SJHL: Nipawin Hawks defeat Battlefords North Stars 6-4

I’ve decided I am going to tell you what band I am listening to when I am writing these posts. I am not sure why I decided that. But here goes.

Tonight’s Blog Music: We Were Promised Jetpacks

 

I apologize for the lack of a game preview today. I moved to a new house and the internet here isn’t hooked up. I should have known that WordPress, who graciously host this blog, have an iphone app. There’s always an app for whatever I need. Also, I can apparently use my phone to access the internet on my laptop as well. So problem solved. I wasn’t even planning on writing this recap blog as I have been up for a lot of hours and as I mentioned I moved today which was hard work. But I ordered food and I am waiting impatiently for it to arrive.

The Battlefords North Stars player of the Month for September was awarded to Boyd Wakelin prior to puck drop. Well deserved after the way Boyd has played so far. Including of course two game winning goals. After the presentation Wake’s line got things started. And it was a decent start for the Stars until the 4:15 mark when a bad change allowed the Hawks to transition quickly and get a break away. Tad Kozun making no mistake. The first shot Graham Hildebrand saw was in the back of the net. That mistake in the neutral zone leading to a Nipawin scoring chance thing? That would be a theme of tonight’s game. The Stars second line had a really nice shift going around the halfway mark of the period but were unable to score. Not even two minutes later the Stars had a power play. Michael Lambert a little unlucky to be called for tripping as he dug for a puck in the skates of Boyd Wakelin. 22 seconds. That’s how long it took the Stars struggling PP to get on track. A Brody Luhning shot hitting at least two bodies on its way into the net. Brett Miller was given credit. His first of the year. Hopefully that open the flood gates. Wakelin, who drew that PP, then took a penalty. He was called for interference in the neutral zone. The Stars PK got off to a good start,Kyle Hall with a good shot block, but a Stars turnover in the neutral zone lead to a partial 3 on 1. Adam Reichert making no mistake. Captain Dan Szerlip and Mitch Doell with assists. Late in the first Blake Tatchell found Tanner Schwab at the side of the net and Schwab re-directed the puck just wide. He maybe should have scored.It was 2-1 after the first.

My food just arrived so I am going to have to make this quicker. In the second the Stars gave up a very early goal. Travis Sparrow stepping up in the neutral zone and not getting the puck or his man leading to a scoring chance for the Hawks. Hildebrand making the initial, and at least one more on the rebound, before the Hawks eventually jammed the puck home. At exactly the 5 minute mark a Hawk turnover was on the stick of Braeden Johnson but not for very long. He found Tatchell all alone at the side of the net and it was game on. But only for 16 seconds. That’s all it took for the wind to get sucked out of the crowd’s sails. Justin Waskewitch getting a step on the Stars D and blasting home a clapper down the wing and past Hildebrand. The goals were flying in and the Stars were next. 51 seconds after the Hawks goal and 1:07 after Tatchell’s goal Tim Rollins was found by Johnson and went in alone. Rollins fired it home blocker side. 4-3 Hawks the score after the break away marker. Robbie Newton took an elbowing penalty that may have been slightly harsh and the Hawks were back on the PP. And back in the goal column. The Stars failed to clear the puck roughly 6 times before the Hawks finally beat Hildebrand. He had done all he could to keep Nipawin at bay but the puck kept coming back at him. Waskewitch scoring again. The goals finally stopped going in every 30 seconds and the game settled down. The Stars had a couple of good PKs late in the period and into the third. The score was 5-3 heading to the third.

The first goal of the third was a very lucky bounce for the Hawks. Similar to Miller’s first goal Hawks forward Brady Zerr spun and fired a puck about ten feet wide. But it hit a North Star and bounced into the yawning cage. As the game wore on I thought the Stars looked stronger and stronger. Their PK got going as they dealt with a tripping penalty to Dallas Jorgensen. Not long after HIldebrand made a very nice save to keep the Stars in it Davis Jones in the Hawks net went one better. He absolutely robbed Blake Tatchell on a cross crease pass from Johnson again. The Stars picked up a power play and a goal not long later. Brett Miller with a nice re-direct, intentionally this time, to make it 6-4. Tyler Paslawski took a late cross-checking penalty but the Stars PP, even with the net empty for a 6 on 4 advantage, couldn’t get anything going and the game ended 6-4.

