It’s about the implication: Battlefords North Stars look to win 13th straight

The Battlefords North Stars are set to host the SJHL’s #2 team tonight when the Weyburn Red Wings ship steams into the Civic Center. The Stars are clearly the hottest team in the SJHL as they’ve won 12 straight. The Red Wings aren’t exactly cool themselves. They’ve won an impressive 10 of their last 11 and the only loss in that stretch was in a shootout against the North Stars. You can read more on that game right here: North Stars down Red Wings 5-4 in Shootout. The last team to sink the Red Wings in regulation was the Melville Millionaires back on November 9th. A full month ago yesterday.

So here’s the thing. I don’t want to imply that the Wings are a one line team. They aren’t. No hockey team is a “one line team”. You have to get contributions from throughout your lineup to win hockey games. And those contributions don’t just have to be goals. Ask Stars fans about Robbie Newton’s contributions this season. So in no way is the implication that the Wings are a one line team. But if you shut down their top line you have a much better chance to beat Weyburn. That’s not a revolutionary statement in any way shape or form. If you shut down Blake Tatchell you have a better chance to beat the Stars. If you manage to shut down the Wings top line they can get you in other ways. It’s also damn near impossible to shut down that group completely.

Jesse Ross, Keegan Bruce and Coltyn Sanderson. It may be the best line in the SJHL this year so far. Taking nothing away from Tatchell and Johnson but they’ve had a rotation of different players on their right wing. The Wings have kept this unit together pretty much all season. They are the ones powering the Weyburn ship a lot of the time offensively. The trio has combined for 63 goals and 153 points. To put that in some kind of perspective that’s only 5 fewer goals from that line than the Melfort Mustangs have scored as a team all season.

Last night that line combined for 6 points in a 5-4 win over the Klippers. But here’s why the Wings are more dangerous than they were last time the Stars saw them. They added Jordan Hoffman at the December 1st roster deadline and he had 3 assists as his line which looks to be Pereira, Hoffman, Sam Williams was in on the other 3 goals the Red Wings scored. Hoffman gives the Wings more scoring depth and makes them much tougher to defend.

So again there is no reason to think this is a “one line team” and I am not implying that it is one. But just like with the LA Lakers where teams are trying to make someone other than Kobe Bryant beat them teams will be looking to make someone other than Ross and his mates beat them. Based on the stats and the record of late it seems that if teams are able to shut down the Wings top line they are still winning games. And that’s why they are 2nd in the entire SJHL and up to 14th in Canada.

We haven’t even talked about their goaltending and defense yet. If there are any leak in the hull for this Wings team the man plugging them is Mitch Kilgore. The Wings have allowed the fewest goals in the Sherwood on top of all that offense. Kilgore gets the bulk of the starts in net for Weyburn and for good reason. He’s putting up outstanding numbers this year. A record of 16-6-1 t go along with a 2.30GAA and a .908 save% are all in the top 10 in the league. In fact Kilgore is locked in a battle with Graham Hildebrand to lead the league in wins this season and is 4th overall in goals against average behind only the two Stars tenders and Deven Dubyk.

Weyburn also gets a lot of strong play from the backend at both ends of the ice. It’s tough to quantify how good they’ve been as individuals but as a group the D for the Wings has been solid. Look at Kilgore’s numbers for some proof of that. They also get offense from the rearguard in the form of Jen Johnson, Ryan Whitell, and Carter Struthers. Those 3 have combined for 11 goals and 54 points. The Red Wings power play and penalty kill are both good as well. Currently they are both ranked 4th in the league.

I could go on and on about the good ship Weyburn but I think you get the point. They are very good and when I say the Stars need to shut down the top line I do not mean to imply they are a one line team.

As for the Stars tonight I am expecting a much better effort than Thursday night. Or at least a more consistent effort. The Stars have been great this season at correcting things that need correcting. Whether that be in game corrections on the fly or game to game corrections. They have been made more often that not. They’ve got a few games left before a break over the holiday period and they are all tough games. This will be the second game of a 6 game stretch before Christmas that really tests what the Stars are all about. Weyburn tonight is followed by the two other hottest teams in the league with Humboldt tomorrow and La Ronge on Tuesday. Both on the road.

The Stars need to bring their absolute best game for the next couple weeks. We will see if they can do it tonight at the Civic Center. Puck drops at 7:30.

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7 Comments

  1. Brad McNeil

     /  December 10, 2011

    Go fuck yourself Mike Feeney and your one sided twitter comments. Take off your Stars colored glasses for a minute.

    Reply
  2. Brad McNeil

     /  December 10, 2011

    Mike do you think I really give a shit if you call my boss. Here is the number 842-5344.

    Reply
  3. Brad McNeil

     /  December 10, 2011

    Oh and I have some ties in the organization in Weyburn. Good luck ever getting an interview from Dwight McMillan and if I have my way you will be broadcasting from the old figure skating booth in the far corner of the rink next time you are in Weyburn.

    Reply
    • I was just having some fun and making a joke Brad. I’m not going to call your work.

      I honestly don’t care that you swore at me. I am glad there are passionate fans around the SJHL. Without the fans I wouldn’t have a job. I hope you read the blog post I am working on now as I think in hindsight I was too hard on the ref. Although in re-reading my tweets I don’t think I was over the top in my comments. I am sorry you were so angry by what I wrote. I always try to be balanced and unbiased in my comments and “call it like I see it”.

      As for Dwight McMillan I am sure he is far too professional to deny me an interview because I was critical of an official on twitter. Hopefully you continue to read my blog but in the future if you swear your comments will be removed.

      Reply
  4. Brad McNeil

     /  December 11, 2011

    I will apoligize for the words I used. As most people know sometimes I react before I think. I enjoy reading the media guys comments as a game goes on and admittedly when I see a guy on my team get nailed into the boards and a guy like Toneff fighting Bruce I get worked up. I maybe took your one tweet out of context. To me you were implying that Dwight was whining and got a penalty call. If the ref called it on that I would be shocked.

    Reply
    • As I said in my post game words that I just posted Dwight was doing exactly what he should have been doing. Protecting his players and doing what he had to do to try and win the game. I have nothing but respect for him as a coach.

      Reply
  5. Brad McNeil

     /  December 11, 2011

    Well glad I helped your blog count lol. Your posts are very well thought out and complimentry of both teams which is what I like to see. Some of the other bloggers across the league that only talk about their own teams could take some lessons.

    Reply

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