Stars win in Humboldt 5-2

The North Stars completed a wonderful 2014 on the road with a 5-2 win over the Humboldt Broncos tonight at the Elgar Peterson Arena.

The Stars have always seemed to play well in Humboldt and improved to 7-4-1-1 in that building in the last few years. It was thanks in part to a strong first period by Ryan Rewerts. Making his first start since December 2nd Rewerts was sharp early as the Stars came out of the gates a bit slow. There was some controversy early as Ryne Keller was tossed from the game given 2 for checking from behind and a game misconduct. I thought it was at worst a boarding call and maybe not even a penalty. It looked to me like Keller was shoulder to shoulder with his man and the Bronco player turned at the last second. Having just seen the replay on the bus ride home I think I owe referee Byblow an apology. I think he definitely got the call correct. Importantly the Bronco player was okay. The Stars were short handed but thanks to Rewerts killed off the penalty.

They got a power play later in the frame and although they didn’t score they drew some momentum late in the period and got their feet moving to help even the shots a bit at 12-7 after the first. The Broncos took a hooking penalty early in the second period and then less than a minute later took a bench minor for something said to the official. The Stars haven’t scored a 5-on-3 goal in a while so it was nice to see a hard low point shot from Vermeulen that was kicked right to Nick Foutain ended up in the back of the net. Tough one for the goalie Jack Romanuik and the Stars were in front.

The Broncos tied the game when Ahston McLeod found himself in deep and tried a wrap around. Rewerts easily had the wrap covered but couldn’t react when the puck slid off the stick of McLeod and right to Jarrett Fontaine. If it was a pass it was a beauty but either way it was 1-1. Later in the frame it was Ryan Rewerts making a great toe save as he stretched across the crease to keep the scores level.

Matt Saharchuk then threw a big hit on Austin Swystun that was the San-Berg Collision Collision of the game. The Stars were short another player in the second when Jon Brumwell threw a hit on Reed Delainey that Jake Calverley didn’t like. Calverley hit Brumwell and was given 2 and a game for checking from behind. In the first period Delainey took a high stick and his mouth is a little banged up. Tough night for the Stars forward who did hit the stat sheet in a very strong game.

The Stars re-gained the lead when Nick Fountain sauced a nice little area pass for Jordan Townsend to skate onto in the neutral zone. Towny then blazed into the Bronco zone, made a quick little cut to the slot and wired a wrister past Romanuik. Jackson Bond should also end up with an assist on the goal.

Less than a minute later it was 3-1. A dump in behind the Bronco net from Connor Vermeulen and Brenden Heinrich was the only one to react. Heinrich, who has been in a rich vein of form, passed out front from below the redline. His backhand through the legs blind feed found Matt Havens who roofed his second in as many games. Is Havens starting to really settle in and get comfortable at this level? Because if he is then the rest of the league could be in trouble. Vermeulen should end up with 2 assists once the stats are corrected.

The fans in Humboldt were upset about a non-call on a hit that Heinrich was involved in during that second period that I thought maybe was worse than the Keller hit. But Heinrich says he didn’t touch the Bronco D man who slid heavily into the end boards. He simply fell. Humboldt’s discipline in that middle frame wasn’t great and helped the Stars keep the momentum.

A late second period penalty to Colton Laroque carried over to the third and the Stars capitalized. Michael Koroll and Kapleke got tangled up with Matt Havens near the top of the face-off circle. Using that opening Reed Delainey was able to swoop down low and pass out front for Brenden Heinrich and the Stars forward fired home along the ice from the low slot and through the 5-hole.

After the goal the Stars Otto Mitchell got a big piece of Matthew Kenney. Later in the frame Trevor Posch hit Mitchell and Kendall Fransoo didn’t like the hit so he dropped the gloves with Posch and after being a little off balance early Fransoo got into a slug fest. The two combatants standing toe-to-toe chucking rights and lefts. Fransoo got in a couple late before he fell and maybe edged the fight.

That left the Stars with 4 D and short a forward from the Keller and Calverley ejections. Despite that fact, and the fact that the Broncos had a late power play and it was 6-on-4 for most of that PP the Stars only gave up 4 third period shots. On the road. After Townsend returned the Broncos were able to score a goal at even strength. Brumwell poking home a bouncing puck out front to make it 4-2. But the Stars went back to work and kept the puck in Bronco ice for most of the rest of the game and eventually got a Connor Sych empty net goal to wrap things up.

The Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Rewerts 2) Heinrich 1) Fountain
San-Berg Colliision Collision of the Game: Matt Saharchuk on Swystun

Former North Star forward Braeden Johnson was on the bench as an assistant coach and picked up his first win as part of the North Stars coaching staff. The North Stars have now played well in 4 straight games and have at least a point in three straight. Safe to say they have battled their way out of their rough stretch.

They close out 2014 at home with a pair this coming weekend versus Flin Flon. In total counting last season and this one the Stars were an amazing 20-4-2 on the road for 42 out of a possible 52 points.