The Stars got better after the first. But turnovers cost them dearly. The Hawks quick transition game too much for the Battlefords on this night. Puck management, to borrow coach Hasselberg’s phrase, needs to be better. We will find out if it is tomorrow in Melfort. A game you can catch live on CJNB1050AM or http://www.cjnb.com I will have the pregame show at 7:15. Puck drops at 7:30.

Stars win in Kindersley for second time early in season

The Battlesfords North Stars won their fourth game in a row tonight thanks in part to a great second period.

The Stars rolled into Kindersley on the heals of a 2-0 shutout victory over the La Ronge Ice Wolves. So spirits were high heading into this one. The first period was a pretty good road period for the Stars who did a good job dealing with the Klippers aggressive forechecking and limited the Klippers to just 8 shots. Blake Tatchell re-directed a Travis Sparrow pass to beat Justin McDonald late in the first period.

I don’t know what was said in the first intermission but the Stars came out of the gates flying. The executed their game plan almost to a T limiting the Klippers to just 2 shots in the period. The Stars meanwhile piled up the shots and the second line, which had been struggling to score despite creating chances, finally burst the damn. At the 9:34 mark of the second Tim Rollins was found in the slot and made no mistake. When Rollins gets a chance with time to pick his spot he is deadly. Jared Kambietz, who had a dynamite game, with the pass to set up Rollins. Before the end of the second Battlefords had a 3-0 lead. Kamietz scoring unassisted. The shots on goal were 20-9 in favour of the road team. The second period was one of the better periods this team has played all season.

Late in the second period Brody Luhning dropped the mitts with Justin Lund. Luhning jumping in to defend Jesse Gerbig after a hit that Luhning didn’t like. Fairly even fight in the end but the team was pretty happy to see Luhning stepping up to protect his team mate.

The third period saw the Stars playing a slightly more defensive game and perhaps took their foot off the gas a little. But give the Klippers credit for coming out in the third with some push back. They started getting more pucks towards the net. Graham Hildebrand hadn’t let in a goal in over 100 minutes before he was beaten by a Tanner Kissick slap shot on the power play.

The Klippers had another chance with the man advantage after Dallas Jorgensen picked up a holding call at the 15:18 mark. The Stars were doing a good job on the PK until the Travis Sparrow was also dinged for holding. The Klippers with an offensive zone faceoff and 20 seconds of 5 on 3 hockey.

That was the turning point though as Kyle Hall, Brody Luhning and Zack MacLellan able to hold the Klippers off until Jorgensen came out of the box and cleared the puck down the ice. There was still 1:40 of PP time left for the Klippers but Hildebrand kept the door shut.

Blake Tatchell picked up a loose puck after Tim Rollins missed an open net and slid the puck home with 29 seconds remaining. Make the final 4-1 Stars.

Three Stars

1. Jared Kambietz
2. Tim Rollins
3. Blake Tatchell

Special Teams

North Stars PP: 0-3
Klippers PP: 1-4

Attendance

537

Klippers host North Stars for round number 3

The Kindersley Klippers versus the Battlefords North Stars. Where have we heard that before? For those who maybe don’t know we heard it on opening weekend. The Klippers were the Stars opponent for their home opener. The Stars were the Klippers opponent for theirs. So this is already a familiar match up for these two teams.

Let’s start with Kindersley. The Klippers are a team with more than enough offense. Kissick, King, McGrath, Duzan the list goes on and on. Talented offensive players who can put the puck in the net. In fact, despite the Klippers sitting at 2-2 on the season they have scored 16 goals. The Stars who are 3-1 have scored just 12. The Klippers also have an excellent goalie in Justin McDonald who has a goals against average after 3 games that sits at just 2.00. So don’t let the Klippers record fool you when you look at this team. Oh yeah, Rockie Zinger is a darn good coach as well.

The Stars and Klippers split the opening games of the season with each road team picking up the win. The Stars were blown out 5-1 on home ice before rebounding and coming back from being down 3-1 in Kindersley eventually picking up the 4-3 victory. You may remember Boyd Wakelin’s game winning goal with 6.6 seconds remaining.

