North Stars Awards Banquet

Here is a list of last night’s award winners from the North Stars Awards Banquet. These awards were selected by the coaching staff.

 

Most Valuable Player: Blake Tatchell (Sponsored by Bridges Pontiac Buick)

Blake was the recipient of the SJHL MVP award as voted on by the Coaches and General Managers throughout the League. He possesses speed, creativity, and the ability to go where the puck is going before the puck got there, a characteristic mastered by the “Great One”. Blake is a player that makes the players around him better; not only his teammates, but the opposition as well.

 

Top Defenseman: Brody Luhning (Sponsored by Knights of Columbus)

Brody lead the North Stars defense in scoring this season, compiling 40 points in 53 games during the regular season and 10 points in 13 games during the play-offs which was amongst top three in the League all season. Brody was a leader when it came to protecting the team, keeping the dressing room light when emotions were intense, and coming to a teammate’s aid when called upon on the ice.

 

Top Scorer: Blake Tatchell (Sponsored by Risling Transport)

Blake Tatchell lead the North Stars in scoring for back to back seasons now, compiling 86 points in 57 games this season, second only to Ian McNulty in League scoring. Combine that with the 74 points in 57 games last season and the 30 points in his rookie season, Blake amassed 190 points in 168 games as a North Star over three seasons.

 

Fans Choice: Blake Tatchell (Sponsored by Bertha Hill in memory of Lil Sorge)

It’s no wonder the fans made this choice with the enthusiasm and highlight reel goals and plays on display from Blake this past season. From scoring end to goals, a shorthanded goal down two players, and physically running over the opposition when challenged, fans are showing their appreciation with his efforts after tallying up the votes. Blake will now continue to entertain his current fans and all of his new fans on a full scholarship to the University of Alaska Anchorage for the next 4 seasons!

 

Play-off MVP: Woody Klassen (Sponsored by UAP/NAPA Auto Parts)

When Woody returned to the North Stars it boosted an already potent defensive roster. For back to back seasons, Woody was a recipient of the North Stars top defenseman award, and after only playing 36 games this season, Woody recorded 34 points. Woody gave 4 seasons to the North Stars Organization accumulating 116 points in 190 regular season games, and on numerous occasions took the roof off buildings with his strong physical play. Woody was inspiring in this season’s play-offs, blocking shots, killing penalties, and leading a team to within an overtime goal of a second chance at a another game 7.

 

Rookies of the Year: Tanner Quinn/ Ryne Keller (In memory of Alvin Gessner)

The co-recipients of this award, both became fan favorites and were key contributing members of record breaking numbers for the 2011-12 North Stars Hockey Team. Both played fearless, finishing every check, blocking shots, and jumping to the aid of fallen teammates. Timely goals were scored throughout the season which changed momentum and motivated the team. Both Tanner and Ryne were perfect examples of what it means to never complain, never whine, and never make excuses.

 

Most Improved: Dillon Forbes (Sponsored by Bannerman Photography)

Dillon was a tireless worker all season, taking every opportunity to improve the fundamentals of his game. This became more evident as the season progressed and the team entered the play-offs where Dillon carried himself with poise, always determined to compete for every battle. In 53 games this season, Dillon accumulated 15 points and amassed 85 pims. Dillon was an ambassador in the community and represented the North Stars with Pride and Class

 

Humanitarian: Jared Samborski

Jared Samborski showed a great deal of enthusiasm when spending time out in the community. With community involvement being a priority for the club this season, Jared displayed an ideal example of what the club hopes to portray. He was always eager to interact with fans, and approached every team activity with a friendly and positive attitude. Jared certainly left an impression on the youth he met through community activities.

 

Most Dedicated: Woody Klassen (Sponsored by Billie Choque)

Woody Klassen is goal driven and determined to improve all aspects of his game. From the countless hours he spends in the gym, to the structured daily routines he follows; he provided the younger players direction and proof of what it will take to advance to the next level. Woody not only committed this time to himself, he also committed his time and energy to the needs of the hockey team, assisting and encouraging others to work as hard for the benefit of the team. To further enhance this process, Woody always takes a positive enthusiastic approach to everything he does and brings that out in others as well.