SJHL Game #32 – Battlefords North Stars at Humboldt Broncos

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 16-9-6-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 6:00
  • Puck drop – 5:45
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost to Yorkton on Friday night at the Civic Center 3-2 in overtime. The Stars got into all kinds of penalty trouble early as they played almost all of the first 8 minutes of the game short handed. The penalty kill was good except for the Stars gave up a goal on 5-on-3. It was a sharp angle one-timer from Kailum Gervais that was set up from Riley Hunt.

The Stars got the Teddy Bears on the ice and tied the game later in the period. After missing a couple of chances on the power play it was Nick Fountain who scored a 5-on-5 goal. He was filling it on the point and the puck came to him so he blasted a shot that hit something and beat Matt Kustra.

The Stars ended up the game 0-9 on the power play but they had so many chances. Michael Statchuk hit the inside of the post in the first period. The Terriers also hit iron the hit a cross-bar on a shot by Gervais.

In the second the Stars had some glorious chances like when Jordan Townsend got in alone and made a nice little drag move before flipping the puck too high and over the net. Kustra made 15 saves in the period including a toe save to deny the Stars a power play goal. The Terriers scored short handed to take a 2-1 lead and it was Riley Hunt who scored on a break away.

It was a disapointing goal in part because the Terriers forward Hunt should have been in the penalty box. WIth the Stars on a power play Hunt shot a discarded stick at Ryne Keller and knocked the puck off his stick. That’s a penalty in any league, any time of game, anywhere in the world. Except the Civic Center last night. The teams combined for 15 power plays but that one wasn’t called?

The Stars came out and absolutely crushed the Terriers in the third. Brenden Heinrich was outstanding in the period pressuring the puck and forcing the Terriers back into their own zone time and time again. It wasn’t just Heinrich though it was all 4 Stars lines. Shift after shift they were on top of Yorkton and winning battles, getting chances and not scoring.

Eary in the final frame there was a fight. Maybe that sparked the Stars? Logan Nachtegaele through a good hard check on Dylan Baer and then was boarded in retaliation by Daylan Gatzke. Baxter Kanter didn’t like that and he and Gatzke dropped the gloves. Gatzke maybe edged the fight as Kanter got a little off balance and could never quite regain his balance.

The Stars killed a late Matt Saharchuk penalty and then got their net empty for an extra attacker. Brenden Heinrich was able to streak up the wing and suddenly Matt Havens was all alone in front. How does that happen in the final seconds? I don’t know. Havens went to the backhand short side and fired up into the roof of the net.

The Stars seemed to have a let down in the overtime though and Dallas Rossiter was found all alone in the mid-slot. Rossiter blasted past Spencer Tremblay to grab the win for the Terriers. In the end the Stars gave up a shorthanded goal, power play goal and went 0-9 on the man advantage themselves. That was the difference in the game.

Storylines:

  • Last Road Trip: This the last road game of 2014 for the Battlefords North Stars. They are 9-4-2 on the road so far this season heading into tonight’s contest. They were dominant on the road last season as well so their overall road record in the calendar year of 2014 was outstanding. The Stars were 10-0 last season after the turn of the year. So 19-4-2 in the regular season on the road which is flat out amazing.
  • First Visit: This is the first time the Stars will be in Humboldt in the regular season. They were there in pre-season but now they will have visited every rink in the league just in time for the end of the year. The Broncos are 6-6-2 on home ice so far this season. They work really hard but at times have struggled to score. The Stars always seem to do well in Humboldt at the EPA.
  • Struggles: Both teams come into tonight’s game going through some struggles. The Stars have just 3 wins in their last 10 games. The Broncos have just 2 in their last 10. The Stars are playing a little better of late and from what I have read it sounds like the Broncos haven’t been as bad as the record makes it seem. So it should be a great game between two teams looking to get things going in the right direction.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Dallas Rossiter 2) Matt Havens 1) Matt Kustra
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Brenden Heinrich
  • Head to Head:
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Melfort at Nipawin

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Finish – The Stars were 0-9 on the power play last game. But they moved the puck well and created chances. They just didn’t finish. That’s the next step for the Stars to getting going. They have 69 goals this season at even strength, although they do have a few with the net empty. That’s more than 2 goals per game. If they had even a middle of the pack power play they would have about 10-12 more goals this season. How many points would that have been? Probably a couple more wins for sure.

2) Alert – The Broncos have pulled off a few set plays against the Stars so far this season. Off of faceoffs they run several different plays. They also do strange things in the neutral zone sometimes. In the end the Stars will have to be lively and aware that the Broncos will be looking for those plays and they will have to be ready to neutralize them.