The Stars will be lead offensively by the usual suspects. Braeden Johnson is off to a strong start with 5 points in 4 games. Tatchell right on his heals for the team lead in points. That line has to be good. The so called bottom six has been good as well. Guys like Prpich, Newton, Gerbig, Kambietz and of course Wakelin have all stepped up at times to help this team win games. The guys who need to get going? The second line. Tim Rollins, Kyle Hall, Tanner Schwab, if healthy, could form one of the top offensive lines in the league if they get going. They’ve shown flashes but need to have a more consistent game tonight.

So how has a team that has gotten very little offense from it’s second line sitting at 3-1? Well for starters, pun intended, goaltending has been excellent for the Stars, home opener aside. Hildebrand bounced back with a shutout against La Ronge after a poor showing on opening night. Connor Creech and Jared Knott were both solid in their starts. The D has been solid with Forbes stepping up nicely to play with Sparrow. Guys like Nik Rogers and Dallas Jorgensen have played well. And now Brody Luhning is back and along with Zack MacLellan gives the Stars a nice mix of stay at home guys and guys who will jump into the rush. Grayden Turner if he is in the lineup gives the Stars some toughness and a steady presence in their own zone.

If you take out the home opener, and I bet a lot of Stars would like to forget it, Battlefords have scored 11 and allowed 7. A nice mix of timely scoring and solid play in their own zone getting the job done. It’s a nice start but it doesn’t mean much. There are plenty of games left. And the Stars haven’t played their best game yet. Not even close. Maybe we will see it tonight as they face those familiar Kindersley Klippers.

The Klippers will be unhappy with the way they let a lead slip on home ice last time they played the Stars. That coupled with how well these teams know each other should make for a hell of a game.

Join me on CJNB/CJNS or online at cjnb.com for the call. Pre-game show stars at 7.

Stars win third in a row, beat Ice Wolves 2-0

The Battlefords North Stars strong start to the season continued tonight in large part because of a great performance from Graham Hildebrand.

I am not going to say I told you so but that was a much better effort from the Ice Wolves than their record would have suggested. The first period they outshot the Stars by a margin of 16-10. But the shots didn’t tell the whole story. The Stars created the better of the scoring chances and their strong start earned them a power play. The first few shifts for the Stars were very strong and their cycling and attacking play lead to an elbowing penalty to Ice Wolves forward Pavlo Zerebecky. The Stars power play didn’t have much of a chance to work as Zack MacMillan took an interference penalty on a pick play, he didn’t do much to be honest just stood there and a La Ronge skater ran into him, to make it 4 on 4. So the Stars sent out Braeden Johnson and Blake Tatchell.

Tatchell scored to make it 1-0 Stars but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The goal came on the back of one of the strongest back checking efforts I have seen all year. Battlefords had turned the puck over in the offensive zone and so Johnson put his head turn and skated hard to get back in the play. His back check caused another turnover, this time by the Ice Wolves, and back the other way went Tachell. He streaked down the wing got past a La Ronge D man and kept himself before snapping one home along the ice. A great reward for Johnson as he picked up the assist. And hopefully a lesson well learned for the whole team. Put in the work and you will eventually get the reward.

Later in the first Brett Miller had a great chance but just missed high glove. The frustration of his season continues. You get the feeling once he pops one home he will really get going. Same with Kyle Hall who seems a little bit snake bitten to start the year. La Ronge had a late PP in the first but Hildebrand turned away their best chance just after the penalty ended. A good reaction pad save down low. with 1:40 left in the period.

In the second the Stars strong play continued. Brett Miller re-directing a shot just wide. But as the period moved along the Ice Wolves started coming on. Their effort on the night was admirable. Their work rate was top notch and they started to turn the tide. Hildebrand with a pair of good saves up high. The North Stars coaching staff calling a time out to try to stem the tide. Before the end of the first Johney Cormier had a good chance streaking down the wing. Jorgensen did a decent job angling him off but Hildebrand still had to make a good save. He made another one later, a glove save, on a 3 on 1. It was still 1-0 after the second period of play.

