SJHL: Yorkton Terriers @ Battlefords North Stars Preview

The Yorkton Terriers strength is their depth and the fact that they get scoring from throughout the lineup. You can’t really key on one line or player with Yorkton as on any given night any of their lines can step up and provide offense. Zak Majkowski is currently their highest point getter with 27 in 30 games. Recent additions Brent Stuble, Tyler Giebel and Tayler Thompson are all scoring at a point a game pace or better and would all be higher than Majkowski had they played a full slate of games. To further illustrate the nature of their offense being spread throughout the lineup consider this stat. The Terriers have 12 guys scoring at 0.5 points per game or better (I rounded one up) and the Stars currently have 10 on their roster. Considering that Yorkton has scored a little less than the Stars this season that stat shows just how spread out their offense has been.

Unfortunately for the Terriers they do sometimes struggle to score and when they do they perhaps lack a Tatchell like player who can step up and carry an offense to a couple victories. That was the case when these teams met back on Saturday. (read more about that game here) Graham Hildebrand was good, the Stars blocked a boat load of shots and no one from the Terriers was able to step up and grab the game by the scruff of the neck. But as I said above, when they are playing well they can get scoring from all over the place which can be very tough to defend. Especially for teams who lack defensive depth. That might have been the case last night in Kindersley as the Terriers got goals from 5 different scorers. I just confirmed it with Craig Stein play by play man extrordanaire and stats man as well and no Warren Shymko didn’t score a goal last night. The score sheet on the SJHL website says he did but it’s an error. Chase Norrish scored the goal and Shymko got an assist. So the Terriers had 5 different goal scorers last night and including the goaltender they had 9 different guys pick up a point.

The Stars have great depth on the backend and that could be part of the reason they have had decent success against the Terriers so far this season. The Terriers can create matchup problems for most teams when they role 4 lines but there isn’t a line in the league the Stars feel they have to keep one of the D pairs away from. They feel Toneff and McLellan can play against anyone and be effective and they have been. In the 3 games so far this season between the two teams the Terriers have only mustered 6 goals on Graham Hildebrand.The one guy who has consistently looked dangerous against the Stars this year has been Ryon Sookro.

I am looking forward to seeing Tyler Giebel tonight. He had 2 points last night and has put up 14 points in 12 games with Yorkton this season. He missed the game last weekend when he was playing with Red Deer. He scored a goal in that game but was then sent back to Yorkton. The Terriers will really benefit from having someone of his quality in their lineup. And I have a feeling he will be fun to watch.

As for goaltending I hear you asking? The Terriers have it. Warren Shymko and Kale Thomson have both posted goals against averages under 3 and save percentages of .900 this season. Dawson MacAuley, who the Terriers picked up in a trade with the North Stars, has not been as good. The PA native is young though and put up good numbers with the Mintos last season. And at 6’6″ and 209 pounds at 17 years of age looks to have a very good chance to turn into a solid tender for the Terriers. The Stars picked up a young man in that trade who leads the Yorkton Harvest in scoring. In the end it could turn out to be one of the rarest of all trades. One that works for both teams. Right now though MacAuley is looking like he is third on the Terriers goalie depth chart.

In a scheduling quirk the Terriers haven’t seen Connor Creech yet this season. Generally the Stars alternate their goal tenders so you would assume after 3 games against the Terriers Creech would have gotten one of the starts. He hasn’t. Yet. I have no clue as I haven’t spoken to anyone from the Stars coaching staff yet today but I would guess that Creech starts tonight. Again though that’s just a gut feeling. Creech’s numbers would lead the league if it weren’t for Hilebrand and I know he is anxious to get back in there after Graham got back to back starts on the weekend. That’s the guideline the Stars coaches have set out though. You get a shut out and you get to play the next game. Hildy has 4, should have 6, and Creecher has 1 so that’s the reason Hildebrand has played a few more games than Creech.

The Stars are looking to win their 12th game in a row and the reason the streak has reached this length is, in my opinion, down to great team D and a resurgent second line. The Stars in their last 3 wins have allowed just 60 shots. That’s damn impressive in this league. And especially because they are pretty generous with what is considered a shot in the SJHL. A dump in that is on goal, again in my opinion, shouldn’t be considered a shot. But I have seen them counted on the shot clocks that update on the fly. So to limit teams like Yorkton and Melville to so few shots is impressive.

And Kyle Hall is on a 7 game point streak. He was the Stars best player on Saturday and Sunday. Tanner Schwab wasn’t far behind him in that race. The Stars are going to get secondary scoring from their D and especially Luhning and Klassen. When the second line is chipping in they become such a dangerous team. Who do you try to stop? Tatchell’s line? Then you have Hall’s line and the D stepping up. But that’s what it takes to make a streak reach double digits. You can’t rely on one line or one player. Simply put. One line teams don’t win 11 in a row.

The Terriers will know all about Hall as it was against the Terriers on Saturday that the Stars center had his best game of the season. The last time these two teams met in the Civic Center the Terriers won in a shootout. The Stars have won every game since. The Terriers are well coached, have depth and good goaltending and are getting stronger as the season goes along. It is going to be a tough game for the Stars and it should be very entertaining.

Puck drops at the Civic Center at 7:30. Don’t make excuses. Just be there.

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