3) Urgency – When the Stars play with urgency, like the third period last game versus Yorkton, they are darn near unstoppable. They need to find a way to play like that a lot more often. As in from the opening face-off until the final buzzer. If they do they won’t lose many games the rest of the season.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Tremblay

Fransoo – Calverley
Sych – Erickson
Statchuk – Vermeulen

Mitchell – Kanter – Nachtegaele
Havens – Keller – Heinrich
Fountain – Bond – Townsend
Saharchuk – Delainey – O’Sullivan

Scratches: McMillen, Leonenko, Weston

SJHL Game #31 – Yorkton Terriers at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 16-9-5-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars beat Kindersley 3-2. Read the recap here: http://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/north-stars-back-in-the-win-column/

Storylines:

  • Teddy Bear Toss: The North Stars will be hosting their annual Teddy Bear Toss to help support the WPD Ambulance’s Cram an Ambulance Campaign. Bring a Teddy Bear or stuffed animal and toss it on the ice after the North Stars’ first goal. The Terriers hosted their Teddy Bear Toss versus the North Stars last week and had a very good turn out with lots of stuffed animals on the ice. Let’s see if the Civic Center crowd can put up an even better showing!
  • Hockey Day in Saskatchewan: Yesterday four members of the North Stars along with head coach and GM were whisked down to Carnduff to promote Hockey Day in Saskatchewan. The Stars played in the game earlier this year in St Walburg and will once again feature in the event. The 2015 version will occur in January and take place in Carnduff. That’s where Jake McMillen is from and he, along with Michael Statchuk, Kendall Fransoo and captain Ryne Keller, were down south yesterday talking to school kids to promote the event. I had an absolute blase back in January this year in St Walburg and can’t wait to be part of the event again this year.
  • Christmas Break: The Stars have 4 games left before the break, counting tonight’s game, as they face Humboldt on the road on Sunday and then wrap up 2014 with a pair of home games versus Flin Flon next weekend. The Stars will be keen to finish the year really strong and set themselves up well heading into the new year. The break should also allow the team to heal up and get Igor Leonenko and Brock Weston back in the lineup.
  • Final Meeting: This will be the 4th and final meeting between these two teams this season. Each team has a win in regulation and the North Stars have an shootout win as well. If Yorkton wins in regulation they will win the season series. If the Stars win in regulation or OT/SO they win the season series. They can tie if the Terriers win in overtime or a shootout.
  • No Cassan: The Terriers head coach is away with Team Canada West where he is the head coach. They have an exhibition game tonight in Eston versus the US team. So the Terriers will be without their head coach but he was missing the other day in Yorkton and Casey O’Brien took care of things as his team grabbed a 3-2 win. The Terriers have a great coaching staff so shouldn’t miss a beat without their head coach for a few games.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Brenden Heinrich 2) Jake Erickson 1) Logan Nachtegaele
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Michael Statchuk
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords 2 @ Yorkton 3 (Dec 6 2014)
    Yorkton 1 @ Battlefords 2 (Nov 7 2014)
    Battlefords 3 @ Yorkton 2 (SO) (Sep 23 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Nipawin at Humboldt, La Ronge at Estevan, Melfort at Weyburn

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Progress – The Stars have now played well in back to back games and are coming off a big win over a divisional rival. It’s important that they don’t take a step back tonight against Yorkton. They are building in the right direction and getting back on track. That process needs to continue and it starts with a good warmup and a fast start.

2) Power Play – Better of late, the power play struggled against the Klippers. It struggles when the puck is pressured which is the Klippers strength on the PK. The Stars are going to draw a lot of penalties when they are playing well because their speed and skill is hard to stop. They need to take those power plays and turn them into goals.

3) Discipline – The Stars took a few penalties against Kindersley that they won’t be happy about. There were two penalties that occurred away from the puck while the Stars were in possession in the attacking zone. Those ones really hurt. That will be an area that will be key tonight as these two teams meet for the third time this season. The Terriers try to play really physical hockey and sometimes cross the line. The North Stars will have to keep their cool and try not to retaliate.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Sych – Erickson
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

Keller – Kanter – Nachtegaele
Saharchuk – Delainey – O’Sullivan
Havens – McMillen – Heinrich
Fountain – Bond – Townsend

Scratches: Leonenko, Weston, Mitchell

North Stars back in the win column

The Battlefords North Stars appear to ahve turned a corner after a big 3-2 win over the Kindersley Klippers last night at the Civic Center.

The Stars were outstanding at 5-on-5 defensively giving the Klippers very few scoring chances. The best that they were able to carve out at even strength was a back door feed in the first period that Darcy DeRoose couldn’t pop into a gaping net. Spencer Tremblay was scrambling across but didn’t have to make a save as Michael Statchuk blocked the shot. Tremblay was outstanding when called upon but for the most part was only forced to make routine saves on shots from the outside.

The Stars had a 2-0 lead after the first period and what a moment it was when the puck went in for the Stars first goal. Baxter Kanter got to a puck down low and passed out front to Logan Nachtegaele. He was all alone in front and easily fired past Nathan Hargrave. His first goal in Junior A and he scored it at the Hot Stove lounge end of the rink he grew up watching the Stars play in. But Nachtegaele wasn’t done. Later in the first Ryne Keller spun and fired a pass rink wide off the side boards that Logan was able to skate onto up the right wing and he snapped a shot past the glove of Hargrave. 2-0 Nachtegaele after the first.

wpid-20141210_214011.jpg

The only goal in the second was a power play goal from the Klippers and the Stars had a 2-1 lead going to the third. They are now 8-0 on the season when leading after 40 minutes.

