SJHL Playoffs Bauer Semifinal Game 2: Nipawin Hawks at Battlefords North Stars

The Battlefords North Stars travel to face the Nipawin Hawks tonight at the Cage. The Stars won game 1 of the series last night in Nipawin at the Civic Center in front of 2,150 people. The 3-1 win for the Stars was a great example of playoff hockey. Fast paced (after a somewhat slow start due to the long lay off) physical and intense. Not many scoring chances for either team in total although I do think the Stars out chanced the Hawks.

Recent Game:

The weren’t a lot of shots in the first 10 minutes last night as the two teams shook off some rust and had a bit of a feeling out process. Then the Stars started to get going and by the end of the period they were outshooting the Hawks 11-4. The Stars had about another 10-15 shots that the Hawks blocked before they got to Davis Jones. If someone was charting the Stars Corsi rating it would have been very strong. But they only led 1-0 after the frame. An early power play for the Stars had gone by the wayside earlier in the period and it was starting to look like Jones and his shot blockers would hold out until the intermission. But with a little over 4 minutes left Travis Sparrow went behind his net with the puck. The pass went to the corner to the left of Sparrow where Dillon Forbes fired ahead to Blake Tatchell. The pass was a little behind Tatchell who was bursting through the buetral zone with speed. The league’s MVP took the pass in stride and continued racing into Hawks territory. After getting a step on his man Tatchell cut to the front of the net and flipped the puck over the shoulder of Davis Jones. 1-0 North Stars and the massive crowd got it’s first chance to really burst into life. What a incredible din they created when the goal went in.

In the second the Stars were able to start the period on the power play. Jeff Datoff was off for a high stick on Tanner Schwab late in the first and the power play wrapped around into the second period. It looked like the Stars would spurn the chance to go up 2-0 especially when Blake Tatchell and Brody Luhning almost skated into each other on the man advantage. But Tatchell filled in at the point and Luhning carried the puck down the wall to the hash marks. He then walked off the wall and sniped a goal bar down that Jones could do nothing about at his near post. 2-0 North Stars and again the crowd went crazy. The Stars had the best of the chances the rest of the period. Kyle Hall had a chance in that frame that still stands out in my mind. You could see where he wanted to go with the shot but Jones made the save. Graham Hildebrand wasn’t tested often but when he was he made the saves. One paddle down save in the first that jumped out as an important save still sticks in the mind.

So it was 2-0 Stars heading to the third. Davis Jones is the SJHL’s goalie of the year for a reason. He kept his team in the game especially in the second period. And when Dan Szerlip scored to get the Hawks within 1 with 10 minutes to go I immediately thought about Jones and the job he’d done. But the Stars regrouped and got the momentum stemmed. Brett Miller sealed it into the empty net with about 10 seconds to go after Blake Tatchell inexplicably missed the yawning cage. It was a very good performance on home ice and a great start to the playoffs for the Stars. The discipline was a key as the Hawks had just 1 power play and they were unable to convert.

Who’s Hot:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • “Davis Jones is the SJHL’s top goaltender in terms of the league award. Tough to argue with that award. Jones was fantastic especially in the second half of the season.” That’s what I wrote yesterday. I see no reason to chance it. He was excellent last night allowing just 2 goals on 31 shots.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • “Blake Tatchell. The league’s MVP award winner will be fired up for this series.” Am I good or what? I wrote that about Tatchell last night and he had a goal and two assists. Decent outing for the league’s MVP. Brett Miller and Tanner Schwab were also outstanding on that line. I heard some fans saying it was Brett’s best game ever as North Star. I don’t know about that but he was immense.

Players to Watch:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • “Wheaton King and Justin Waskewitch. They are the real danger men for the Hawks. If the Stars can slow them down they improve their chances in this series.” I was on a roll yesterday. The Stars did a great job on the Hawks top line and the Stars won the game. That’s the matchup I will be watching closely tonight because you know players as good as Wheaton King and Waskewitch will be better tonight. The Stars will have to do an even better job to slow them down.

Battlefords North Stars

  • Roger Tagoona, Tanner Schwab, Tim Rollins, Kyle Hall, Tanner Quinn. They all had chances last night and I thought all 4 lines had strong games for the Stars at both ends of the ice. If the Stars keep creating those chances you know pucks will start going in for them.

Regular Season Head to Head:

  • Regular Season Meetings:Nipawin 5 @ Battlefords 3 (Jan 13 2012)
    Battlefords 5 @ Nipawin 2 (Nov 22 2011)
    Nipawin 1 @ Battlefords 2 (Oct 21 2011)
    Battlefords 2 @ Nipawin 4 (Oct 11 2011)
    Battlefords 3 @ Nipawin 4 (SO) (Oct 4 2011)
    Nipawin 6 @ Battlefords 4 (Sep 30 2011)
  • Head to Head Leaders:Blake Tatchell – 6GP – 5G – 4A – 9PTS
    Justin Waskewitch – 4GP – 4G – 4A – 8PTS
    Braeden Johnson – 5GP – 1G – 7A – 8PTS
    Brody Luhning – 6GP – 2G – 4A – 6PTS
    Wheaton King – 4GP – 1G – 5A – 6PTS

