.

When we are on the road tune in and enjoy the game. When the Stars are at home bring a radio with you to the Civic Center and make sure you put the post-game show on in your car on your way home to find out the Canadian Tire 3 Stars and to hear what the coach thought of the game thanks to North Battleford Hyundai.

There are other sponsors who help bring the game to the airwaves. You will hear their commercials during the games. Please support those businesses when you can, and all local businesses, as they are a big part of this community.

Our other great sponsors include Rainbow Toyota, Phoenix Source for Sports, Innovation Credit Union, Valley Ford, Taco time, Bridges Chev Buick GM.

The North Stars kickoff breakfast is tomorrow morning and I will have more on the team and the upcoming season after breakfast.

North Stars welcome Humboldt

The Stars host the Humboldt Broncos tonight here at the Civic Center. The North Stars are 1-1 so far in preseason action not including their rookie game win over Kindersley. This is the Broncos first preseason tilt. These same two teams will go head to head tomorrow night.

 

The Stars are a little banged up right now with a few veteran players dealing with injuries. Here is tonight’s lineup.

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I will have updates right here throughout the game. So keep refreshing the screen or check back in frequently to stay up to date on tonight’s contest.

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1-0 North Stars – Stars came out a little slow first shift but then took over. Relatively young team but they’ve played a few games Broncos look like they are adjusting. Plenty of early power play time for both teams. Stars score short handed with Fransoo in the box. Jackson Bond on the rush gets it in front. Great work from Rusty Axtman to find the lose puck and beat Humboldt’s goalie.

 2-0 Stars – 7:46 left in first. Shots are 14-4 Stars. Jordan Townsend just slipped a check along the wall then walked into the face off circle and beat Quentin Abrams with a snap shot far post, glove side. Perfectly placed shot.

6:57 left in 1st. Big hit from Robin Yew in nuetral zone. Broncos find lose puck though and Tremblay makes his first real good save of the game.

6:19 – Another good save from Tremblay then stops a deflection that didn’t have much pace to it. Pushing and shoving in front. Sych into it with Lund.

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5:45 left – Another good rush up the off wing for Townsend. This time his low shot to the far pad is stopped. Stars just missed the rebound before it was cleared.

5:15 left in first and the Stars are short handed again. Otto Mitchell off for slashing.

2-1 North Stars – Broncos get one back on the power play. Deflection in front on their 10th shot of the game. Just 3 seconds let in PP when the puck went in. Greg Moro with the goal for Humboldt.

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That’s just the second goal Tremblay has allowed so far in the preseason. One was a 2-0 where he made the first save but couldn’t get the rebound. That was a deflection on a power play. He’s been really good so far.

36 seconds left in first – Bond for the Stars off for slashing. Broncos Connor Scott off for cross checking. 4 on 4 to end the period and start the second.

9.4 seconds left Goal. 3-1 North Stars. Connor Sych steps into the puck in the high slot and blasts it past Abrams. Stars take a 3-1 lead into the second period.

Humboldt looked at times like a team that was playing it’s first exhibition game of the season. Stars a half step quicker. See if the Broncos can adjust in the second. Shots after 1 are 22-11 North Stars.

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Stars come out strong in second period and jump out to a three goal lead.

4-1 North Stars – Nick Fountain great work along the wall. Finds Rusty Axtman behind the net. His quick feed out front finds Otto Mitchell and he finds the back of the net.

14:40 left in second – Stars short handed. Redding to the box.

13:12 – Back door feed almost finds Michael Korol, who plays midget in town with the AAA Stars, but he misses the target. Partially fanned on his one timer. Broncos still on the PP.

12:30 left in second – Redding out of the box. His line with Townsend and Nachtegaele has looked good.

12:11 left – Stars to the power play. Chance in the slot for Holinaty. Slashed as he tried to shoot.

Another line that has looked good. O’Sullivan, Saharchuk and Bond start the PP.

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11:26 left – Stars power play buzzing. Delayed penalty coming. Couldn’t score. But now have 1:16 on 5 on 3 time.

10:20 left in second – Chance after chance for the Stars but Abrams some how keeps them at bay. First penalty over. Stars still on the PP.

9:30 left – Great PK from the Broncos tying the puck up in the corner. Looks like they’ll survive that 5 on 3 but the Stars had chances to extend the lead.

Goal 5 -1. Just after PP expired. Kendall Fransoo from the point. Cubbon and Holinaty draw assists.

8:12 left – Want a good shift after a goal. Send out Redding, Townsend and Nachtegaele. Each guy with a hit. Redding with more than one.