The Stars killed most of a Brett Miller penalty to start the third and Miller was back in the referees bad graces not long later. A hit from behind leading to 2 and a game. With 12 minutes remaining PK monster Sam Prpich had a good chance. He had room high glove but fired just over top of the net. A little over a minute later Tim Rollins had a partial break away but couldn’t get away a good shot. The Ice Wolves were coming on at this point and Hildebrand had to make several good saves. Carre and Enns both with good shifts as the period wore on but unable to get anything past Hildy. With 2:45 remaining in the game and the Stars clinging to a 1-0 lead a 2 on 1 developed. Tatchell and Kambietz, filling in for Miller on the top line, went in on Hovdebo in the Ice Wolves net, Tatchell holding on before trying to slide it around a sprawling defender. The pass was blocked but fell nicely for Johnson who slammed it into the yawning cage. La Ronge pulled their goalie late, only making it 5 on 5 as La Ronge had taken a penalty.They were unable to score though and the game ended 2-0.

Graham Hildebrand picking up the shutout. It was a strong bounce back game for Hildy who has called his performance on opening night, the last time he played and he was pulled in after letting in 3 goals, embarrassing. Brody Luhning showed flashes of his offensive upside in his first game with the Stars this year. And how about the game from Tatchell and Johnson. Miller was good as well before being tossed.

You gotta give credit to La Ronge who bounced back after a tough loss last night. They worked incredibly hard and if it wasn’t for Hildebrand they may have won this game. They lack some offensive flair but if they find some they could still be a decent team this year. At least if they work as hard as they did tonight.

3 Stars

1) Hildebrand
2) Johnson
3) Hovdebo

Special Teams

Stars PP: 0 for 4
Ice Wolves PP: 0 for 5

 

 

 

 

Stars host struggling Ice Wolves

I’m going to start off by tell you some stuff that you probably already know but stick with me as it will get better. I hope.

The La Ronge Ice Wolves were a dominant team last year. They featured two young men who racked up more than 100 points and another who finished with 98. Their backup goalie only lost twice in his 22 appearances. And they won the Bauer by 14 points over the Melfort Mustangs. But much like the Melfort team we saw recently at the Civic Center this is a much different Ice Wolves team than the one they iced last year. They come into tonight’s game at 1-4 on the season and were just blown out in Kindersley last night. Marc-Andre Carre is the one returning player from that trio of guys who put up huge offensive numbers. So far this year he has just 2 assists and no goals in 5 games. He had 106 points in 55 games last year.

So this isn’t the La Ronge team you have come to know and love. They have very few returning players from last year’s roster. As mentioned Carre is back. As is Aaron Enns. Jarod Iron played two games last year in the playoffs for the Ice Wolves so we will call him a returning player as well. Alex Vandenameele is back after putting up 5 points in 42 games last season. There may be some other returnees, it’s hard for me to know as I am new, but for the most part this is an entirely different team this season. Perhaps then it is no surprise that they are struggling out of the gates. La Ronge has allowed 24 goals in 5 games so far this season. From what I read and hear they have a younger, inexperienced defense struggling at times not only to defend but also to break out of their own zone. That could help explain Carre’s slow start. Of course it could also be the fact his line mates from last year are gone.

But for some reason I just have a feeling that tonight we are going to see a different La Ronge team. They are coming off a loss last night. A blow out loss. And they will be desperate to make up for it. When a team is down you have to be wary of an explosion. You can only back a team into a corner for so long before they fight back. And I think we will see that fight back soon. Maybe even tonight.

Head coach Bob Beatty is back once again for La Ronge and any time a very good coach has a young group of players that turn around can come at any time. The light bulb can come on at any time. We know this about a Bob Beatty coached team. The message will start to sink in. The systems will start to take shape on the ice. And the effort will be there.

So the Stars need to show up tonight ready to play. I am sure the coaching staff will be telling them something similar. Don’t take this team lightly. It will be very interesting to see what happens tonight. A team, the Stars, who are working hard to over come some slow starts and working hard to make sure they stop having to come from behind. Against a team just plain working hard to get better. Plus for the first time in a while the Stars will sense they have a chance to lay a beating on La Ronge. Something the home town fans would love to see.

If you head down to watch the game here is a list of things I think you should try to keep your eyes on:

1) The Stars “third” line. Wakelin, Newton, Prpich were very good last time out. As was the 4th line with Sam Gerbig looking like Ryan Kesler out there. 2 points and good D in his own zone.