They made it 3-1 when Jake Erickson was all alone out front of the Kindersley net and scored his own rebound. Another Klipper goal on the power play made it 3-2 but that was as close as the Klippers would get.

Erickson and Connor Sych were good together again last night. Sych had a few little mistakes but made up for them well. I remember at one point he used his long reach to knock the puck away from an on rushing Kindersley forward and prevent a scoring chance. I though last night was arguably Erickson’s best ever game as a North Star.

Jake Calverley along with Kendall Fransoo were solid again and combined blocked a lot of shots. That was something the Stars did as well last night as they have done all season. Blocking shots was a key to the victory.

The line of Kanter, Keller and Nachtegaele was the Stars most consistent line last night but all 4 lines did some nice things. Brady O’Sullivan and Matt Saharchuk helped to set up the game winning goal and looked lively with Jake McMillen. The Havens, Heinrich and Mitchell line was buzzing at times and Heinrich in particular looked really good. He had plenty of jump and his speed was a weapon all night. And Bond, Townsend and Fountain teamed up as they have a few games this season. Townsend’s great burst up the middle and move around a D man drew a penalty in the first.

The one draw back for the Stars was maybe the fact that the power play looked a little off last night and they took a few undisciplined penalties. But they overcame those two factors to win the game.

Connor Sych almost put his team in trouble late when he hit a Klipper player from behind. But Shaun MacPherson jumped in to protect his team mate and you can understand why he did. The Refs implemented a rule that allows them to give Such a double minor for roughing instead of 5 and a game for fighting because he didn’t have a chance to say no to the fight. MacPherson got 2 for instigating, 5 for fighting and a game. Sych ended up with a double minor for roughing, 2 for a check from behind a game misconduct.

The penalties evened out and the Stars and Klippers were 4-on-4 for the final 1:12. Kindersley got the net empty and got the extra attacker. But they couldn’t get much going as the Stars shut-up shop and grabbed the victory.

SJHL Game #30 – Kindersley Klippers at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 15-9-5-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost 3-2 in Yorkton. The Stars opened the scoring in the first period when Matt Saharchuk scored his second in as many games. A Michael Statchuk dump in was recovered by Ryne Keller who was ableto find Saharchuk and it was 1-0 North Stars. At that time I thought the Stars were playing well and Spencer Tremblay looked really solid in net. He ended up making 11 first period saves but was beaten once. With 44 seconds left in the period Carson Cayer tied it up.

I thought the Stars dominated the second period and the shots show that to be the case. 18-4 Stars. They got a power play goal from Nick Fountain and could have had more. They looked dangerous all period and Fountain himself couldhave scored a couple more late in the period and again on the power play. But it wasn’t to be and the game was tied heading to the third as the Terriers scored a goal despite not having much of the play. Daylan Gatzke got the second goal and the game was tied heading to the third.

The Terriers scored a goal on what looked to be a lucky bounce with the puck just trickling across the line and that ended up being the game winner as the Stars couldn’t find another goal in the third to tie the game. That despite getting the net empty for the extra attacker and drawing a late power play to make it 6-on-4. In the end the Stars were the better team for parts of the game but couldn’t convert on their chances often enough to grab the win.

Sometimes before you can snap out of a rough patch you have to have a few good games before you find a way back into the win column. Hopefully that game against Yorkton was the start of the turn around for the Stars.

Storylines:

  • Rivalry Cup:.So far in the head to head games the Klippers have picked up 8 points. The North Stars have 6. So the Klippers can clinch the cup with a victory tonight. It would be the second straight year they’ve won the cup which is every year that it has been in existence. The North Stars did end up winning the division last year though. Ideally this season they will win both. To do that they really need a win tonight.
  • Kramer Division: The Kramer Division standings now look a lot different than they did before the Stars 4 game losing streak. The North Stars are now 13 points behind the Klippers but they have played 3 fewer games. If the Stars are to have a chance to catch the Klippers in the standings a win tonight would be huge. That would give the Stars a chance to be within 5 points if they won their games in hand and that would be well within striking distance heading into the new year and the final stretch drive of the season.
  • Team West WJAC: The team was announced this morning. North Stars forward Reed Delainey did not make the cut. That’s really too bad as it would have made that event a lot more fun to follow and I likely would have made a roadtrip down to watch a game. If there is a silver lining it is that the North Stars will have Delainey in their lineup during the tournament and he will continue to be scouted and recruited by Division 1 schools. Three SJHLers made the team including Klippers goalie Evan Weninger and forward Cody Young. Nipawin defenseman Connor Hobbs also made the cut.
  • Assistant Coach: The North Stars are still seeking a new assistant coach after the departure of Taurean White. There is more info up now on the North Stars website http://www.northstars.ca about the position. So far Martin Smith and Travis Harrington have filled in behind the bench for the Stars who haven’t won since White’s departure. Coincidence? Most likely. The Stars will look to bounce back after a couple of weeks of turmoil with a win this evening.
  • Playoff Matchup: It’s obviously way too early to start thinking about a potential playoff matchup at this stage. But it’s also kind of fun. If the playoffs started today the Stars would be playing a Survivor Series with La Ronge. The winner of that series would then move on to face Melfort. Talk about a tough way to start a playoff run. But looking at the standings you have to wonder if there will be any easy playoff series in the SJHL this season. Probably not.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Michael Statchuk 2) Nick Fountain 1) Dallas Rossiter
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Logan Nachtegaele
  • Head to Head:
    Kindersley 4 @ Battlefords 3 (Oct 30 2014)
    Battlefords 4 @ Kindersley 3 (Oct 21 2014)
    Kindersley 3 @ Battlefords 2 (OT) (Oct 7 2014)
    Battlefords 2 @ Kindersley 1 (SO) (Sep 27 2014)
    Battlefords 3 @ Kindersley 4 (OT) (Sep 20 2014)
    Kindersley 5 @ Battlefords 2 (Sep 19 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: La Ronge at Notre Dame, Weyburn at Estevan

