SJHL Game 43: Battlefords North Stars at Estevan Bruins

The Battlefords North Stars head to the nicest rink in the SJHL tonight for a battle with the Estevan Bruins. It’s game number 2 of a huge 3 game weekend for the North Stars who got off to a solid start with a 5-4 win in Weyburn last night.

Recent Games:

Estevan Bruins:

  • Picked up a huge 6-4 win over the Flin Flon Bombers last night on home ice. Matt Brykaliuk and Cole Olson each scored twice and maybe the big surprise is that the Bruins scored 6 times without Dylan Smith picking up a point.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • The North Stars came out flying last night in Weyburn and dominated the first ten minutes of the hockey game. They played at a pace that the Red Wings couldn’t match and it led to a couple of power plays for the Stars. They scored their first goal on a 5 on 3 power play after penalties to Ty McLean and Josh Lees. Austin Evans scored the goal with assists going to Luhning and Jake McMillen. That goal came with 10 seconds left in the first penalty so the Stars remained on the power play for about another minute after that. But they couldn’t score. Robert Wilkinson took an elbowing penalty later in the period and Brandon Long scored a beautiful goal on a great shot. That made it 2-0 after the first. But it could have been more. Nate Ferris got the start for the Wings and he was good in the first. He stopped Blake Young on a break away and in total made 12 saves in the period. The second period was a bit of a reversal with the Wings playing well and Connor Creech standing on his head. He made several top notch saves in the period and maybe his best moment wasn’t a save. The Wings had a 2 on 1 and the pass went across the ice. Creech was so alert and in such good position that when he went quickly post to post the shot was fired high and wide. Creech not credited with a save but good goaltending forced the shooter to try and pick a corner and as a result miss the target. The Stars did get a second period goal to make it 3-0. Jake McMillen with his 12th of the year.
  • The second period was more memorable for a couple of incidents involving players being thrown out of the game. Kyle Hall was given 2 and a game early in the second for checking from behind. I thought the D man Drake Brown turned at the last second and put himself in a vulnerable position. Hall told me after the game that he thought Brown was off balance as well. I thought it was a penalty but I thought that the game misconduct was very harsh. Later in the period Luke McColgan had his head down looking for a pass and Miguel Pereira caught him with a huge hit. But Pereira made contact with McColgan’s head and that earned him 5 and a game. Austin Evans jumped in and fought Pereira. It ended up being 2, 5 and 10 for instigating on Evans and 5, 5 and a game to Pereira. 5 for fighting plus 5 and a game for a blow to the head. The fans in Weyburn didn’t like that call but in this day and age with players being protected players have to find a way to avoid hitting to the head.
  • The Wings scored a power play goal early in the third period and then another one with a little under 5 minutes to go to make it 3-2 and set up a wild finish. Josh Betinol won an offensive zone face off shortly after the Wings made it 3-2. Blake Young’s shot was blocked and Brandon Long followed up to fire post and in. It was 37 seconds after the Wings goal and it gave the Stars their 2 goal lead back. It didn’t last. The Wings scored again less than a minute later. 4-3. A screen shot that Creech never saw. And I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The game was end to end and scrambly and pucks were flying into the net. Travis Marit scored a good grinding goal by going to the dirty areas out front of the net and getting the puck to the back of the net. That made it 5-3. But with the net empty the Wings scored again to make it 5-4 with 1:01 remaining. All told it was 5 goals in the space of 3 minutes and 47 seconds. The Wings got the net empty again but the Stars were able to clear the puck down the ice and pick up the win.

Players to Watch:

Estevan Bruin:

  • Dylan Smith. Smith was the SJHL player of the week after returning to the Bruins. He didn’t get on the score sheet last night against Flin Flon and he’ll be fired up to help his team to another huge win tonight.
  • Alex Cote. Is currently on a 7 game assist streak. He hasn’t scored in that span but he has set up 8 goals in his last 7 games.

Battlefords North Stars:

  • Kyle Hall. He should be fresh and fired up to play tonight after missing the majority of last night’s game.
  • Austin Evans and Brandon Long. Both guys are now at 9 goals for the season. And both will be looking to get to double digits in their first SJHL season as soon as possible.

Head to Head:

  • Estevan 4 @ Battlefords 3 (SO) (Jan 13 2013)
  • Battlefords 1 @ Estevan 4 (Oct 26 2012)

Special Teams:

Estevan Bruins:

  • PP: 20-165 (12.1% – 12th in SJHL)
  • PK: 130-157 (82.8% – 7th in SJHL)

Battlefords North Stars:

  • PP: 41-206 (19.9% – 6th in SJHL)
  • PK: 169-209 (80.9% – 9th in SJHL)
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