2) Carre. Elite offensive players don’t stay quiet for long. Carre can do special things on the ice so watch him when he is out there so you don’t miss anything.

3) Hall and Tatchell. See above

4) Whoever starts in goal for Battlefords. The Stars have 3 good goalies. Balancing them until one emerges as the go to guy will be tough. And it will also be fascinating to watch.

5) Bob Beatty. He is coaching a young struggling group. I am interested to see what approach he takes behind the bench with this group.

 

I have no idea what the Stars lineup will look like tonight. I haven’t had a chance to speak to the coaching staff today. If I can get the info out to you before the game I will. But as I have mentioned SaskTel and the Civic Center don’t get along. At least on my phone they don’t. But the simplest solution is just to come to the Civic Center and see the lineup for yourself. Then stay to watch the game. Perfect.

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*Completely off topic but last night I went to the movies to see Moneyball. Turns out pretty much the entire Stars team was there to see the same movie. Here are some thoughts on my experience last night:

– That’s not actually the movie theater is it? This is a great town with great people. You all, and I guess I can say we now that I live here, deserve a better theater. A much better theater. The only good part is if you go watch a movie in one of the theaters you can also hear the movie in the other theater. It’s like a two for one deal.

– I thought Moneyball was good. But not everyone enjoyed it. Could have partly been the fact that it was roughly 800 degrees in the theater. If you like baseball, or close ups of Brad Pitt’s face while he drives a truck, you will like Moneyball

– Big thanks to Connor Allison for spotting me 10 bucks to see the film. Apparently not only is the theater in rough shape it is also from 1984. No debit or visa machines. Cash only. I suppose I could have written a cheque if anyone anywhere still carried cheques.

– On the way home I saw the coolest guy ever. Cruising down 100th on his motorbike, smoking a cigarette, and wearing a leather vest with no shirt underneath. That’s style my friends. You can see video of that event here:

 

That’s all for now. Enjoy the game tonight. If you see me come say hi. And make sure you come to the hotstove afterwards. I am told we are for sure doing one tonight. 100% guaranteed.

La Ronge in Kindersley tonight

The La Ronge Ice Wolves are the North Stars next opponents.

They will role into town sometime tomorrow after having played Kindersley. So for the second time already this year the Stars face a team that played the night before in Kindersley. I am not sure how much of an advantage it is to face a team playing for the second straight night and a team that has spent a lot of time on the bus in the last couple days. But it is an advantage. The thing is though you still have to come out and play hard and take it to La Ronge. You can’t just expect the Ice Wolves to roll over. You have to make them roll over. But that’s for tomorrow. I will have a post up tomorrow morning previewing the La Ronge vs Battlefords game. But if you are looking for something to do you can always stream the La Ronge vs Kindersley game from tonight on your computers.

The other thing I wanted to mention is the Saskatoon Blades game tonight. I am going to be making the trip as the Blades host the Prince Albert Raiders. There will be a pregame ceremony honouring the lives and careers of Brad McCrimmon and Wade Belak. So if you are going to be making the trip to take in the game make sure you leave a little early so you don’t miss it.

Also before I forget tune into CJNB 1050AM in the Battlefords coming up at Noon as I will have more on the Blades game tonight.

Some completely random thoughts on the Stars season so far

So I am juts sitting at work in the CJNB newsroom and decided I should throw together a quick blog post about some of the things I have been thinking so far this season. This will give you a little window into my mind. It’s pretty scary in there though so don’t look for too long.

– Boyd Wakelin scores big goals. You gotta love that. Works hard pretty much every shift and gets the rewards. His team has 2 wins and he has 2 game winning goals. Is it too early to start the MVP talk? Ok fine it is too early. But keep playing like this and I will have to stop calling him an unsung hero. Especially if I keep being the one who un-unsungs him.

– Blake Tatchell gets a lot of attention. Teams have been all over Tatchell so far this season. Slashes, hooks, spears, hits from behind. Points wise he is off to a bit of a slow start. But he is battling through some tough checking. Other guys have to step up in the mean time. You have to assume Tatchell will get going soon than later.

– Dallas Jorgensen has been a nice addition. He seems older than he really is. Plays with a lot of poise and seems to make the game go at the speed he wants it to go. He’s either a good D man or actually 35 years old.