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Continue – The Stars were good against the Terriers for large chunks of that game. They need to continue to build off of that performance. Take what they did well and continue to do those things while eliminating one or two little mistakes that were made.

2) Scoring Areas – Getting to the net is going to be a key for the Stars. Whether that be getting bodies to the net, getting pucks to the net or getting shots through the Stars will have to find ways to get into those areas because the Klippers have the goaltending to stop you if the shots are all from the perimeter and there isn’t someone in front banging away at rebounds.

3) Structure – The Stars always want to have a structured approach but against the Klippers they have to be careful as Kindersley loves to transition quickly and capitalize on the counter attack. If the Stars get out of position, even on the fore-check, the Klippers will turn the puck the other way in lightning quick time.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

Townsend – Bond – Fountain
Keller – Kanter – Nachtegaele
Heinrich – Mitchell – Havens
Saharchuk – McMillen – O’Sullivan

Scratches: Delainey, Leonenko, Weston

SJHL Game #29 – Battlefords North Stars at Yorkton Terriers

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 15-8-5-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost in Melville last night 6-2 the final. The Millionaires dominated the first period as the North Stars came out of the gates really slowly. Melville scored a goal on a shot that Spencer Tremblay didn’t see. It snuck past his blocker and just inside the post. Other than that though the Stars goalie was excellent. He made 16 saves including a few really top notch stops. One with the right pad that stands out in my memory. The Stars actually did a decent job in their own zone in terms of keeping the Mills to the outside. But the Stars couldn’t clear the zone or control the puck in the attacking zone.

The Stars started out with Erickson, Statchuk, Keller, Fountain, Heinrich all on the ice. That line of 20 year old forwards didn’t start the game as a unit as the Stars had juggled the lines. But coach Hasselberg put them together to start the second and that I think says a lot about what they thought of the first period and what they needed to have happen in the second.

And it worked. The Stars came out at the start of the second and had some fire and determination. They got a power play goal from Ryne Keller after a nice feed out front from Nick Fountain. And thanks in part to the Millionaires taking a lot of penalties and the Stars taking control it seemed like the Stars would take over the game. I even said the next goal could be huge. And then the Millionaires scored 3 goals in a 1:58 and Spencer Tremblay was pulled. One of the goals, Landon Farrell’s that made it 3-1, came when Tremblay came out of his net to play the puck and didn’t get their in time. Farrell put it into the empty net. Then Tyler Reitmeier scored all alone in front and Rewerts was brought into the game. His first shot was a Tyler Krekelwich short handed break away and that made it 5-1 Melville. Rewerts settled in after that and stopped another break away shortly after that 5th goal.

In the third the Stars were dominant in part because they played with more emotion and determination but also in part it looked like the Mills took their foot off the gas a little. The Stars  ended up out shooting the Millionaires 13-2 in the final frame. The Stars got a power play goal that was given to Jake Erickson as his point shot went through traffic and past Troy Trombley. I thought Saharchuk tipped it but they gave it to Erickson. Reed Delainey drew the lone assist.

The North Stars ended up going 2-10 on the power play. The Millionaires were 0-4.

Storylines:

  • Losing Streak: The Stars have now lost 3 in a row and have just 2 wins in their last 7 games played. After a great start to the season the Stars have hit a rough patch. Every team is going to go through adversity over the course of a season. This is the Stars turn. Their chance to go through a tough time and figure out how to respond in the right way. How to battle through the adversity and learn to take it in stride so that later in the season when the playoffs roll around and the games are tough and adverse situations occur the Stars will know how to handle it.
  • Reigning Champs: The Terriers are still the RBC Cup champions until someone takes that away from them. They aren’t off to a very good start. Going into tonight’s game the Terriers are in last place in the SJHL. I don’t think many people expect them to stay in that spot.
  • Power Play: The Stars PP actually had a pretty good game last night. They had lots of chances and ended up 2-10 with the man advantage. They moved the puck a lot better than they were earlier in the season. And they had other chances. Brady O’Sullivan had a chance back door in the third but his stick was tied up at the last second. The puck movement on the power play was encouraging and hopefully tonight the man advantage will continue to improve.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Landon Farrell 2) Tyler Krekelwich 1) Lane Harbor
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Connor Sych
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords North Stars 3 – Melville Millionaires 2 (SO) – Sep. 23rd 2014
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Kindersley at La Ronge, Humboldt at Melfort, Notre Dame at Weyburn, Estevan at Flin Flon