 

Scholarship

Every year, Northwest Hockey Development provides one graduating North Stars player with a scholarship for $2500. This scholarship goes towards a player planning to continue their education, and it was presented to Graham Hildebrand.

Interviews with the Stars from Monday

Here they are, the interviews I did with Coach Kevin Hasselberg, Captain Travis Sparrow, Graham Hildebrand and Blake Tatchell. These all aired on CJNB/CJNS Monday night on the Co-op Leisure Time Sports Fix.

Thank You

I have been trying to write something on the blog for the past couple days and I just don’t know where to start. A part of me still can’t believe that the season is over already. It seems like just yesterday I was accepting the job and turning my life upside down, not for the first time, to move to a new city and learn a new team and league. It was pretty stressful making my way out to a province I had barely been to before and making it my home. Not to mention learning a new job, new computer systems, and as mentioned I had to learn about the North Stars and the SJHL as well.

The first time I met the team was at the rally that the radio station had in the parking lot which I think was my second day on the job. It was pretty nerve wracking and I don’t remember much other than interviewing a few of the players and Coach Hasselberg and meeting some fans. And like I said when I really think about it that first meeting feels like it happened moments ago and not months ago. The first game I called was the second game I had ever seen the Stars play and it was a 5-1 loss to Kindersley on opening night. Graham Hildebrand got pulled and the Stars did not look good. To be honest I kind of wondered what I had gotten myself into coming to the Battlefords. The season only got better and better from that point.

There are so many good memories that I take with me now that the season is over. From that first road trip and getting to know Coach Atcheynum to meeting all the other media guys around the league. The showcase weekend in Estevan is one of my favourite memories. Seeing that building for the first time and having scouts, coaches and players from almost all the teams around all the time to talk to was incredible. The late goals early in the season from Boyd Wakelin stand out. In Kindersley and in Nipawin. The one against the Hawks was to tie the game but the Stars lost in a shootout. Tanner Schwab scored a late goal to beat the Humboldt Broncos. There were trips to La Ronge and Flin Flon and a couple of Southern road trips as well. All great memories. The 9 game and then 13 game winning streaks will stand out for a long time as well. If my memory serves me that second streak, the 13 gamer, included a 3 in 3 night sweep of a Southern road trip. I still remember Brody Luhning’s game tying goal that sent the game in Notre Dame to a shootout. And interviewing Kyle Hall after the game outside the bus in the freezing cold and realizing that Hallzy only gives 5-6 second answers tops….but they are great answers. I remember talking to Brett Miller after a game in Nipawin during that streak as well. Just before that streak Woody Klassen returned and played a game despite looking like he was about to fall asleep. He’d just flown in that day. And of course I will always remember having the best seat in the house every night, except in La Ronge, as Blake Tatchell worked his magic. Plus let us be honest here no one who saw that Estevan game at the Civic Center when the Stars won 7-6 will ever forget it.

Getting to know the bus drivers, Dale Jackson and Missy Reiter and of course the coaches. Blair has some fantastic stories that everyone should get to hear at some point. And of course the parents of pretty much every player that took the time to say so many kind things to me over the course of the season. It’s sad that I won’t see some of them around the rinks of the SJHL anymore. There are so many little things that stand out about a whole season that it’s hard to put into words. But I know as the memories fade with time and they have to be jogged with reading this blog or old game stories or old box scores I know there will be some memories that will never fade. That game 6 in Nipawin and the Stars fans that night. I’ll never forget that. And then there is game 7 and Roger Tagoona’s game winner. I don’t think I will ever get the imagine of Graham Hildebrand face down on the ice at the end of game 6 of the Humboldt series and then looking up to see the North Stars fans standing to salute this team for their wonderful season. It almost brought tears to my eyes. I don’t cheer for the North Stars but after getting to know these kids all season I was rooting for them to have success and the Stars fans to be rewarded for being the best fans in the league.

