SJHL Game Preview: Battlefords North Stars visit Nipawin Hawks

Today’s blog posting music is Alexander.

The CJHL rankings came out the other day. And although it is early and these teams are still “works in progress” if you will it is helpful to know that people think this Hawks team is the 13th best team in Canada right now. That tells you the kind of challenge facing the Battlefords North Stars tonight.

We’ve just arrived in Nipawin and checked into the hotel. A pregame meal will soon be eaten and preparations will get underway for an early important test for the Stars. Let’s take a quick look at last time these two teams met, back on September 30th, with the Hawks picking up a 6-4 win. I wrote a post game report on that game and you can read that here. Kozun, Waskewitch, Cole, Zerr, and company were all impressive. The Hawks used their speed to attack the Hawks at every opportunity and the Stars provided far too many opportunities for the Hawks to use their speed and finishing.

The very next night in Melfort, against a less skilled but hard working opponent, the Stars limited turnovers and picked up the win. They are now 3-0 on the road. The Hawks are 4-0 on home ice. Something is going to have to give tonight. So what are the keys for the each team?

– Puck Management – The Stars must protect the puck, make smart plays and give themselves the best chance to retrieve it.
– Discipline – The Hawks PP was very effective last time out against the Stars so Battlefords need to stay out of the box but they also need to be disciplined in their play. When to attack and when not to attack. Giving the Hawks too much room to get behind on the counter attack plays to Nipawin’s strengths.
– Third Line Play – Last time the Stars played the Hawks the third line guys, Wakelin and Prpich especially, were publicly (twitterly if you prefer) unhappy with their play. They will want to be better. If they are the Stars are a dangerous team.

– Transition Game – Like last time out they will be looking to switch from defense to attack as quickly and efficiently as possible and if they can they are tough to stop.
– Force Turnovers – The Stars didn’t need to be forced into turnovers last time out. They most likely will need to be tonight. The Hawks are fast to attack but they will need the puck. They might have to try and go get it.
– Defend Better – The Stars showed they can score on this Hawks team. Especially the top line. But since they last played the Stars Schwab, Rollins and especially Hall got going. This Stars team is more dangerous and well rounded than last time.

I think this is going to be a very good game tonight and I hope you join me for the game. It’s a Northland Rentals Game Day. My favourite words in the English language. CJNB/CJNS is the home of the Stars. Stream us online at Pregame show at 7:15 puck drops at 7:30.

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Larry Hartmann

     /  October 4, 2011

    Showcase weekend – where , when , broadcast?????


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