– The Civic Center is a cool old rink. I love it in there. But why doesn’t my cell phone work? SaskTel needs to get on that. I need to tweet things about the game. Like last night I really wanted to tweet my great Jorgensen seems older brain wave. Plus I have a feeling @B_Johnny92 tweets from the bench and I need to know what he is saying.

– Kyle Hall is really fast. And he seems to be snake bitten. Not literally though. He has had a lot of good chances to score and hasn’t found the back of the net yet. Yet is the key word. He’s going to score one soon and the flood gates will open. Again not literally.

– If I had a penny for every time someone mentioned to me how great Dan O’Connor is/was and a dime for every time someone tells me that Coach Hasselberg looks young enough to be a player I would buy the Stars a new arena. Actually no I wouldn’t I love that old barn. I would buy SaskTel and make them make my cell phone work. I’m glad to have people coming up wanting to talk to me. Everyone is so friendly around here and I look forward to talking with as many of you as possible.

– I just burnt my tongue and it hurts.

– The Stars are 2-1. That is pretty good considering there’s a new coach this season and the roster is a little bit in flux with injuries and the like. I have a feeling the Stars will start to play even better as the season moves on. Hopefully that actually happens in real life.

– Matty Ryan is one funny guy. If you heard him last night you would have enjoyed his jokes mainly at the expense of whoever was in the penalty box for the Mustangs. And there was some in that box pretty much the entire game. My favourite parts were when Matty would do a little Green Men inspired dance when a penalized player was making their way to the box. I also still maintain that SpiderMan would have an unfair advantage if he was a goalie and rules would have to be put in place to stop him from using his web shooting and/or Spidey Senses abilities.

– La Ronge is not playing well so far this season. I bet they have a better effort on Saturday night. There will be a hot stove after the game. so hopefully you will come join us.

Stars come from behind again to beat Melfort

The Battlefords North Stars came from behind against last night to pick up a 5-4 shootout victory over the Melfort Mustangs.

It was a penalty filled game and special teams eventually played a major role. The Stars going 2 for 11 with the man advantage.

Jesse Gerbig scored his first goal in the SJHL, as did Ryne Keller, and Gerbig added an assist as well. His line with Jared Kambietz and Robbie Newton was strong throughout the night. The Mustangs had built a 3-1 at one point in the second period thanks to strong play from Kyle Threndyle and Bo Lenard, who each had 2 points, but Keller got the Stars within 1 and Dillon Forbes scored on a power play to tie it at 3. It was Forbes second PP goal of the season. The Mustangs got one back, a goal starter Jared Knott would like back, but Boyd Wakelin stepped up to score a huge goal for the second game in a row. Knott was beaten along the ice at his near post and you could see he was very unhappy that he didn’t stop the shot. But to his credit he bounced back and made a couple of huge saves, including a great double save, to ensure his team picked up 2 point. You could also tell he was VERY happy with Boyd Wakelin’s game tying goal.

Much like Saturday’s game winner in Kindersley Wakelin was alone in the slot, Breaden Johnson found him and Boyd roofed the puck to tie the game at 4 with about 5 minutes left. That goal came on a 5 on 3advantage and the Stars remained on a 5 minute power play for just about the remainder of the game but were unable to capitalize. No scoring in OT, thanks in part to Knott’s great save, and we were headed for the shootout that CJNB’s own Matty Ryan has asked for prior to puck drop.

And once againWakelin stepped up. He scored the only goal in the shootout for either team and the Stars win 5-4. Jared Knott picked up his first victory as a North Star. Assistant coach Blair Atchenum likes the character the team is showing. I talked to him after the game and he was happy with the abililty to come from behind but said the Stars don’t want to make a habit of falling behind.

Seems like Boyd has defenitely taken steps forward and is developing into one of the top 3rd liners in the entire league. Melfort head coach Gavin Holcomb to his credit refused to blaim the officials despite the Stars getting 11 power plays. He also wouldn’t use fatigue as an excuse. I was very impressed with him after the game. With a coaching staff that is willing to hold the players accountable the Mustangs are in very good hands.

The Stars now 2-1 despite Kyle Hall and Blake Tatchell’s slow start to the season. Once those guys get going, and they will, this could be a very fun team to watch. They just need to find a way to play well before they are down 3-1.