This was the most amazing season I have ever witnessed as a broadcaster. It was also the best group of young men that I have ever had the privilege of covering on a daily basis. One day this summer I am going to go back and read every post I wrote on this blog this season just to re-live all the great moments. But for now I still need some time to come to grips with the fact that the season really is over.

I want to thank everyone from Stars players, parents and fans to the volunteers that make Stars games possible and the billets as well. Tomorrow night is the Stars awards banquet and hopefully I will get a chance to thank them as I am the emcee for the evening. But I figured I should write it here as well.

(I will post some more tomorrow night after the awards ceremony and at some point I will start looking towards next season as well. I am also working on getting that audio on the blog from Monday night’s Sports Fix. That could happen as early as tomorrow. I am also planning a bachelor party and have some volunteer stuff I am working on as well that kind of got put off during the playoffs so I am trying to get all caught up. Thank you for your patience.)

Stars lose 4-3 in OT and drop Bauer final 4-2

First of all congratulations out to the Battlefords North Stars on a great season and a great playoffs. I will have lots more on the season that was here on the blog and on the radio station in the next few days. I also want to say congratulations to the Humboldt Broncos players, coaches and fans as well. A great team that has a real shot at a National title. Hope they bring it home as it would be good for the SJHL. It’s a shame these two teams had to meet now and not in the RBC Cup final. But for the North Stars there’s no shame in giving it your all and coming up a little short. No shame in losing to a great team and proving along the way that you have greatness in you as well. It’s been an amazing ride and like I said I will have lots more coming up in the next few days.

 

Also I should mention that I did a somewhat shorter postgame show tonight. The Stars coaches were in the locker room for a long time tonight for obvious reasons. Tune in tomorrow night to the C0-op Leisure Time Sports Fix on CJNB/CJNS and I will have a lot more on the game last night and the series and the season. And I will try to post some audio on the blog in the coming days as well.

SJHL Playoffs – Bauer Final Game 6: Humboldt Broncos at Battlefords North Stars

The Battlefords North Stars avoided elimination, again, in game 5 by skating to a dramatic 2-1 overtime win at the Civic Center. Once again the Stars will look to perform their best with their season on the line tonight. When the Stars were down 3-0 in this series they had a MASSIVE hill to climb. They are halfway up that hill and now comes the hard part. It’s only going to get tougher for either team to find a win in this series. The longer it goes the more desperate both teams will get.

Recent Game:

  • The recap of game 5 is on the blog.

Who’s Hot:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • Robbie Ciolfi. This guy is unbelievable. Has at least one point in every playoff game and looks dangerous almost every time he has the puck on his stick.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • Graham Hildebrand and the Stars D. They’ve allowed just 2 goals in the last 2 games. At times the D has been excellent limiting shots and scoring chances. And when they’ve been a little off, like period 2 of game 5, Hildy has been there to bail them out and slam the door shut.

Players to Watch:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • Matt Backhouse. Turned the puck over on the game winning goal in OT last time out. He is a very good two way D man and will be looking to make amends tonight. John Lawrence is another player to watch. He scored the Broncos lone goal in game 5. The previous game at the Civic Center he should have scored. He’s been very good so far in the playoffs.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • Tanner Schwab. Scored the game winner last time out. I wonder if Schwab will get hot after such a big goal. The other player to watch for me is going to be Blake Tatchell. He hasn’t had one of those Tatchell-esque games where he scores a couple and sets up a couple. The Broncos have done a good job targeting Tatchell and shutting him down. Will he bust out tonight?

