Stars beat Hawks in a thriller 2-1

Tonight’s blog post inspiration is the music of: We Are Augustines

After 3 straight losses it seemed like maybe the Hawks just had the Stars number this season. Despite solid efforts the Stars always seemed to come out on the wrong end of a tight close game. They finally flipped that script tonight.

The Stars came out absolutely flying in the first period. They’ve been waiting for this game since Tuesday right after the Melfort shutout. The shots in the first tell the story as well as I can. 18-9 in favour of the Stars. The Stars had done something similar in Nipawin the last time these two teams met when they outshot the Hawks 17-7 but were unable to score. The Hawks eventually won that game and that first frame was a huge missed opportunity. They Stars weren’t going to let that happen again tonight. Blake Tatchell opened the scoring 4:22 into the first when a Zack McLellan pass that was behind Tatchell was magically turned into a great outlet. Such is the skill of the Stars top offensive producer. He reached back and deftly tipped the puck off the boards and into his own stride. Tatchell then streaked into the Hawks zone down the right wing, powered to the front of the net and with a D man on his back he fired a snap shot past Davis Jones in the Hawks net blocker side. That was the 5th straight game that Tatchell has scored a goal.

Braeden Johnson, or @B-Johnny92 if you follow him on twitter, came into the game on a personal 7 game point streak and he moved that streak to 8 with a great pass out front on the power play. Johnny used the back door pass to a pinching McLellan as a decoy and instead hit Tim Rollins on the tape. Rollins was all alone in the slot and when he gets a chance like that with time to pick his spot he doesn’t miss. A power play marker with Tachell getting the second assist and the Stars lead 2-0 midway through the first period.

The Hawks came on after that and the rest of the first period was a much more even encounter. And Nipawin continued their strong play in the second. The first 10-12 minutes of the frame I thought the Hawks were pouring it on and really taking the game to the Stars. Their transition game is so quick and when they get to the forecheck it can be hard for any team to cope with. But the Stars D and Graham Hildebrand stood tall and then the Captain stood up. I don’t know what sparked the fight behind the play but Travis Sparrow and Wilson Dumais stood toe to toe and rained right hands on each other for what felt like a minute. Eventually the two peeled off with Sparrow leaking a little blood. The fight probably a draw but Sparrow’s team responded in just the way he wanted. The period after that was much more evenly matched. I talked to Travis after the game and he had a lot of respect for Dumais who he called a “tough little guy”.

The third period was a tense tight affair with both teams trading chances. Graham Hildebrand made a string of impressive saves and spectacular glove save as the Hawks pressed for a goal to get back in the game. Earlier in the season everything was going the Hawks way with wins and goals piling up. Lately though they’ve hit a little rough patch, as most teams do and will, and it seems they are gripping those sticks a little tight. Tad Kozun had a chance or two that he was not missing earlier in the season but was unable to cash.

The Hawks did get one eventually though. After a good PK late which the Stars could have used to put the game away the Hawks pressed with the net empty. The Stars battled hard though and with 8 seconds left they had a defensive zone face off with the game pretty much wrapped up. The only thing left was to secure Hildy’s second straight shutout. The coaching staff used the 2 goal cushion as a chance to get some younger guys on the ice with a defensive zone draw late in a game. Quinn, Samborski and Keller came out and they actually won the draw. But the Stars couldn’t clear the zone and the Hawks scored. Lambert, who scored the game winner the last time these two teams met, with a deflection with 0.4 seconds left to spoil the shutout. But the Stars picked up the only thing that mattered. The 2 points.

After the game Hildebrand said he was a little disappointed but that you just have to “laugh it off” and move on. The only thing that the team cared about was getting the win. Which they did. They are now tied with Nipawin on 21 points so far this season. The Hawks have played one less game. They head to Kindersley tomorrow. The Stars are back at the Civic Center as they continue their home stand. The Notre Dame Hounds come into town after getting blown out in Kindersley 6-2 tonight. They are normally a solid defensive team that gets good goaltending. They will be looking to get back on track tomorrow. Coach Hasselberg after the game said he expects the Hounds to be “ornery” tomorrow night.

I will have that game live for you on CJNB/CJNS at 7:30 with the pregame show at 7:15 but why not be like the 838 souls who came out tonight to the Civic Center and watch the game live? Bring your radio and I will bring you all the action as it happens.

Check back here tomorrow for more on the game with Notre Dame.

Notes:

– Trainer Dale Jackson fell on the ice today picking up pucks between the warm up and the game. He’s okay. But it was very funny. We were absolutely wearing him out for the press box when it happened. He’s a good sport though and laughed it off.

– Blake Voth was released today from his USHL team. He’s a goalie who has some spectacular numbers from his time in the BCHL. I am not sure what the Stars are planning or indeed what Voth is thinking about the situation. I asked around a little but I think it’s too early for anyone to know for sure. I will try to get more in the coming days.

– Jake Daughtry should be in the lineup tomorrow. I am interested to see what the big kid will bring to the Stars lineup. You gotta think h will be fired up for the game as he has a chance to be part of what looks like a very good team here in the Battlefords.

– The more I see of the Stars the more I like what their coaching staff brings. I think Atch and Hasselberg have a nice balance between them and I love the way they continue to push this team forward. I can’t see this team resting on it’s laurels as the coaches continue to push forward. I also notice from time to time the Coaches taking the time to do some teaching in game. I have to say I love that. Teach them while it’s fresh in their minds.

– Matty Ryan will be joining me tomorrow for some color commentary. I’ve been looking forward to having a chance to get him on a broadcast for a while. I know he wanted to be there tonight but instead had to be back at the studios. He does a great job for me getting the games on the air, as does Colin when Matty can’t be there, and I am looking forward to getting Matty on the air tomorrow.

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1 Comment

  1. matt ryan

     /  October 22, 2011

    Lookin forward to it mike

    Reply

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