The Kindersley Klippers have just 1 regulation loss on the season. They currently lead the Kramer Division with 13 points from 8 games played. They beat the North Stars twice to open the season.
So now the Stars get a chance at some revenge. The North Stars have won 3 in a row. They are now just a game under .500 on the season. They are flying up the standings and are now in 2nd place in the Kramer. (the top two teams in each division automatically make the playoffs and avoid the survivor series) The Stars
Only La Ronge and Weyburn have scored more goals than the Stars and the Klippers. Kindersley is averaging 3.75 goals per game to the Stars 3.33 gpp. But so far the Klippers defense has been really stingy allowing just 21 goals in their 8 games played. Head to head they have outscored the Stars 9-3.
The North Stars have scored at close to a 4 goals per game clip since that opening weekend. The offense is coming along nicely and the defense has been solid as well. Where the game may be won and lost is special teams. The Stars power play is second in the league while the Klippers are in a solid 6th place. The Stars PK is also 2nd while the Klippers are in 7th. Here’s the kicker though. The North Stars have been shorthanded 59 times this year. That’s the most. BY FAR. Next closest? Nipawin at 44 then a couple teams at 39. That’s 15 more power plays against than the next closest team.The Stars are shorthanded on average 6.5 times per game. Or 13 minutes.
The PK is outstanding otherwise this would have been a huge problem for the Stars. It likely will be a huge problem if they don’t get it under control. That will be one of the big keys this weekend. If that great penalty kill only has to work 3 times a game then the Stars have a great chance to win. Put it to work 10 times like they did in Melfort and the Stars will struggle to win hockey games consistently.
Some Keys for the Stars:
1) Discipline – Obviously. We’ve talked about it. The Klippers are 2 for 15 on the PP against the North Stars this season. In two games played head to head. They seemed to get under the North Stars skin in those games. The good guys must stay disciplined tonight.
2) Get a lead – The Stars are getting better and better at playing with a lead. And they are really learning about how to respond to giving up goals. Get an early lead and make the Klippers do the hard work of trying to come from behind.
3) New Guys – Taylor Reich, Alex Bechtold, Jake Erickson, Nick Fountain, Brendan Heinrich, Kyle Schmidt and Austin Evans all didn’t play against the Klippers in the opening two games for various reasons. This isn’t the same team Kindersley saw at the start of the season. The Stars need to show how much better they’ve become.
North Stars Lineup:
Fransoo – Lacoursiere
Erickson – Schmidt*
Gosselin – Charleson
Young – Delainey – Evans
Reich – McColgan – Leonenko
McMillen – Keller – Heinrich*
Quinn – Bechtold – Petrino
* – Starters
Forbes, Sheeran, Fountain Carlson, Greenaway