Regular Season Head to Head:

  • Regular Season Meetings:
    Battlefords 0 @ Humboldt 1 (Jan 15 2012)
    Humboldt 3 @ Battlefords 2 (Dec 21 2011)
    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)
  • Head to Head Leaders:
    Robbie Ciolfi – 5Gp – 4G – 4A – 8PTS
    Andrew Johnston – 6GP – 3G – 5A – 8PTS
    Brett Miller – 6GP – 5A – 1A – 6PTS
    Blake Tatchell – 6GP – 3G – 2A – 5PTS
    Tanner Schwab – 6GP – 2G – 3A – 5PTS

Playoffs:

  • Playoff Meetings:
    Battlefords 4 @ Humboldt 9 (Mar 16 2012)
    Humboldt 3 @ Battlefords 1 (Mar 17 2012)
    Battlefords 1 @ Humboldt 7 (Mar 20 2012)
    Humboldt 1 @ Battlefords 3 (Mar 21 2012)
  • Playoff Leader:
    Blake Tatchell – 12GP – 4G – 8A – 12PTS
    Robbie Ciolfi – 9GP – 12G – 5A – 17PTS

Playoff Special Teams:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • PP –  11-41 (26.8%) PK – 38-41 (92.7%)

Battlefords North Stars

  • PP – 6-41 (14.6%) PK – 33-43 (76.7%)

Other Notes:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • The Broncos have started Colin Dzijacky in both games at the Civic Center in this series so you can expect he will be between the pipes for the Broncos. There will be some lineup changes for the Broncos for tonight’s game though so you will want to try and tune in for the pre-game show at 7:15 on CJNB/CJNS and we will break down the changes for you.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • The Stars will be without Boyd Wakelin who has apparently been suspended. Brett Miller and Tim Rollins were both day to day according to the coaching staff after game 5. We do know that Klay Kachur will return from suspension and he, as well as Dillon Forbes, is capable of playing as a forward. The Stars also have Blake Young to call on if they need to bring in another fresh and healthy body.

The Big Stat(s):

  • 45. The Broncos had 45 shots in game 5. That’s about 20 too many for the Stars liking. They want to limit their opponents shots on goal and keeping the Broncos in the 20-25 range would be ideal for the Stars. We will see if they are able to control the game a little better tonight, particularly in the second period which is where they struggled in game 5, and keep the Broncos shots and scoring chances down.

Tanner Schwab wins game 5 in OT

Stars win 2-1 in OT to force a Game 6

The Battlefords North Stars continue to battle and show great character in their series with the Humboldt Broncos. The Stars have won twice in a row to get the series to 3-2 in favour of the Broncos.

The Stars came out strong in the first period tonight and I thought in the first 5 minutes were really strong. It started with a good shift by Boyd Wakelin and his line mates to draw a penalty. I believe it was Tanner Schwab who was taken down. The Stars had a good power play and moved the puck well but were unable to score. They built some momentum from that PP though and continued to play well outshooting the Broncos 5-0 in the early going. But give Humboldt credit they are a strong team with a good coaching staff and they got it going and by the end of the period the overall play was pretty even. The shots were 11-9 Broncos by the end of the period and both teams had chances that they spurned on the power play. The Stars ended up going 0-3 on the man advantage in the first frame. The Broncos were 0-2. There were a couple key plays in the period and the first was a hit by Emrik Guillemette on Brett Miller. Miller went off slowly after the hit, which was clean, and Miller did not return. It looked like he went awkwardly into the side boards on the play and he is now listed as day to day with an upper body injury. (I say listed but in reality there isn’t a list) The Stars also have Tim Rollins out day to day with a facial injury. But they will get Klay Kachur back from suspension.

Late in the first Andrew Johnston his Jordan Ethier from behind into the boards in front of the Stars bench. It was a dangerous hit by Johnston and he got a game misconduct. It was one of those plays though that happen in hockey. Guys are trying to do the right thing but it goes very fast out there on the ice. As I said on the broadcast I don’t think Johnston is a dirty player it was just an unfortunate play and I am glad that no one got hurt. The Stars couldn’t score on that power play and the period ended 0-0.

