SJHL Game #42: Nipawin Hawks at Battlefords North Stars

So I rallied down to Humboldt last night to check out the Broncos and Ice Wolves. Those are the Stars next two opponents after tonight’s game. So it would be easy to maybe look past the Hawks a little bit. That would be a mistake. Nipawin comes in to tonight’s game hot. They’ve won 5 in a row and are coming off a 7-1 win where they hammered Kindersley. So tonight’s game is a big one at the Civic Center. By the way for those wondering I did in fact see Coach Hasselberg in Humboldt last night. I didn’t think he would pass up a chance to see the Stars next two opponents in action.

Recent Game:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • Played two nights ago and crushed the Kindersley Klippers. Not surprisingly Wheaton King was great for the Hawks. He’s a solid player who can be dominant at times. And playing against his former team the day after he was traded you always had a feeling he would put on a show. The Stars will have to be careful with King.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • The North Stars picked up a 5-3 win over Weyburn. The Stars have now won 2 in a row. But those games were all before the trade deadline. This is a different looking team. By the way I am not sure if I mentioned this anywhere yet but I was speaking with Blake Tatchell the other day at Stars practice. He said he’s 100% healthy and feeling great for the first time in a long time. He was good against the Red Wings.

Who’s Hot:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • The previously mentioned Wheaton King. He had 3 points in his last game.
  • Jutsin Waskewitch. His strong play coincides with the Hawks resurgence. Waskewitch is on a 7 game point streak which is currently the longest such streak in the league. In that span he has 9 points and the Hawks have won 5 times.
  • Adam Reichert. Is on a 4 game point streak and has 6 assists in that span.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • Roger Tagoona is on a 4 game point streak for the Stars. He has 2 goals and 2 assists in that span.
  • Blake Tatchell. Had 3 points last time out. He hadn’t scored in 4 games prior to that. So maybe he isn’t hot yet but he is definitely showing signs of heating up. He may even soon be on fire.

Players to Watch:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • Normally I would say Tad Kozun. But he broke his leg and may be done for the season. The Hawks are a dynamic, fast and pretty young team. There are lots of players worth watching in the Hawks lineup. I know he played well the other night so I am interested to see who Wheaton King is playing with and to see how he follows up that performance against Kindersley.

Battlefords North Stars

  • This is pretty easy. The new guys Berg and Kachur. All eyes will be on the two newest Stars tonight as we start to find out exactly what the Stars picked up at the deadline. We know they are big and talented D men. I am sure I am not alone in looking forward to watching these guys play their first games with the North Stars.

Head to Head:

  • Nipawin Hawks 6 @ Battlefords North Stars 4 (Sep. 30th, 2011)
  • Battlefords North Stars 3 @ Nipawin Hawks 4 (SO) (Oct. 4th, 2011)
  • Battlefords North Stars 2 @ Nipawin Hawks 2 (Oct. 11th, 2011)
  • Nipawin Hawks 1 @ Battlefords North Stars 2 (Oct. 21st, 2011)
  • Battlefords North Stars 5 @ Nipawin Hawks 2 (Nov. 22nd, 2011)
  • Tonight is the last meeting of the season between these two teams.
  • Blake Tatchell leads all scorers with 5 goals and 8 points in 5 games so far this season against the Hawks.

Special Teams:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • PP – 20.2 (4th) PK – 83.2 (T-2nd)

Battlefords North Stars:

  • PP – 19.4 (5th) PK – 79.3 (9th)

Other Notes:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • No one other than Humboldt has played better in their last 10 games than the Nipawin Hawks who have won 7 games in that time. They started the year hot and are getting back to that level again. They are a young team so that might explain why they have had some swings in either direction. Perhaps they are still learning how to win consistently in this league?
  • I mentioned it in passing above but Tad Kozun is out with a broken leg. He is a dynamic young offensive forward and his loss is a big one for the Hawks. He could return this season depending on how the Hawks do in the playoffs.
  • With a victory Nipawin would only be 2 points back of La Ronge pending their outcome of the Ice Wolves game in Estevan. Having home ice in a potential survivor series with La Ronge would be MASSIVE for the Hawks.

Battlefords North Stars

  • The North Stars will be without captain Travis Sparrow because, much like Rod Farva, his suspension continues. He will be serving the final game of his 4 game suspension. You gotta love that timing. It means he will be available Sunday night when the Stars travel to Humoldt to face the Broncos. That game will be live on CJNB/CJNS and it another contest I am very much looking forward to calling. More on that later.
  • This is the Stars 42nd game of the season. That will still leave them 3 short of the number that Humboldt have played. That means the Stars have 4 games to make up 5 points in the standings to get first place back. Of course one of their upcoming games is against Humboldt so that has a big say in the battle for first in the league.

The Big Stat(s):

  • .756 – That’s the North Stars current winning percentage. That’s still the highest in the league. Despite a recent 4 game slide and the fact that Humboldt have won 15 in a row. The Stars winning percentage is till higher than anyone else and that shows just how good they were early in the season. They are looking to get back to that level tonight.
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