This will probably be a pretty quick preview post largely because my laptops battery is dying and I need to go charge it.
The North Stars picked up 2 points last night and Graham Hildebrand was very good. The Stars were excellent in the first period and should have had a bigger lead after the first. That’s about all the good things you can say about the game last night. The players and coaches are looking for a much better effort tonight. I think the coaches were unhappy with their defensive play last night and in particular how the Stars played 1 on 1 situations. There were actually a lot of things that the team was unhappy about. Which might be bad news for Estevan.
The Bruins are a very good team who currently sit second in the Sherwood but are just one point behind Weyburn and they have played one fewer game. So just like last night the Stars are playing a top team in the south again tonight. The Bruins, like Weyburn, are a very good home team having lost just twice so far this year in their new building. And like Weyburn the Estevan Bruins are looked at by some around the league as a one line team. The Bruins get a lot of offense from Smith, Neufeld and Olson but they also get secondary scoring from a group of good young rookies like Johnson and Brykaliuk. The big difference between the Weyburn Red Wings and the Estevan Bruins? And in a way the difference between the Stars and the Bruins? Special teams.
The Bruins boast the league’s top special teams with a power play atop the league at 26.8% and the top penalty kill at 83.0%. In fact the Bruins goal difference on special teams is plus 11 while the North Stars sit at minus 4. The Bruins goal difference overall is plus 23 so almost half of that gap between goals for and goals against comes from the special teams. The Stars are at a goal differential of pla2 26 at 5 on 5 by my count the Bruins are at plus 12. I just threw a lot of numbers at you but it all boils down to the Bruins doing a lot of damage on special teams. The North Stars will need to keep this game at 5 on 5 as much as possible to give themselves a great chance to win tonight.
The other note I wanted to touch on is Blake Tatchell. The North Stars coaches sent in some corrections to the league, backed by hvideo evidence as Coach Hasselberg breaks down tape after every game, and since those corrections have been made Tatchell is the league’s top point getter although it did cost Tatchell a goal that was given to the Stars forward but was actually scored by Tim Rollins. The stat corrections also affected Brett Miller who has a couple of points taken away. Oh and Brody Luhning is on a point streak. He hasn’t gone a game since returning from that upper body injury without scoring a point. In fact in his last 4 games Luhning has picked up 7 assists. He is also on a 6 game point streak over which time he has scored 2 goals and picked up those 7 assists.
I will have more on these topics and some other interesting facts and figures on the pregame show coming up tonight at 7:15 on CJNB/CJNS or online at http://www.cjnb.com