In the second period the Humboldt Broncos scored to take a lead. They could have scored more. It wasn’t a very good period for the Stars in fact except for one player and that was Graham Hildebrand. He faced 16 shots in the frame and stopped 15 of them. The best save of the bunch was probably when Robbie Ciolfi got a step down the wing and Hildebrand made a pad save. The only one that beat him was a John Lawrence shot on a nice set up by Robbie Ciolfi and Cody Pettapiece. The Stars also took some penalties in the period an interference call on Newton off a face off and Klassen late in the period sandwiched around a Boyd Wakelin boarding call. The big difference for me between the Johnston hit and the Wakelin hit was the fact that Ethier was a couple feet from the boards and Herle was right up against them when Wakes hit him. That was probably what saved the Stars forward from being sent to the showers. Herle was fired up after that and all game through some big hits. I felt a couple he was jumping and that is something the Refs should keep an eye on. But I imagine it was just Herle with some over exuberance at times and not an attempt to injure anyone. He didn’t take a penalty for any of his hits so the Refs must have been okay with it.

Woody Klassen took a late penalty that would wrap around into the third period if the Stars could kill it off and they did in part because of Ryne Keller. He blocked a shot with a few seconds left in the second period and despite being hobbled and in pain went and stood in front of another shot that he blocked just before the horn sounded. Inspirational stuff from the Stars forward.

So the Stars came out and had to put a bad period behind them. They did that with an excellent 10 plus minutes to start the third period that included finishing off that penalty kill to get Klassen back out of the box. The strong Stars play led to some chances but Matt Hrynkiw made some very good saves as he and Hildebrand had a duel going. The Stars had a power play on a Ballas trip midway through the period but again were unable to score. About a minute later though the game was tied and it was Kyle Hall who played the role of hero. He was able to skate down the right wing a flip a back hander top corner past Hrynkiw. Braeden Johnson picked up the assist on the play. The Broncos goalie really saved the game a few minutes later when Blake Tatchell hacked the puck towards the net. It was bouncing around and Tatchell didn’t get all of it but there was a lot of net to shoot at and somehow Hrynkiw got across to make an unreal glove save.

Moments later Robbie Ciolfi got a step on the Stars D and was taken down by Travis Sparrow on his way in on the Stars goalie. That led to a penalty shot and the league’s leading playoff scorer had the series on his stick. Hildebrand made a good glove save to keep it tied. The Stars had played two previous overtimes in these playoffs so far and neither had gone longer than a minute. There were a couple chances early to end the game but both goalies made some good saves.

The OT period started to settle down with very few shots in a 5 or 6 minutes stretch while both teams fought the puck a little. There was some back and forth play but without the puck going towards the net. That was until Tanner Schwab stole the puck in Bronco territory. He had a half step on the Bronco D and made it count. Schwab wound up with a “half clap”, which is a Tanner Schwab specialty, and blasted the puck past Matt Hrynkiw. Having seen the replay it wasnt even a half clap it was more of a “quarter clap”. I didn’t see where it beat the goalie to be honest because when there is a chance like that I usually look past the goalie into the net to see the puck ripple the mesh. I like to do that to make sure I see the goal, and tell you about it, as quickly as possible. I saw the puck hit mesh and I let loose. A big goal for the Stars to prolong their season and the series to a game 6 Sunday night at the Civic Center.

Tickets for game 6 will go on sale tomorrow at 9am until 4pm at the Civic Center. And tickets will also be on sale the day of the game Sunday from 12-4pm. I will be there and I hope to see you there. Whoever wins Sunday I know it will be a great game between two very good teams. This is what hockey and the playoffs are all about.

;

*Update – I wanted to send a shoutout to both sets of fans in the arena tonight. Just in terms of the volume and the number of people. That was a great crowd and both sets of fans helped created an amazing atmosphere. Well done to the Broncos and Stars fans in attendance.

SJHL Playoffs – Bauer Final Game 5: Battlefords North Stars at Humboldt Broncos

The Battlefords North Stars avoided elimination in game 4 by skating to a 3-1 win at the Civic Center. Once again the Stars will look to perform their best with their season on the line tonight.

Recent Game:

  • The recap of game 4 is on the blog.