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5:44 left – Looks like Tremblay is going to get the whole game. Still in net. Still looking really sharp. Shots are 34-18 North Stars. Tremblay with 17 saves so far.

4:33 left – One of those “how did that not go in” moments. Saharchuk, Bond and O’Sullivan create a chance. Puck bouncing around the  slot goalie all over the place. Puck stays out.

1:24 remaining in second – Stars with a couple good shifts back to back. First Saharchuk’s group then Mitchell’s. Shots 39-21. Score is still 5-1 North Stars late in second.

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End of the second period.

5-1 North Stars with the shots now 39-23 Stars. Lots of guys having strong games so far. Ryne Keller filling in on D always fits right in. Great versatility that he brings to the Stars. Offense from unlikely sources? Fransoo and Sych both with goals. The Stars got plenty of offence from the D last season. That’s always a bonus that teams don’t necessarily bank on. Lots of guys who may be on the “bubble” for lack of a better expression are having good games. The battles for spots in various roles is heating up.

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10 seconds into the third and some fireworks. Bronco forward dumps Connor Sych into his own goalie. Kendall Fransoo did not like it. Guys pair off. Looks like Fransoo and Lund in the box. Fransoo now escorted down the tunnel. 5 minute major on the board to Fransoo. Lund gets 2. So 4 on 4 for 2 minutes then Broncos get 3 minutes of PP time. Redding and  Korol also in the box.

18:34 left in third – Sych off for roughing. Broncos 4 on 3 PP then brief 5 on 3. Then more power play time. Refs trying to get through every power play scenario tonight? Maybe call less penalties? Just a thought.

17:35 left – Good save. No rebound. Tremblay again sharp. 1:02 left in 5 on 3. If Stars kill Sych penalty the Broncos will still have over a minute and a half of power play time to go. Doing all of this without Fransoo and Sych. Keller playing D. Big test for the Stars here.

16:33 left – Sych out of the  box. Still Broncos on the PP. Stars need a whistle. 3 D on ice. Keller, McKinlay and Saharchuk out forever.

16:16 – Stars can’t clear. Goal. Broncos make it 5-2. Still on the PP for 1:27.

14:20 left  in third – Finally back to 5 on 5. Broncos got 1 but Stars PK pretty good all things considered.

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13:38 left in final frame – Stars buzzing. Several saves from Hargreave. Vermeulen a good hold and shot. Shots evening up a little though. 45-31 Stars. Those powerp lays helped Humboldt get a lot of shots.

10:09 left – Fountain sets up Axtman but he misses. Then Robin Yew blasts a loose puck just wide.

8:21 left in 3rd – Nice chip from McKinlay almost sends in Mitchell. He’s hooked. Stars to the power play.

6:58 – Great set up from Bond. Finds Townsend with a drop pass. Shot was saved.

6:27 – Bond tripped at the blue line. Looked like another soft one. Stars get 7 seconds on 5 on 3.

5:29 left – Fountain looking sharp on the PP but can’t score.

4:27 – Stars don’t score on either power play. But still lead by 3 with under 5 to go.

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Goal 6-2. - Logan Nachtegaele off the rush beats the Bronco goalie over the shoulder. Robin Yew with the lone assist.

Good shift late from Cubbon, Holinaty and Regan Yew.

Late penalty to Redding. Couple minutes for charging. Just 8.4 seconds left though.

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Another strong effort from the North Stars. Lots to like so far in this game. Only about 5 or 6 returning guys in the lineup for the Broncos. And they haven’t played a game yet in preseason as I mentioned earlier. They just started camp on Friday in fact. But all the Stars can do is go out and play their best and so far they have done that. Preseason results don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. But great to go 2-0 on home ice in exhibition play. And you’d always rather go into the season with momentum and positive results to fall back on.

Should mention that although the Broncos had a young looking lineup the Stars were without Statchuk, Erickson, Smith, Heinrich, Weston, Leonenko, Delainey and McMillen. Not exactly a veteran lineup filled with returning players.

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That’s it North Stars win. 6-2 the final score. Same two teams go at it tomorrow night in Humboldt as the North Stars will wrap up their preseason.

Stars versus Klippers at Civic Center

For the second straight night the Stars and Klippers will go head to head. This time at the Civic Center.

Here are the lineups:

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Last night the Klippers scored 4 straight late in the third to pull away and win 7-3. The Stars had a relatively young lineup dressed and it got longer when Igor Leonenko left the game with an injury late in the first period. Kendall Fransoo fought early in the second and the Stars lost a couple more veterans players.

