SJHL Game #50: Estevan Bruins at Battlefords North Stars

The North Stars take on the Estevan Bruins tonight at the Civic Center. The Stars have won 5 of their last 6 and after a spirited comeback in Estevan on Sunday night started to look a little like their old selves. The Bruins feature several former North Stars in their lineup and have been playing very well of late. They’ve won 5 of their last 6. There could be some bad blood as the game last time got a little chippy and featured a couple of big hits as well. After tonight the Stars play 5 straight games on the road so head down to the Civic Center. In fact after tonight’s game the Stars will only have 2 regular season games left on home ice.

Recent Game:

Estevan Bruins:

  • The Bruins beat Kindersley 4-0 last night but it wasn’t as easy as the score makes it look. It was tied at zero after 2 periods and the Klippers were playing pretty well. But Steven Glass was good against his former team making 31 saves for the shutout and Matt Dochylo broke the game open early in the third. The Bruins didn’t look back after that.

Battlefords North Stars:

Who’s Hot:

Estevan Bruins:

  • Tyler Paslawski has been solid of late. He has a goal and 3 helpers in his last 5 games.
  • Dylan Smith is on a 4 game point streak. He has 2 goals and 3 assists in that span.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • Blake Tatchell. Two goals in the third period last time out to drag the Stars back into that game in Estevan. This season against the Bruins Tatchell has 4 goals and 3 assists for 7 points in 3 games. The Bruins haven’t been able to figure out how to slow Tatchell down so he could have a big game tonight.

Players to Watch:

Estevan bruins:

  • MacLellan. The North Stars players all really liked Zach. He was a popular player in the locker room. It will be fun to see how the game goes tonight as he plays as a visiting player at the Civic Center for the first time.
  • Matt Brykaliuk. Every time I watch the Bruins warmup Brykaliuk does something crazy good. He scored 53 points in 41 games with the Brandon Wheat Kingd midget AAA team last season. Brykaliuk is 18 and has 18 points in his first SJHL season. He’s going to be very good next season for the Bruins.

Battlefords North Stars

  • The goalie, whoever it is. I don’t know who is going to get the start but  Connor Creech I am sure would like to get back in between the pipes. Graham Hildebrand has started the Stars last 2 games and was excellent in both. Whenever one guy has stepped up his game the other has responded. That’s part of the reason the Stars have been so good this season. With a game tomorrow night in La Ronge I expect to see both goalies and whichever one plays tonight I would expect a strong game.

Head to Head:

  • Battlefords 5 @ Estevan 3 (Jan 29 2012)
  • Estevan 1 @ Battlefords 5 (Nov 29 2011)
  • Battlefords 4 @ Estevan 1 (Nov 19 2011)
  • I mentioned Tatchell’s stats above. He’s been dynamite against Estevan this season.
  • Woody Klassen has 5 points in 3 games against the Bruins and Tanner Quinn has 3 goals in those 3 games.

Special Teams:

Estevan Bruins:

  • PP – 24.6 (1st) PK – 82.3 (5th)

Battlefords North Stars:

  • PP – 19.6 (5th) PK – 80.2 (7th)

Other Notes:

Estevan Bruins:

  • The Bruins are hoping to get back in the race for third and 4th in the Sherwood and avoid a survivor series encounter with Notre Dame. The Bruins are 3 points back of Melville but have played 2 more games so they can’t afford too many more losses this season.

Battlefords North Stars

  • The North Stars are hosting a Shootout Showdown tonight. In the first and second intermissions the Stars top 10 scorers will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Right after the game those 10 Stars players will compete in the Shootout Showdown. Whoever owns the last player standing wins 50% of the money raised during the auction. It’s a pretty cool idea that will hopefully keep fans in their seats right through the game and raise some money. Plus as someone who enjoys shootouts but not to decide a game I am looking forward to watching the event.

The Big Stat(s):

  • 40. Last season just one team in the SJHL, La Ronge, won 40 games. It looks nearly certain that three teams, Humboldt, Weyburn and the North Stars, will accomplish that feat this season. Humboldt will almost certainly finish with more points than the 86 the Ice Wolves picked up last season and the North Stars could as well with a strong finish. Weyburn needs just 7 more points this season to finish with more points than the 76 points accumulated by last year’s top Sherwood team Yorkton.
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