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Compete – I could probably just write this for all three keys but this team has shown that when it plays with emotion and energy and really competes, skates and supports each other they are at times flat out unstoppable. Dominant. But they haven’t been able to do that with consistency and for a full 60 minutes. That’s what they are searching for now.

2) Start – Jake Erickson’s dad Lee wrote me last night on Twitter and said the Stars need to score first and I couldn’t agree more. It won’t decide if they will win or lose the game. But I do think getting off to a strong start is huge and getting a goal early would be a big time boost.

3) Highs and Lows The North Stars will go through some ups and downs in tonight’s game. They can’t afford to get too high or too low and get caught up in the momentum of the game. Stick to the game plan. Stick with the structure, the process and don’t let the ups and downs change that process and they’ll be just fine.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

Saharchuk – Delainey – Keller
Heinrich – McMillen – O’Sullivan
Fountain – Bond – Townsend
Kanter – Mitchell – Nachtegaele

Scratches: Weston, Leonenko, Havens

SJHL Game #28 – Battlefords North Stars at Melville Millionaires

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 15-7-5-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost to Melville 4-1 at the Civic Center on Tuesday. The Stars outshot the Mills in the first period but I thought the Melville forwards had the best chances of the period. There was a crossbar hit and a guy wide open in front that fired high over the net. Ryan Rewerts at times looked like he was fighting the puck a bit in that opening frame as well. And in the end the Mills had a 1-0 lead to play with. On a power play a cross ice feed found Ben Mack and he got his shot around Ryne Keller and into the net past a diving Rewerts.

The second period was a strong effort from Melville as they pumped 13 shots on Rewerts and scored another goal. It could have been worse. That goal came on the first shift of the second period. Tyler Krekelwich was just called up from Tisdale and will spend the rest of the season with the Millionaires. He was found alone out front and calmly shifted the puck to the backhand and skid it into the net. Rewerts had been coming out to challenge a shot and couldn’t adjust in time as Krekelwich made the nice deke move. That made it 2-0 Millionaires but from there Rewerts was able to shut the door including making a great glove save in the second period.

The Stars got within a goal later in the frame. The McMillen, Havens, O’Sullivan line was the Stars most dangerous offensively and they got the goal. O’Sullivan popping the puck home after great work by the whole line to control the puck down low.

In the third the Stars actually had the territorial play in their favour and spent a lot of time controlling the wall, winning puck battles and cycling the puck. They didn’t get as much to the goal as they would have liked though and couldn’t get to Troy Trembley in the Melville goal.

The line of Kanter, Nachtegaele and Mitchell did some good thing for the Stars and Nachtegaele had several chances offensively to get pucks to the net. Coach Hasselberg was also happy with Matt Saharchuk after the game as well. But the Stars need to get a little more from a few more players as they are a team that needs everyone pulling in the same direction and contributing.

Storylines:

  • Defenseman of the Month: Jake Erickson was named the SJHL’s Defenseman of the Month for November. During the previous month Erickson posted 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points in 12 games. The Stars went 7-3-2 in the month as the Minnesota native logged big minutes alongside Connor Sych for most of the month. That pair has started to really gel nicely. For more on Erickson’s award check out SJHL.ca or go to the North Stars site here: http://www.northstars.ca/news_article/show/453496?referrer_id=618157 
  • Back to Back: This will be the second straight game for the North Stars against the Millionaires. But the Mills played on Wednesday in Kindersley. They lost 2-1 in OT. But to get 3 out of 4 points from that trip is an excellent result. There season has been a little stop start but that might be the spark they needed. They will be confident and playing well for tonight’s game.
  • Early Season: The North Stars came out of the gates a bit slow this season with a pair of games, and losses, against Kindersley. They then went on the road to Melville and Yorkton and picked up 2 wins to get their season fired up. They come into tonight’s game going through a bit of a rough patch. Hopefully, they can use this trip to get out of that rough stretch just like early in the season.
  • Halfway Point: Hard to believe I am writing this already but tonight is game number 28 on the season. After tonight we will be halfway to game number 56 and the end of the regular season. Where has the time gone so far? This season is absolutely flying by. A win tonight would put the Stars on pace for 74 points. They won the division last year with 75 points but that might not be enough to win it this season. They are off to a great start.
  • Team Building: The North Stars will be staying at a different lodging this weekend in Yorkton. It’s a lodge that offers a chance to get the guys a little more isolated and closer together. They will get to spend some time together as a group off the ice as well as on it. These little team building things throughout the season are always key because later in the season there isn’t time to do as much but when the games really matter that team unit is tested and needs to be strong.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Logan Nachtegaele 2) Matt Havens 1) Ben Mack
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Jackson Bond
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords North Stars 5 – Melville Millionaires 2 – Sep. 24th 2014
    Melville Millionaires 4 – Battlefords North Stars 1 – Dec. 2nd 2014
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Kindersley at Flin Flon, Yorkton at Nipawin, Estevan at Melfort

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Slot – That’s the area that the Mills defend in their own zone as well as anyone in the league. The Stars have to get puck sand bodies to the front of the net and get tips and rebounds. Melville will give you shots from the outside and at times the Stars will be able to control the play around the outside. But they have to get to the net.