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead after the first thanks to strong play from Jackson Bond, Matthew Havens and Leonenko as well as Spencer Tremblay in net the Stars looked good heading to the second. That period was a tough one though. The Stars were guilty of a few bad penalties as well as some bad pinches by a defence that looked a little to eager to get involved at times.

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The Klippers scored 3 straight in the second and had a 3-2 lead going to the third. Regan Yew tied the game early in the final frame before Kindersley pulled away to wrap up what turned out to look like a lopsided victory.

Like any pre-season game there were positives and negatives. And the result isn’t what matters. You would obviously like to win every game you play but these games are about evaluating players and getting guys ready to go when the regular season starts.

The Stars will look to rebound tonight with a stronger performance at home. And they have a more veteran looking lineup tonight. Keep an eye on this post as I will update it tonight as the game goes along.

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Less than a minute in and it’s 1-0 Stars. Kurtis Redding recovers his own dump and works it out front. Matthew Havens finishes it off. Stars trapped in their own zone to start the shift. Worked it to neutral ice and then Redding’s speed paid dividends. Worked hard to get in deep. Shoved his man off the puck and spun to fire the puck out front. Havens found the loose puck and had lots of net to hit.

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16:55 left in first. Good shift from Keller, Heinrich and Saharchuk. The newest Star doing good work down low leads to a couple half chances. Moments later Jake Erickson with a good rush and a quick release almost catches Tyler Lesschaeve out but he got down quickly to cover up.

13:48 left shots are 3-2 Stars. Tremblay not really tested so far.

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12:03 – Chance off the rush for Townsend set up nicely through the neutral zone. Sars buzzing again. Havens almost jammed it home. Good work by Lesschaeve in net for Kindersley to track the puck.

10:19 left – Tremblay with his best save so far. Down low to stop a deflection. Good pace here midway through the period. End to end action. Both teams skating well.

8:12 left – Nachtegaele with a nice hard hit in his own zone. Then a shot block from Sych. Klippers with lots of pressure. Couple saves for Tremblay before Stars ice the puck. Redding wins the ensuing draw and the Stars eventually clear.

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3:40 left in first – Stars with an icing call. Shots are 12-6 Stars. They’ve been on top for the most part.

3:00 left – North Stars rush. Saharchuk a hard shot off the wing. Keller almost found the rebound.

1:00 remaining – Nick Fountain almost found some room on a wrap around. Good shift from Bond, Fountain and Mitchell.

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End of first. Stars up 1-0. Shots were 15-6 Stars. Good solid first from the home team. Played a very nice opening period. Defence was solid and effective. Statchuk looks right at home as a 20 year old in North Stars colours. Tremblay against looking good.

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Quick start to the second. 17:00 left still 1-0 North Stars. Tremblay battled through a crowd to make a nice save. Off the face off the Stars go the other way. Good speed from Saharchuk but his back hand shot from a sharp angle off the rush just misses. Heinrich then finds a shot that’s stopped and Saharchuk can’t find the puck in front. Close call.

15:23 left in 2nd – Stars dominating. Delainey sets up Havens. Stopped. O’Sullivan finds Weston in the slot sneaking in. His shot stopped. Havens parked in front just missed deflection.

14:20 remaining – Chance for Riley Cardinal but great stick from Connor Vermeulen deflects puck out of play into the netting behind Tremblay. Shots now 19-7 North Stars

13:44 left in 2nd. 2-0 North Stars. Active stick from Townsend. Steals in the Klipper zone in alone. Back hand.

12:55 left – Seel with a step. Stopped in close by Tremblay.

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11:54 – Great speed and persistence from Havens eventually sets up O’Sullivan on a partial 2 on 1. Good save from Kindersley goalie.

Stars D have all been quietly very effective so far. Erickson and Statchuk especially.

10:29 left – Tremblay is done. Rewerts in for the Stars. Tremblay stopped all 8 shots he faced. May have sen slightly more rubber than that. Looked calm and composed in net. So far this pre-season he’s looked excellent.

8:42 remaining in 2nd. – Saharchuk dangles and almost finds Keller in slot. Saharchuk has shown size, speed and hands so far. Moments later speed from Nachtegaele off the rush. Shots stopped. Delainey steers rebound just wide.

7:00 left in 2nd. Stars still up 2-0. Just realized we haven’t seen a power play in this game yet.

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5:26 left – First rough stuff of the game. Heinrich didn’t like something after a hit on Keller. Scrum at center ice. Double minor against the Stars forward. Klippers to the power play.

Power play moving puck around. Saharchuk with a good clear and shot block. Keller directing traffic. Statchuk and Weston controlling down low. Weston blocks and clears. 2:30 left in Heinrich penalties.

