SJHL Game #39: Humboldt Broncos at Battlefords North Stars

The Battlefords North Stars host the Humboldt Broncos tonight at the Civic Center at 7:30. I will be broadcasting the game live on CJNB/CJNS starting with the SaskTel Pregame Show at 7:15pm. It’s the final game for the Stars before the winter break.

Recent Game:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • The Broncos come into tonight’s tilt having not lost in regulation in 12 games. Humboldt beat Kindersley 3-2 last night and haven’t lost since a since November 23rd when Flin Flon beat them in a shootout. The last Humboldt regulation loss was back on November 18th when Yorkton picked up a 4-1 victory.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • The North Stars are on a 3 game losing skid since falling 5-0 in Humboldt back on December 11th. They followed that game up with a loss in La Ronge in a game the Stars played pretty well. Alex Rajotte was standing on his head in that game however and the Stars were shutout. They then lost 9-1 to Flin Flon on home ice. That’s the last time the Stars played. Nearly a week ago. They’ve had a week to stew on an embarrassing loss. We will see how that affects their game tonight.

Who’s Hot:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • Andrew Johnston. The Broncos top offensive forward is always a handful and lately he has been very good. 4 points in his last 5 games.
  • The Broncos have been getting offensive from all over the lineup of late so it’s hard to pick out one forward who is hot. That’s why they are such a tough team to beat.
  • Matt Hrynkiw. Didn’t play last night. In the three previous games he has played he’s been outstanding. He’s one of the main reasons the Broncos won in La Ronge when Hrynkiw stopped 74 of 78 shots over two games. Both those games last weekend in La Ronge went to a shootout. Hrynkiw won both. Including a shootout that went 17 rounds. Hrynkiw made saves on 16 straight shooters to steal the win for Humboldt.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • Not available. Roger Tagoona was pretty good against Flin Flon offensively. He scored and his line had some other chances. Tagoona had a third period deflection that just missed as well. But as a team they’ve been struggling.

Players to Watch:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • Taylor Duzan. The diminutive forward plays a big game. He is a lot of fun to watch and very shifty with the puck. The former Klipper is always worth watching.
  • Robbie Ciolfi. Last time Humboldt was at the Civic Center Ciolfi missed the game. That’s too bad for fans who like to see good players in action. Earlier in the season Ciolfi had a 2 goals and an assist at the Civic Center when the Stars won 6-4 thanks to a Blake Tatchell hatty.

Battlefords North Stars

  • I don’t know if Blake Tatchell, Tim Rollins and Boyd Wakelin will all be back in the lineup tonight as all 3 missed the Flin Flon game. So lets keep our eyes on Woody Klassen. After a very hot start to his season since returning from Greenville Woody has cooled off of late. He’ll want to head into the Christmas break on the right note. I expect a big game.

Head to Head:

  • Battlefords 0 @ Humboldt 5 (Dec 11 2011)
  • Humboldt 1 @ Battlefords 2 (Nov 5 2011)
  • Humboldt 4 @ Battlefords 6 (Oct 28 2011)
  • Battlefords 5 @ Humboldt 4 (Oct 7 2011)
  • The North Stars and Broncos effectively split the season series last year. They both picked up 7 points in the games between the two teams last season.
  • Brett Miller, Tanner Schwab and Blake Tatchell have all averaged a point a game or better this year against Humboldt.
  • Matt Backhouse, Andrew Johnston and Robbie Ciolfi have all done the same against the Stars. Ciolfi has a very impressive 8 points in 3 games against the Battlefords North Stars.

Special Teams:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • PP – 18.1% (9th) PK – 83% (2nd)

Battlefords North Stars:

  • PP – 18.2% (8th) PK – 79.5% (10th)
  • The Stars were 6th in PK before the Flin Flon game. They’re special teams, much like their goals against and goal differential, took a beating in that game.

Other Notes:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • Neither of Humboldt’s current goaltenders has faced the Stars this year. Deven Dubyk is now gone to Red Deer and won’t be back. He has 3 starts against the Stars. Tyler Marble got the other. Matt Hrynkiw and the newly acquired Colin Dzijacky have yet to see the Stars.

Battlefords North Stars

  • One advantage the Stars have over their opponents is offense from the backend. The Stars’ Brody Luhning still leads the league in scoring by a defenceman and Woody Klassen, despite playing just 19 games so far, is also in the top ten. Zach MacLellan is 13th. No other team has 3 D men ranked that high in the league. Weyburn has 3 in the top 17.

The Big Stat(s):

  • 19 goals against. The last 3 games the Stars have allowed 19 goals. The North Stars defensive play has been a key part of their success and the aspect of their game that they take the most pride in. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Stars will return to being a very tough team to score against. They will need to tonight. The Broncos lead the SJHL in goals scored with 156.
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