SJHL Playoff Preview: Bauer Semifinal – Game 3 – Nipawin Hawks at Battlefords North Stars

The Battlefords North Stars are back at home tonight for game 3 of their Bauer semifinal series with the Nipawin Hawks. The Stars lost in over time in game 2 in a game they will feel like they should have won. The home team has won each game so far and the Stars will look to keep that going tonight. 2,150 fans packed the Civic Center for game 1. The games in this series are only going to get better and better as the intensity goes up another notch. It might be tough because it’s a week night and kids have school in the morning but I would love to see another similar sized crowd tonight.

Recent Game:

Game 2 was prototypical playoff style hockey. Tight checking to say the least. Plus the physical play really ramped up on the smaller ice surface in the Cage. The crowd was a little smaller than I had hoped for the Hawks but the fans who did show up were loud and behind their team. Kyle Hall, Blake Tatchell and a couple other Stars forwards had good chances to score and just weren’t able to convert. Those missed chances and a slow start to over time cost the Stars a chance to return home up 2-0. But as Coach Hasselberg said after the game that’s what the Hawks have done in games this season. They just find ways to win games.

Who’s Hot:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • Davis Jones. A shutout in game 2 to lift his team to victory. Darius Cole scored the game winner after being promoted to the top line. Look for him to have a good game tonight.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • The goalies have been on top so far in this series. Graham Hildebrand has allowed just 2 goals so far in 2 games. It isn’t just the goalie though the entire Stars team has done a brilliant job defensively and have really limited the chances created by the Hawks.

Players to Watch:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • Dan Szerlip. Normally a 4th line grinder wouldn’t be a player to watch. But Szerlip has been excellent in this series. His hockey hair is off the charts greasy, which is a compliment, and he has been doing his best to be a physical presence and a nuisance so far. Let’s see if he gets involved again tonight like he has in the first two games and if he starts to get under the skin of the Stars.

Battlefords North Stars

  • Kyle Hall. Had so many chances is game 2 that I am still amazed he didn’t score. If he gets one tonight maybe the flood gates will open. He has been getting into good positions so far in the series.

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)
  • Battlefords 0 @ Nipawin 1 (OT) (Mar 4th 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 – 0-4 (0%) PK – 1-5 (80%)

Battlefords North Stars

  • PP – 1-5 (20%) PK – 4-4 (100%)

Other Notes:

Nipawin Hawks:

  • Justin Waskewitch and Brady Zerr. Will one or both be able to return to the lineup tonight? Waskewitch missed game 2 and Zerr left the game sometime in the first period. It’s playoff hockey and you knew depth players would get a chance in this series. I will find out before the game if one or both is able to go tonight and let you know in the pregame show.

Battlefords North Stars

  • Playoff tickets can be bought in advance for tonight’s game at the Civic Center this afternoon from 1-4. Avoid the line ups at the door and get your tickets early.

The Big Stat(s):

  • 1. Just the one power play goal between the two teams so far in this series. The PK units have both been on top. If one team can figure out a way to get their PP going then they will obviously have a huge advantage moving forward.
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