Who’s Hot:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • Robbie Ciolfi. This guy is unbelievable. Another goal in game 4 gives him an 8 game playoff point streak, that’s every game the Broncos have played, and 12 goals in total so far in the post season. The Stars need to find a way to slow this guy down a little.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • Graham Hildebrand had a good game in net in game 4 picking up the win and getting an assist as well. He stopped 22 of the 23 shots that he faced to pick up his first playoff win since game 1 of the Nipawin series.

Players to Watch:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • There will be several Broncos to watch depending who draws into the lineup. Will Taylor Duzan get back in tonight? What about Landry or Sproule? The Broncos can rotate some guys in that will hopefully, from their perspective, be healthy and fresh.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • Boyd Wakelin. Seems to be one of those guys who raises his game when the game is on the line. Wakes did have a bad turnover in the first period of game 1 that led to a goal. But he was excellent other than that error. He and his line mates really set a good example with their first shift of the game. Robbie Newton, Tanner Schwab and Boyd Waeklin (if they are together as a line tonight) is a group to watch in game 5.

Regular Season Head to Head:

  • Regular Season Meetings:
    Battlefords 0 @ Humboldt 1 (Jan 15 2012)
    Humboldt 3 @ Battlefords 2 (Dec 21 2011)
    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)
  • Head to Head Leaders:
    Robbie Ciolfi – 5Gp – 4G – 4A – 8PTS
    Andrew Johnston – 6GP – 3G – 5A – 8PTS
    Brett Miller – 6GP – 5A – 1A – 6PTS
    Blake Tatchell – 6GP – 3G – 2A – 5PTS
    Tanner Schwab – 6GP – 2G – 3A – 5PTS

Playoffs:

  • Playoff Meetings:
    Battlefords 4 @ Humboldt 9 (Mar 16 2012)
    Humboldt 3 @ Battlefords 1 (Mar 17 2012)
    Battlefords 1 @ Humboldt 7 (Mar 20 2012)
    Humboldt 1 @ Battlefords 3 (Mar 21 2012)
  • Playoff Leader:
    Blake Tatchell – 11GP – 4G – 8A – 12PTS
    Robbie Ciolfi – 8GP – 12G – 4A – 16PTS

Playoff Special Teams:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • PP –  11-36 (30.6%) PK – 34-37 (91.9%)

Battlefords North Stars

  • PP – 6-37 (16.7%) PK – 28-38 (73.7%)

The Big Stat(s):

  • 4-0. The Stars record so far in the playoffs when facing elimination. They have shown great character all season and through the playoffs so far when their backs are against the wall.

Stars win 3-1 over Humboldt to force a game 5

The Battlefords North Stars got a late game winner from MVP Blake Tatchell and avoided elimination on home ice last night. They will now play a game 5 tomorrow night in Humboldt.

It wasn’t the best the Stars could play but it was a big step in the right direction. I still think the Stars have another gear or two but it was nice to see them step up the physical play last night and get back to a North Star style hockey game. Graham Hildebrand got the start in net and was excellent making 22 saves and picking up an assist in the win.

The first period was a very even period with both teams going o for 1 on the power play and firing 9 shots on goal. The Stars started with Wakelin, Schwab and Newton who had a very good shift to open the game and set the tone nicely. They had a number of those momentum buidling type of shifts throughout the game. The penalties didn’t come until late in the frame and the Broncos first power play actually wrapped around into the second period. It was the Stars who opened the scoring when Brett Miller and Blake Tatchell combined to get the puck to a speedy Jordan Ethier. He raced down the right wing and used his speed to beat his man wide and get to the front of the net. It’s something the Stars need to do a lot more of in this series. Too many times they get to a good spot and instead of turning the corner to go to the net they head in deep or the puck gets knocked away. Ethier did a great job and was rewarded with his first goal of the playoffs 4:04 into the first period.

The Broncos tied it up midway through the frame when John Lawrence set up Robbie Ciolfi out front and he scored easily. It was his 12th of the playoffs. That kid has been amazing and baring something strange happening looks likely to lead the league in playoffs scoring again. It was unfortunate that Boyd Wakelin was the one who turned the puck over leading to that goal because I thought otherwise he had a great game. On the breakout Wakes skated in behind the net and picked up the puck. As he was swopping up the wing he dropped the puck off for Mitch Berg but it was Lawrence who was on hand to steal the puck and set up the goal.