Next up for the Stars? They face La Ronge on Saturday at the Civic Center. La Ronge was pounded 7-1 last night by Humboldt.

Brody Luhning returns to Stars

Offensive D man Brody Luhning, and according to Matt Ryan all around good guy Brody Luhning, was released by the Regina Pats yesterday and sent back to the North Stars. That’s not great news for a kid hoping to crack the WHL this season but for Stars fans it is very good news. Luhning brings a “veteran presence to the back end” according to coach Hasselberg as well as giving the Stars a QB for the power play which is something they could definitely use after their sputtering power play scored just one goal on opening weekend.

Luhning will not be in the line up tonight against the Melfort Mustangs who come to town on the back of a 2-1 win, their first of the year, last night in Kindersley. Coach H did say that Brody will be good to go against La Ronge on Saturday. He had 33 points last year in 50 games for the Stars who could use that puck moving ability. The Stars D played better and better over the course of the home and home against the Klippers but they have several guys who are more of the stay at home type. Luhning brings a different facet to the rear guard and should make the Stars tougher to defend against.

I will hopefully have more on tonight’s game up on the blog a little later this afternoon after I talk to the Stars coaching staff. And if possible make sure you are tuned in to CJNB 1050AM throughout the day as I will have more from the Stars in the lead up to tonight’ game.

Battleford North Stars take second half of home and home with Kindersley

Battlefords North Stars split season opening home and home with Kindersley Klippers.

 

The Stars went into Kindersley tonight looking to atone for last night’s effort and that’s exactly what they did. 4-3 the final thanks to a dramatic Boyd Wakelin game winning goal with just 6.6 seconds remaining.

There will be plenty of positives to take from this game but perhaps none more so than the way the team responded to an early goal in the second period and the way they responded to going down 3-1. Coach Hasselberg said after the game that the players heads didn’t drop on the bench instead after David Haaf had rifled the Klippers into a two goal lead the Stars regrouped, refocused and renewed their effort. For the last 35 minutes of the game I thought the Stars were by far the better team. Their D moved the puck well and the fore check was aggressive and effective.

The first period featured just the lone goal for the Klippers , a power play marker as the first period tonight was very similar to last night’s game. The Stars out to a good start give up a power play marker on Kindersley’s first attempt and the Klippers fore check did some good work. But unlike last night the Stars killed the Klippers second PP chance and started to turn the momentum.

In the second Wheaton King’s strong game continued, although unsurprisingly he trailed off as the Stars got going, as he set up a D Jay McGrath goal for his second helper of the game. A Dillion Forbes power play goa 40 seconds later l during a 5 on 3 advantage helped the stars get back within one goal. But they were unable to score again despite having 1:55 remaining after the goal to work 5 on 4. David Haaf really stepped into a clapper to restore the Klippers 2 goal lead. Before the end of the second Miller and Johnson combined and the latter scored to make it 3-2.

In the third the Stars got a fluke goal as Eaton fired the puck off of Schwab’s stick and into his own net. The goal, bar down, got the Stars back in the game and they came on wave after wave into the Klippers zone. The line of Brett Miller, Tatchell and Johnson was very good and perhaps should have won the game sooner. Miller himself with several grade A chances that he couldn’t convert. But if that line continues to play like that they will start pilling up the goals.

Both teams had man advantage opportunities to win the game and a late PP for the Stars couldn’t decide the game. It looked like we were headed for OT when the Stars got one last rush. Last year’s Mr Hustle seizing on a chance in the slot and firing home after good work from Johnson who had a very good game.

Lots of player had strong efforts though so I don’t want to single out too many individuals. It was a team effort and very much a team win. Connor Creech picked up the win in net after a solid showing in relief last night.

After a lack luster effort on home ice the Stars came into Kindersley needing a response. And they got a whole bunch of them.

 

Three Stars

1. Boyd Wakelin
2. Braeden Johnson
3. D Jay McGrath

Special Teams

Stars PP – 1 for 4
Klippers PP – 1 for 4

Attendance

734

 

Next up for the Stars they are on home ice for their first look at the Melfort Millionaires who will be coming to town after playing in Kindersley the night before. Based on what I saw tonight you will want to be at the rink Wednesday. Melfort and the Stars should be an excellent match-up.