SJHL Playoffs: North Stars drop game 3 on home ice. 3-2 the final.

The Battlefords North Stars came out absolutely flying tonight at the Civic Center. Blake Tatchell’s line got the start and they spend the first 40 seconds of the game in the attaching zone. It was a sign of things to come for the most part as once again the Stars took it to the Hawks. The Stars were controlling play, getting pucks in deep, being the more physical team and getting plenty of rubber towards Davis Jones. But somehow they found themselves behind after Dustin Skilliter popped home his first of the series with assists to Doell and Martens. I’ll be honest I thought Darius Cole scored it but none the less the Stars trailed. They picked up right where they left off though and continued to get shots through on Jones. Eventually with the Stars controlling the puck made it’s way from down low back to the point. The Stars best line tonight was Hall, Johnson and Tagoona and they all worked hard down low to recover the puck. Klay Kachur moved it quickly from the right point to the left and Mitch Berg absolutely crushed the puck past Daivs Jones on the blocker side. That made it 1-1 and that’s the way the period would finish. The Stars outshot the Hawks 12-7 in the opening frame and were unlucky to go tied rather than in the lead. The Stars did have an late power play after the goal that they were unable to convert. The lack of success on the power play now is starting to be an issue. But much like the 5 on 5 play the Stars are creating chances and how they aren’t scoring some of them is beyond me.

In the second the Stars were again seemingly the better team. But I guess at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who is the “better” team it simply matters who scores more goals. And that was the Hawks. The shots were even at 12 a piece in the second frame but the Hawks took a 3-1 lead. First it was a point shot on the power play from Jeff Datoff that beat Graham Hildebrand. I don’t think the Stars goaltender saw it as there was a big time screen in front. Then the third goal went in and it may have been a killer. Hildy was been outstanding all series and he has let in just one soft goal. It just happened to come at a bad time. Less than two minutes after the 2-1 goal the Hawks threw one on net from below the red line and it beat the Stars goalie through his legs. Garrett Lockeridge an affiliate player was given credit for the goal. The Stars had so many quality chances in the second but the one that really stands out was a scramble in front. Davis Jones was flopping around in his crease trying to do whatever he could to stop the Stars from scoring. But he wasn’t looking at the puck when it was shoveled on net by the Stars. To be honest I suddenly can’t remember who had the chance and I think I forgot my notes at the Civic Center. It might have been Roger Tagoona as I seem to remember him skating around with his stick on his head looking up to rafters in disbelief. Jones stopped it but I don’t think he ever saw it and the Stars were again unlucky to be down late in the period.

They regrouped though and another great shift from Kyle Hall led to a goal. Hall was given credit for an assist on the opening goal when I thought it was Johnson who passed the puck up to Kachur on the point. The second goal though was all about Hall. He went into the corner to the right of Davis Jones and threw a great hit that freed up the puck. Hall then found Miller in the right hand face off circle and he blasted a half clapper by Jones again on the blocker side. That made it 3-2 heading to the third period.

Early in the third Robbie Newton dropped the gloves with Grant Jensen right at center ice. Jensen has been into it all series with a few of the North Stars. I think Newton was perhaps trying to fire his team up and Jensen was the guy he wanted to go with. It was a spirited fight with no defense. Newton lost his helmet but then came back late in the fight to land a few bombs so we gave the fight a draw on the broadcast. Jensen might feel like he did enough to win but it looked pretty even to me. The Hawks were the team that responded the best to the fight as they had several good shifts right after the tilt. The final ten minutes or so was all North Stars however. They Stars ended up outshooting the Hawks 11-6 in the final frame. The power play had a chance in the early going of the period but again wasn’t able to convert.

Fast forward to the closing stages and with the net empty and the extra attacker I thought the Stars had tied the game. I still have no idea how the puck stayed out. The net was wide open and the shot was taken by the Stars. Stars players were starting to celebrate and so were the fans but somehow whether it was a stick of the Hawks defense of Jones himself the puck deflected up and just over the net. The Stars weren’t able to get another chance after that.

So plenty of chances for the Stars to score again tonight at the misfiring offense needs to get on track. There was some disbelief in the locker room after the game from the Stars players at the way Jones was able to stop some of the shots that he kept out. But the Stars feel if they keep creating these grade ‘A’ scoring chances they will find a way to start scoring some goals. Both Stars tallies went by the blocker of Jones so perhaps that’s an area they will look to exploit.

Game 4 is now less than 24 hours away and the Stars will likely stew on this one for another hour or so and then at midnight the focus shifts to tomorrow. We were expecting a long series and it’s a long way from over. The Stars with a win tomorrow shift momentum and home ice back in their favour. It’s a huge game and I hope you will join me for it starting with the SaskTel pregame show at 7:15 on CJNB/CJNS.

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7 Comments

  1. Walter

     /  March 6, 2012

    The Stars were the better team tonight and have outplayed the Hawks throughout the series, everybody seems to agree on that, just haven’t outscored them.
    Extremely dissappointing for Coach Hasselberg to go on the radio after the game and say that only one line was carrying the team, pulling the rest of them, and criticize his players for not trying?? Hildy for giving up a weak goal. That they have done their job in teaching the systems but cannot teach them to score. Time for the coach to take responsibility for the loss!! He is the one that puts the lines together, players on the ice, line matching, pp and pk personell, etc.