Lawrence had a great chance himself not long after that but he fired his one timer wide. He was in a great position and Graham Hildebrand was doing the splits trying to go post to post and the puck slid underneath the Stars goalie through his 5 hole and out the other side. It was a let off for the Stars.

The physical play and hitting was more noticeable than previous games in the series and I thought Brett Miller was heavily involved all night and certainly in the first period. He took a couple big hits and dished a couple big hits as well. One collision with Andrew Herle was particularly hefty and I was glad to see both guys were okay. The Stars got a late first period power play when Boyd Wakelin was hit from behind by Taylor Johnson. The Stars were hoping for more but they did get a 2 minute power play that was unable to get much going. Late in the frame with Andrew Herle in behind the net of Graham Hildebrand Matt Sheeran got a cross checking penalty when he hit Herle. The Bronco forward went down easily on the play but I don’t mean to suggest he took a dive. I think he just wanted an excuse to flop down on the puck and waste the last few seconds of the period. Sheeran ended up with a penalty that was hard to argue against.

There was no scoring in the second period but lots of stuff was going on. The Stars killed that early Humboldt man advantage and then drew a tripping call on Adam Antkowiak, his first of the game and the second one was a big one, but were unable to score. During that power play Woody Klassen took a stick up high and was leaking blood all over the place. In the high slot, in the neutral zone, and on the bench. The evidence of the missed call was everywhere. The Stars should have had a 5 on 3 and it should have been a double minor. The second period was when the Stars really started to take over a little more and the shots at one point were 13-3 in their favour. But by the end of the period they were much closer. That was because the Stars got in penalty trouble. Braeden Johnson took an interference call off an attacking zone face off that freed up Woody Klassen in all kinds of space. Johnny didn’t complain as he made his way off the ice. Graham Hildebrand made a couple nice saves to help that PK but after one of those saves Tanner Quinn didn’t like the way the Broncos were whacking away for loose pucks and he came in and hammered one of them down to the ice, it might have been Herle, and took a roughing call. That penalty overlapped with Johnson’s penalty by 17 seconds. The Stars killed that 5 on 3 time off and then after Johnson returned Hildebrand made 2 more good saves including one with the blocker to keep the score tied.

Just 10 seconds after Quinn returned the Stars were short handed again. Travis Sparrow looked like he was going to step up and hit Taylor Johnson in the neutral zone in front of the Bronco bench but then pulled up when Johnson missed the puck. It then looked to me like the Bronco forward kind of skated into Sparrow and went down holding his face. The Refs initially called an elbow but then changed it to a hit to the head and gave the Stars captain 2 and 10. I was on the other side of the ice from the point of contact and I haven’t seen a replay, I usually only see the replays when we are on the road as I watch Kevin break down the game tape, so I don’t know if there was an elbow involved or not. The hit was on the other side of Sparrow’s body from my vantage point and I couldn’t see it. Plus as I have said recently these things happen so fast. I think the size difference was a factor in Johnson going down so heavily. None the less the Stars managed to kill of that power play for the Broncos as well. By this time all the PK work was getting the fans fired up, as were some of the calls, and it felt like the Stars had a lot of momentum heading to the third.

I wasn’t expecting the Stars to come out guns blazing in search of a game winning goal and they didn’t. They want to keep things tight against this Bronco team and win the low scoring, grind it out type of game. So they kept at that style in the third. They ended up limiting the Broncos to just 4 shots in the final frame. The Stars also felt like the Refs owed them a couple calls and they got those as well. Andrew Herle took a roughing call that he didn’t like at all about midway through the period but the Stars couldn’t capitalize. Later in the period with about 6 minutes left Kyle Hall’s speed drew a hooking call on Jonathan Parisien. With the big Quebec native in the box the Stars speedy forward got some PP time and Hall drew another penalty with his speed. It was a tripping call against Adam Antkowiak as he stuck his stick right into Hall’s skates as he blew by the big Bronco forward. The Stars were struggling a little to create chances and it looked like the Broncos were going to get away with the penalties and kill off the 5 on 3 power play when Blake Tatchell stood up. He took the puck at the top of the face off circle to the goalies right and blasted a slap shot by the blocker. Woody Klassen picked up the assist and the Stars were in front with a little under 6 minutes to go.