2) Cuts – The Stars had success when they moved their feet and changed directions. Get the D moving and then turn quickly the other direction. The Stars have speed to burn and when they make those cuts and stop/starts the other team has a hard time adjusting in time. Melville didn’t handle it well last time but were able to recover before the Stars made them pay. That’s an area the Stars can try to exploit even more tonight.

3) Gritty The Stars are a speed team with skill and the offense will get going again soon. But they can also be a team that plays with edge and grit. They weren’t as physical as they can be during the game on Tuesday. Hits, blocked shots, penalty killing, and other areas where grit matters are areas the Stars need to utilize more in order to grind out a couple of road wins.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

Saharchuk – Delainey – Keller
Heinrich – McMillen – O’Sullivan
Havens – Bond – Nachtegaele
Fountain – Kanter – Townsend

Scratches: Mitchell, Weston, Leonenko

SJHL Game #27 – Melville Millionaires at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 15-6-5-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost to Melfort on Friday night, 4-2 the final score. The Stars got a first period goal from Reed Delainey but it was the Mustangs who pulled away with a couple of third period goals. With the score 4-1 in the third the Stars got a late power play and pulled their goalie so it was 6-on-4. Jake McMillen was able to score to get the Stars within 2 goals. There was another penalty against the Mustangs with 2 minutes left and more 6-on-4 play. McMillen had another glorious chance but was just falling as he tried to shoot. He couldn’t lift the puck up over the pad of Mustangs goalie Richard Palmer. In the end though a comeback would have hid the fact the North Stars weren’t at their best on Friday. They weren’t skating and struggled with the Mustangs forecheck. They will be looking for a big bounce back game tonight.

Storylines:

  • Roster Cut Down Day: Yesterday was the December 1st deadline for CJHL teams to get their rosters down under 25. The Stars were already under the limit so were not forced to make any moves. There were some big trades including the La Ronge Ice Wolves dealing their leading scorer Connor Kortko to the MJHL. The Kindersley Klippers dealt 18 year old D man Ty Lindberg to the Grande Prairie Storm of the AJHL for 20 year old forward Hayden Berra. For more on all the moves check out SJHL.ca
  • Playoff Rematch: The North Stars and Millionaires met in last season’s playoffs. The Mills won that SJHL semi-final series in 5 games. They were able to clog the middle of the ice. Collapse to the front of their own net and clear rebounds. They really took away the dangerous scoring areas and let the Stars have the puck around the outside and the Stars just couldn’t find a way through. The Mills are a similar team this year and do play a similar style.
  • Back to Back: This week the STars will play back to back games against the Mills. These two teams meet again on Friday night in Melville. The Millionaires won’t be playing back to back games against the North Stars though as they play tomorrow night in Kindersley.
  • Tonight’s Roster: The Stars will be without Reed Delainey tonight as he is on a fly down as NCAA Division 1 schools continue to recruit the young Stars forward. Ryne Keller was a little banged up after Friday’s game. With Igor Leonenko and Brock Weston both still out for a few weeks the Stars could be a little short handed tonight. Perhaps we will see an affiliate or two tonight?

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Cole Hrysky 2) Jake McMillen 1) Travis Mayan
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Brady O’Sullivan
  • Head to Head: Battlefords North Stars 5 – Melville Millionaires 2 – Sep. 24th 2014
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Notre Dame at Estevan

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Skate – Something the North Stars just weren’t doing against Melfort. They were not able to get their feet going and when a team built around speed and skill isn’t skating they aren’t going to be very dangerous. The Millionaires are relatively stingy defensively so far this season and will likely be able to contain the Stars if they aren’t skating.

2) Puck Movement – The Stars create a lot of their speed with their skating ability and by carrying the puck. But they are also more than capable of moving the puck quickly as well. We’ve seen flashes of it lately and I think perhaps tonight we will see the Stars marry that skating speed with puck movement as well.