1:20 left in second. Stars PK working hard. Rewerts in net with a few stops. Heinrich out of the box.

Stars with a couple flurries late but can’t find the back of the net. 2-0 home team heading to the third period.

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Early third Stars draw a power play. Weston was tripped. Couple shots. O’Sullivan with the best chance but no goals.

13:29 left shots are now 31-14 North Stars.

13:18 left – Scrum around Rewerts after the whistle. Redding and Kindersley’s Derrick Morrell off for roughing. 4 on 4.

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11:15 left in 3rd – Heinrich works out of the corner nicely. Back hand attempt stopped. 4 on 4 over and back to full strength.

9:32 left – Rush for Saharchuk, Bond and Statchuk couldn’t find the net. Next shift Delainey battles down low and almost sets up O’Sullivan. Pass just missed.

8:03 left – Townsend stopped on quick wrap around attempt. Been focusing on the Stars, since this is a Stars blog, but the Klippers will have to be happy with the play of Tyler Lesschaeve in net. He’s gone the distance.

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Klippers goal: 2-1 with 7:10 left in third. Seel pops one home. Going to be a fun finish.

4:48 left – Nachtegaeke and Keller stopped. Townsend fires over the net. Still 2-1.

3:46 left – Sticks up between McKinlay and Ryley Bosman. McKinlay threw a few before losing balance. Don’t think Bosman actually got a punch off. Not much of a scrap. Both get 4 for roughing. So maybe it wasn’t even a fight!

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1:30 left – Klippers still down 1 and they pull the goalie. Huge shot block by Logan Nachtegaele. Puck ricochets all the way down the ice.

29.6 seconds left and Keller looks to have iced the game into the empty net. Stars goal. 3-1. Assist to Heinrich.

Final Score: North Stars 3 – Kindersley Klippers 1

Lots of positives from that game for both teams. Stars improve to 1-1 so far in pre-season. Solid play in their own end and both goalies sharp. I am sure they will have plenty to work on as well.

Next game for the Stars is Tuesday when they host Humboldt at the Civic Center.

Team White wins 3-1

Team White took a 3-1 victory over Team Black last night at the Civic Center. The North Stars intersquad game gave fans a chance to get a look at some of the prospects and recruits that are hoping to make this team.

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Local product Quinton Cubbon scored for team White as did Igor Leonenko, who has looked pretty good so far in camp, and talented American Jackson Bond. Bond has great hands. Matthew Saharchuk will become a fan favourite. He scored for team Black.

The game had a great pace, especially early, and was highlighted by great performances in goal. Spencer Tremblay was unbeaten in net for Team White and had to stand on his head early as Team Black was dominating.

Taryn Kotchorek, Michael Cullen and Ryan Rewerts were all good as well. The North Stars will have tough decisions to make in net.

On D it’s pretty close to a set group with just 8 D-men remaining. I thought Michael Statchuk looked like you would expect a 20 year old to look. Very good. Overall the D looks like it can be a very active, mobile group that will allow the North Stars to play a very uptempo, pressuring, smothering style. That should excite fans. Both Connor Vermeulen and Brock Weston looked sharp. The returning guys (Robin Yew, Kendall Fransoo, and Jake Erickson) are well known to fans.

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Up front there North Stars have a lot of guys who can play. Speed, skill, size the North Stars have it all. The tough thing will be figuring out the right mix. That’s what the coaching staff gets paid for though and they are very good at what they do. Trimming down the roster won’t be easy but with 4 preseason games left the Stars have time to sort through several tough decisions.

The Stars are in Kindersley tomorrow night.

Intersquad Game – Lineups

Team White

Goalies:
Spencer Tremblay
Taryn Kotchorek

Defence:
Robin Yew
Michael Statchuk
Connor Vermeulen
Brock Weston

Forwards:
Quinton Cubbon
Ryne Keller
Keaton Holinaty
Igor Leonenko
Brenden Heinrich
Jackson Bond
Pierce Pluemer
Matthew Havens
Kevin Bendall
Kurtis Redding
Rusty Axtman
Jordan Townsend

Team Black

Goalies:
Michael Cullen
Ryan Rewerts

Defence:
Jake Erickson
Kendall Fransoo
Connor Sych
Curtis McKinlay

Forwards:
Matthew Saharchuk
Nick Fountain
Robbie McLean
Kyle Becker
Adam Smith
Regan Yew
Baxter Kanter
Reed Delainey
Brady O’Sullivan
Logan Nachtegaele
Otto Mitchell

Not Playing: Jake McMillen

Connor Vermeulen added to roster

Just a little bit more on Vermeulen. He’s a Saskatoon kid that put up electric numbers in the midget league with Beardey’s a couple seasons ago. 16 goals and 28 points from a D man in that league is outstanding. The Stars needed a right hand shot D man and Connor fits that role too.