Once again the D was outstanding as the Broncos weren’t able to get many pucks through towards Hildebrand and the Broncos were forced to pull their goalie for the extra attacked. Brett Miller just wanted a whistle as the Broncos were buzzing with that extra skater and so Miller decided despite the fact that he would have to stay out for a face off he would ice the puck and get a chance to reorganize the Stars D zone coverage. But it didn’t work out that way as Miller’s shoot in found it’s way into the back of the net. It got up on end and rolled perfectly right into the middle of the goal. That made it 3-1 and pretty much sealed the victory for the Stars.

I thought every line contributed in their own way last night and guys played their roles perfectly. They limited the Broncos shots and chances and played North Stars style defense first hockey. But I still think they can play even better. They can still go to another level. This is a very good hockey team that played a very good game. In order to win again on Friday on the road in Humboldt I think it will take a great game to avoid elimination. Not just a good one. But the Stars are more than capable of winning in that barn they’ve done it a couple times this season and they are very good with their backs against the wall. The Stars are now 4-0 when facing elimination so far in these playoffs.

SJHL Playoffs – Bauer Final Game 4: Humboldt Broncos at Battlefords North Stars

The Battlefords North Stars lost game 3 in Humboldt by a score of 7-1. The Broncos now lead the series 3 games to none and with a win tonight would move on to the SJHL finals where they would await the winner of Melville and Weyburn. If the Stars win there will be a game 5 Friday night in Humboldt.

Recent Game:

  • The Stars lost in Humboldt 7-1. The recap of that game is on the blog.

Who’s Hot:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • Robbie Ciolfi. He scored 4 more points last night. 2 goals last night gives him 11 so far in the playoffs. He has more goals, and of course points, than anyone else has points so far in the playoffs. He’s been as elite as it gets so far. He was hit hard a couple times last night and we will see how he responds.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • I don’t really know what to say at this point. I don’t think the Stars have anyone playing their best hockey right now.

Regular Season Head to Head:

  • Regular Season Meetings:
    Battlefords 0 @ Humboldt 1 (Jan 15 2012)
    Humboldt 3 @ Battlefords 2 (Dec 21 2011)
    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)
  • Head to Head Leaders:
    Robbie Ciolfi – 5Gp – 4G – 4A – 8PTS
    Andrew Johnston – 6GP – 3G – 5A – 8PTS
    Brett Miller – 6GP – 5A – 1A – 6PTS
    Blake Tatchell – 6GP – 3G – 2A – 5PTS
    Tanner Schwab – 6GP – 2G – 3A – 5PTS

Playoffs:

  • Playoff Meetings:
    Battlefords 4 @ Humboldt 9 (Mar 16 2012)
    Humbolst 3 @ Battlefords 1 (Mar 17 2012)
    Battlefords 1 @ Humboldt 7 (Mar 20 2012)
  • Playoff Leader:
    Blake Tatchell – 10GP – 3G – 7A – 10PTS
    Robbie Ciolfi – 7GP – 11G – 4A – 15PTS

Playoff Special Teams:

Humboldt Broncos:

  • PP –  11-31 (35.5%) PK – 30-32 (93.8%)

Battlefords North Stars

  • PP – 5-32 (15.6%) PK – 23-33 (69.7%)

The Big Stat(s):

  • Just about every stat I have looked at shows the Broncos have been dominating the SJHL playoffs. The Stars are in very tough tonight to extend the series. But I guess all you can do is go out and try to find a way to win. Coach Hasselberg said last night that the Stars won’t give up and will work as hard as they’ve worked all season tonight. I hope he is right. I would love to jump on a bud Friday and head to Humboldt.