    Line up changes: Rollins and Forbes, two of the hardest workers on the team, out of lineup.
    Nothing against our 4th line, but put them out against the other teams 4th line. Give your team and players the best chance to win. Might have to use the 4th line sparingly in the playoffs if you want to win, other teams do.
    Hawks Goal #1 – Our 4th line out against one of their top lines, and their best forward, when we have last change = goal
    Hawks Goal #2 – Our 4th line out against one of their top lines, outworked badly in our own end which ends up in a penalty and we get scored against on the pp.
    Hawks Goal #3 – kind of a fluke, against Hildy who has played awesome the whole series.
    Newton tries to fire up the team with his heart and fists. We come out with our 4th line and the Hawks take the momentum from the fight.
    Four minutes to play in a playoff game, down by one, and our 4th line is on the ice.
    Tired of hearing about Jones, get used to it, he’s the best in the league. Put out more firepower more often.
    Live and die by the decisions you make both good and bad. The coach is in control and has the biggest influence on the outcome of a game!!!!
    The Stars have played great and can turn this series around tomorrow night. We believe in you Stars!!!! Big win tomorrow night!!!

    Reply
  2. Derek McCreath

     /  March 6, 2012

    Did you get an interview with Rollins at an intermission? If so would you mind passing along the audio clip?

    Reply
    • No I didn’t. Tim didn’t see my tweet in time and I wasn’t able to get out of the both to find him in the second intermission.

      Reply
  3. hometownfan

     /  March 6, 2012

    Seems noone around here is good enough at what they do… Mike is too excited for the home team, Kevin is too negative… sad really when we are blessed with a great coach, an amazing team, and an awesome play by play guy… maybe just maybe people will just remember why we are here… Kevin takes accountability for the bad of the team, sometimes more than he should… stop by Tim Hortons and chat hockey with him some morning, he seems to be there more mornings than not, and always has time for us fans that want to chat hockey! Don’t know if we were at the same game but Keller was OUTSTANDING… played much bigger than he is, and always a team player. I didnt find the comments criticism, or as deflecting accountability, I found them to be an honest account of the coaching perspective, not all 20 players played a solid game, I agree, the third goal was one that needs to be stopped, I agree. Seems everyone wants things sugar coated to the North Stars smelling like roses and looking like heros when sometimes it just doesnt happen that way. They played hard, the coaches coached hard, and unfortunately we didn’t get the most goals, but that is why we play a best of 7 series!! Good Luck NorthStars!! I will be there cheering as always, because I am passionate and proud to be a NorthStars fan!

    Reply
  4. The pk unit has to win face offs. center men and dmen cannot allow 3 rebound shouts. that is what happened last night. it wasnt a soft goal that beat us. It wasnt ” a line” that cost us the win. It was rewarding players who no longer feel the need to pass the puck until in trouble, who continue to take 3 minute shifts, yet rewarded with more ice time.Different rules for different players. There are players who can play better, unfortuantely some no longer beleive they can because the coach has sucked the life out of them with . Healthy scratches, being punished, benched. blinder vision on player effectiveness. case in point, the first pk unit cant win face offs. yet it doesn’t change. lets hope Rollins can bounce back. He is not the only honest player on this team getting treated with different rules. The players know it, the fans see it. This game isnt about the broadcasters, its about developing a good team, and good players. Narrow minded opinions of player effectiveness will be the death of this team. The future? on thin ice too. Who will want to come back? Would you? This isnt the first time Rollins has been punished. When you ride the coat tails of one player or one line, what message does that send to the rest of the players? Wayyyy tooo much negativity and finger pointing. loyalty swings two ways. unfortunatley, respect has to be earned, not forced. There has been way too much brainwashing the media and the fans on how special this team was. Bottom line, since the chemistry chaged in November wtih player movement, this team has struggled to win. thats what happens with a perception of players being valued over others. There are a number of players who no longer feel they are contributing. And the ones who think they are, and getting every opportunity to, really aren’t. Soft goal? ridiculous. The stars have too many heads in the clouds, and some of the most honest, hard working guys have their heads in the sand. over inflated and under inflated. how did that happen?

    Reply
  5. gerald

     /  March 6, 2012

    As far as i,am concerned kevin is doing an awesome job.Reno do you remember last year or do you have your head somewhere else. For the short period of time kevin has been here and how he has turned this team around.It is like day and night difference.I agree with kevin when he said all the players have to pull together so true.We have a great hockey team and great coaching staff anybody thats thinks any different should give there head a shake or wake up and smell the coffee. GO STARS GO

    Reply
  6. Starsfan

     /  March 8, 2012

    Kevin and the coaching staff has done a fantastic job… The stars have out played and out shot nipawin for i believe every game.. There getting chances and working hard.. The hard work and chances will start to come.. We need to approach this game like its there last… I’m sure that every player is in that mind set and will come out guns ablazing.. I’ll come back on here on game 7 and comment.. Heres a video clip I hope the stars watch.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0RiiIRe4ig Right now we need anything for motovoation..

    Reply

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