He also really wanted to play here as he has family and family friends in the area. Earlier in the summer he was traded from Drayton Valley out to Dauphin but the North Stars were able to pry him away from the Manitoba team and he arrived in town a couple days ago.

He struggled a little to put up offensive numbers last year but as an underage player taking that step up to the Junior A level that is not unsurprising. He’s got size at 6’2 and 190 pounds.

So to recap Vermeulen has size, great hands, a really good first pass, right handed shot and at 18 already has a season of Junior A under his belt. This could be a great pickup for the North Stars.

In answer to a question from hockeyfan I should note that the Stars gave up futures to Dauphin in the trade.

Intersquad game Wednesday Night

The Battlefords North Stars got off to a winning start with a 5-1 victory over Kindersley in the rookie game played yesterday.

Now the team gets down to business for real. The returning and “veteran” players are on the ice day, the roster has been trimmed down and now there are around 34 players with a chance to carve out a spot on this year’s team. That process will include an intersquad game tomorrow night at the Civic Center.

The black versus white game will likely feature most if not all returning players. Igor Leonenko, Brenden Heinrich, Jake Erickson, the Yew brothers, Kendall Fransoo, Nick Fountain, Ryne Keller, Reed Delainey, and Jake McMillen.

There will be players that were picked up in trade like Adam Smith, Matt Saharchuk, Spencer Tremblay, Brock Weston, Michael Statchuk and the recently acquired Connor Vermeulen. Vermeulen was picked up from Dauphin and is a skilled puck moving defenseman who is really excited to be here. He played last year as a 17 year old with Drayton Valley in the AJHL.

There will also be the young guys and new recruits that will be pushing for a spot on the team. I have an idea of who they will be but let’s leave this part up to the imagination. I can say for certain that there will be really talented players on display that you are going to want to see.

I have to say when I found out about the addition of the intersquad game I was pumped. It should be a lot of fun. The game gets going tonight at 7:15.

Night 2 at Rookie Camp

I didn’t get a chance to see this morning’s sessions but tonight at the Civic Center I did take in some more of the scrimmages.

The Stars put a few vets on each team in part to see how some of the younger guys would do in battles and encounters with experienced players.

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The first game saw team Black beat Gold 5-3 and Black controlled a lot of the play. A few guys stood out offensively but for me I enjoyed the physical battles. Adam Smith should be a fun player to watch this year and the 20 year old, despite playing out of position on defense, got into it physically several times. Brant Saretsky was one of the players he got into it with. D-man Josh Odelein for team Gold battled with Chris Woods a few times as well.

The second game saw team Gold stay out and take on Team White. Veterans on Gold were Smith as well as Igor Leonenko who looks good so far. He appears to have come into camp in great shape and ready to go for year 2 in the SJHL. Team White had Ryne Keller and Jack McMillen.

White jumped out to an early 3-0 lead but it was pretty even after that. A late Igor Leonenko break away goal made it a 7-6 final with team White picking up the win.

In game #3 it was a 1-1 game with team Black beating White 2-1 after a shootout. Kevin Bendall scored for White and Logan Nachtegaele replied late for Black.

Overall I thought tonight had a pretty good pace considering there must have been some really tired legs out there. And I liked the showing from a lot of the young local players. Bendall, both Jaeden and Logan Nachtegaele, Blake Oborowsky, Quinton Cubbon, Rett Taggart, Connor Sych, Layne Young, Owen Lamb, Troy Gerein and both Ryan Rewerts and Taryn Kotchorek in goal. Some of those guys look like they will be big parts of the North Stars future.

I haven’t had a chance to speak with the Stars coaching staff about what they thought so this is just speculation but I think Logan Nachtegaele has a decent chance to make the team in a 4th line role. Guys like Taggart, Young, Lamb and Gerein will in all likelihood play with the AAA Stars this year and continue to develop. I am not sure what will happen in goal at this point. It’s still early and the rookie game will play a role in some decisions I am sure.

The Stars will play a rookie game in Kindersley tomorrow which I can’t attend. Then they will send some kids back to their midget teams and trim down for the start of preseason on Tuesday when about 30 or so players will get a chance to be part of the 2014-15 North Stars roster. And I have to say after such a busy offseason I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s early but there is a lot of talent to choose from for the North Stars this season.

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