3) Get Dirty The Mills are great at protecting the dirty areas especially in front of their own net. So that’s a battle area that could decide the game. The Stars will have to get to those areas and win battles to stay there. They will also need to win pucks in close and find ways to get some tips or rebounds.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Tremblay

Erickson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

Havens – McMillen – O’Sullivan
Fountain – Keller – Heinrich
Saharchuk – Bond – Townsend
Kanter – Mitchell – Nachtegaele

Scratches: Weston, Leonenko, Delainey

SJHL Game #26 – Melfort Mustangs at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 15-5-5-0 NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars beat Humboldt 4-2. The recap is here: http://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/north-stars-beat-broncos/ Storylines:

  • Taurean White: The North Stars announced yesterday that assistant coach and GM Taurean White has left the team to take over as the head coach with the Mattawa Blackhawks of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. It all happened kind of quickly but in the end this is what the North Stars are all about. Helping people move on to a higher level. And now White gets a chance to take over his own team. Of course we all with White the best as he looks to turn around the Hawks. For the North Stars it creates an opening that they are already looking to fill. The Stars are accepting applications now.
  • Nachtegaele: It sounds like Logan wants to get back in the lineup as soon as possible and he told me he wants to play tonight. I am not sure if that’s going to be possible but when Logan does head back out onto the ice for his next game it will be emotional. His father’s funeral was yesterday and there were hundreds and hundreds of people there. It was amazing to see so many people and goes to show what kind of person Jim was and the impact he had on people. I have also been incredibly impressed with Logan and how he has handled this situation. I can’t wait to see him back out on the ice.
  • Sherwood Division: The Battlefords North Stars have played 7 games so far this season against teams from the very strong Sherwood Division. They are 5-1-1 but 6 of the 7 games have been decided in overtime or a shootout. The only previous meeting between the Stars and Mustangs saw Melfort score twice in less than two minutes before the Stars settled in and came back to win 4-3 in a shootout. In that game Spencer Tremblay let in two goals on two shots and got the hook. Will he get a chance for a little revenge tonight? We shall see.
  • Kramer Division: The Estevan Bruins beat Notre Dame last night so the Stars now have a 3 point cushion on the Hounds for second in the division. The Kindersley Klippers win over Humboldt earlier in the week put the Stars 10 points up on the Broncos. So now the Stars have to set their sights on the Klippers. Kindersley is 6 points ahead and has played 3 more games. They play Melfort tomorrow night in Kindersley. We are about to reach the halfway point of the season and the standings start to take on a little more importance. if the North Stars win tonight they would move into sole possession of second place in the overall league standings as well.
  • WJAC: The tryout camp roster for the World Junior A Challenge Team West was released today. North Stars center Reed Delainey will get a chance to make the team. Unfortunately, he’s the only North Star player to be invited. But hopefully he blows them away at camp and makes the team. There are 8 SJHLers on the camp roster including three from Kindersley which is where the WJAC is being staged.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Jake Calverley 2) Spencer Tremblay 1) Connor Vermeulen
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Ryne Keller
  • Head to Head: Battlefords North Stars 4 – Melfort Mustangs 3 (SO) – Nov. 5th 2014
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Weyburn at Flin Flon, Yorkton at Melville

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Fast Start – After last time these teams met this one is a bit of a no-brainer. The Stars were down 2-0 less than two minutes into the game. I said at the time that at least it was still really early with lots of time for a comeback. But there is no way the Stars want to try and do that again. It’s tough to come from behind in the SJHL and it’s a lot of work. Playing with a lead is the way to go.

2) Speed – This game will be a battle between two teams that can really skate. The game in Melfort was played at a fast pace with end to end action at times. Which ever of these two teams can use their speed more effectively will likely win tonight’s contest.

3) Attack The North Stars have a team that can really push the pace of the game. And when they are in attack mode they can really make life tough for their opposition. If the Stars play their uptempo attacking style they have a great shot to win.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Tremblay

Erickson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

Havens – McMillen – O’Sullivan
Fountain – Keller – Heinrich
Saharchuk – Bond – Townsend
Kanter – Mitchell – Nachtegaele

Scratches: Weston, Leonenko, Delainey

North Stars sign Head Coach and GM to extension

The North Stars announced last night that they have re-signed head coach and GM Kevin Hasselberg to a 2 year contract extension. Darren Huxley informed me of that decision just prior to last night’s game.

Coach Hasselberg is in the 4th year of his tenure with the North Stars and this will be his second 2 year extension following his initial 2 year contract when he was hired back in 2011. The Stars have posted records:

2011-12: 41-15-0-2
2012-13: 26-21-2-5
2013-14: 36-17-0-3
2014-15 (so far): 15-5-5-0

That makes for a combined 118-58-7-10 record good for 253 points out of a possible 386 and a win percentage of 66%. If you win 2 out of every 3 games you are doing a very good job. as for the playoffs, the Stars have lost to Humboldt in a North final, were unexpectedly upset by Melfort in a Survivor series and lost to Melville in a league semi-final.

Coach Hasselberg told me last night on the post game show that he feels this is a top 10 program for all of Junior A hockey in this country in large part thanks to the volunteers, members of the board and of course the fans. I could not agree more. He also said he is proud to continue working in this community and with the North Stars program.

And I am happy to continue to be able to work with coach Hasselberg as well. The North Stars head coach is one of the hardest working people I have ever met and will continue to work hard to bring winning teams to the Battlefords.

Congratulations to coach Hasselberg and his family as well as the North Stars program on the extension.

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