Playoff Head to Head:

  • Nipawin 1 @ Battlefords 3 (Mar 3rd 2012)

Regular Head to Head Special Teams:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • PP – 7-26 (26.9%) PK – 19-26 (73.1%)

Battlefords North Stars:

  • PP – 7-26 (26.9%) PK – 19-26 (73.1%)

Playoff Special Teams:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • PP – 0-1 (0%) PK – 1-2 (50%)

Battlefords North Stars

  • PP – 1-2 (50%) PK – 1-1 (100%)

Other Notes:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • The Hawks only lost 4 times in regulation on home ice this season. The Stars were one of those teams. Nipawin doesn’t have a great road record and they don’t have home ice advantage meaning they do have to win once in the Civic Center to win the series. They also need to take care of home ice. Tonight’s game is a big one.

Battlefords North Stars

  • I really like the look of the Hall, Ethier and Johnson line last night. Tanner Schwab gave the top line some physicality along with Miller. Roger Tagoona with Rollins and Wakelin gives the Stars a third line that has plenty of scoring punch and speed. And Robbie Newton on the kid line seemed like a perfect fit. Will those lines stay the same? Will Sheeran and/or Samborski draw into the lineup? I am fascinated to see if the lines stat the same tonight.3

The Big Stat(s):

  • 4 in 5. The first 4 games of this series will be played in 5 nights with each team doing a lot of traveling. The playoffs are tough enough anyway. Mental and physical toughness will be a factor in the next few days.
Leave a comment


  1. gerald

     /  March 3, 2012

    Well first of all Mike is your commentating myself and alot of northstar fans are wandering why in your eyes it always seems the opposition team makes all the awesome plays.I don,t think the stars get the credit they deserve according to your play by play calling.I would think as a north star commentator that this would happen. Not impressed at all.

  2. Debb

     /  March 5, 2012

    i agree gerald! Sounded more excited when nipiwan scored in overtime than any other time in any other game. sad… that is what makes play by play guys great…. their passion for THEIR team.

  3. Yub-Yub

     /  March 5, 2012

    Of course he would sound more excited when the Hawks scored in OT, it was an OT winner!

    If I hear a play by play guy giving credit to both teams, and criticizing both teams, I know I can trust what the announcer says.

    There are commentators in various leagues (including the NHL) who are straight up terrible homers and I can’t stand listening to them. If Mike’s calling the game, I know what’s going on without worrying about what “coloured glasses” he’s wearing.

    Keep on keepin’ on Mike!

  4. To the nay sayers regarding the play by play, perhaps if you were more hockey fans , or just sports fans, you would be more appreciative of how the play by play is broadcast every night. When you are as far away as I am and rely on the play by play to bring you the game, you want to honestly know how the game went. People who only want to know the the good parts regarding their team should get out their retro radios and listen to Danny Galivan broadcasting the Montreal games. In his eyes when Montreal lost a game 10 nothing his three stars were “the Rocket” because he skates so fast, the “Pocket Rocket” because he skated every shift, and Jacque Plant becase he kept his eye on every puck thar went by him, but he was gracious enough to give honorable mention to the forward from the other team that scored all ten goals. That is the worst kind of broadcasting as far as I am concerned. Have any of you chased around trying to find the game on another station because the Battleford station wasn’t broadcasting that night? If you have you will have found that very few of the other broadcasters hold a candle to “excitable Mike” and his style of play by play. Mikes call of the play does not make or break the outcome of the game. That is decided by the skaters, who be they 17 or 20 often have other things on their minds, as do many of the so called professionals who get the millions a year to play when and if they want. Enjoy the league and the fact your team gives a good game win or lose!!!!!!!!

    • gerald

       /  March 5, 2012

      You are totally missing the point oldpop. I will leave it at that.

      • Everyone is entitled to an opinion on this Gerald. I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer. I took what you said to heart and tried to use it tonight in the broadcast. I am going to listen back tomorrow to see how it sounded. Did you get a chance to listen?

      • gerald

         /  March 6, 2012

        No i haven’t had a chance to listen to last nights broadcast. Thank you mike for acknowledging .

      • Hopefully you’ll be listening to tonight’s game!!

      • gerald

         /  March 6, 2012

        I was at the game last night. I will definitely listening to tonights game. I have only missed a few of the out of town broadcasts.

      • Great. I hope you enjoy the game. Hopefully the Stars give you lots to cheer about.

      • gerald

         /  March 6, 2012

        Mike i have to compliment you on very well broadcast game tonight.Job well done thanks.

  5. Not really Gerald, just listen to the intro on the pregame show – you are taking things out of context. I have heard all but 3 games this season and I think Mike is head and shoulders above any of the other braodcasters from other teams I have listened too. You definitely missed the point by not realizing this is junior hockey and a true fan relishes in the play and the fact that these players are growing not only in their play but in being young adults as well. It is very enjoyable hockey in this league so take notice of that.


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