The Battlefords North Stars 2011/2012 season got off to a bit of a slow start last night at the Civic Center.
The Stars fell 5-1 last night to the Kindersley Klippers and I think you have to give a lot of credit to the Klippers. They came out with a game plan to attack the Stars D and they executed their plan. I lost count of the number of times a Klippers player executed a perfect dump in to the opposite corner and into the path of the on rushing winger. Their zone entries were pretty darn good early on and that allowed Kindersley to get on the fore check early and often. The Stars D struggled to get pucks out of their own zone and when they did it was usually just off the glass and out to the neutral zone only to see the Klippers coming right back at them in waves. It earned the Klippers a couple of power plays which they executed. Kindersley was 2-2 with the man advantage in the first period.
Graham Hildebrand was pulled from the net in the first period after the Klippers scored their third goal. Graham wasn’t at fault, in my opinion, for any of the goals. But I am sure he would tell you he needs to be better. It was a rough start to the season and I did feel a little bad for Hildebrand who had been so excited the day before to finally get to start a home opener. I am sure he will bounce back though and put this one rough game behind him.
Kindersley got two more goals early in the second and perhaps took their foot off the gas a little at that point. It was hard to tell if they eased off or if the Stars were starting to come to grips with the Klippers fore check. It did seem that the Stars D, as the game moved along, were better able to move the puck before they got hit which allowed for easier break outs. And with these two teams rigth back at it tonight it will be interesting to see if that trend continues. Of course on home ice in their home opener the Klippers might play a slightly different style. We shall see.
The Stars lone goal came late in the third and it was a beauty. Tim Rollins finishing well over the shoulder of Justin McDonald, who was excellent in the Klippers net, after nice work from Tatchell and Schwab. The Stars top 6 will need to be better tonight and like the D I thought they got better as the game went on. The third line for the Stars of Prpich, Newton and Wakelin was maybe the strongest line in my eyes. It is always hard to get a really good feel for who is playing well when you are in the booth alone. A lot goes on behind the play and away from the puck and picking it all up is impossible. But I thought the third line had a number of shifts where they controlled the puck, fore checked well, and got pucks towards the Klippers net.
As for tonight’s game? The Stars need to embrace playing the role of spoilers in the Klippers home opener just as Kindersley embraced that spoilers role last night. Defensively the Stars will have to get off to a better start, perhaps the younger D men have now found their feet a little?
1. Casey Rodgers
2. Craig Dworschak
3. Justin McDonald
Battlefords PP – 0 for 5
Kindersley PP – 2 for 7
As for me? I got off to a rough start last night as well. But I thought the broadcast got better as things went along. I hope you tune in tonight as I will have Klippers play by play guy Brenden Ullrich in the booth providing colour commentary for tonight’s tilt. He’s a great broadcaster and will certainly help make for a strong broadcast. It’s a Northland Rentals game day so I hope you join me at 7:15 on CJNB/CJNS.