Game #25: North Stars host Notre Dame – Civic Center

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 9-13-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars beat Kinderlsey 5-4 in OT. It was a wild encounter. Read more about it here.

I spent last night in Saskatoon with North Stars athletic therapist Michelle Beatty watching the U of S Huskies host the U of R Cougars. Former North Stars Brody Luhning starred for the Cougars in their OT win. Luhning had a goal and 2 assists in the game although none of his points were credited on the scoresheet. That will be updated at some point. His teammated grabbed the puck for him out of the net as he scored his first CIS goal. Luhning had lots of support with myself and Michelle on hand. His parents, his former billet parents from his time in the Battlefords, and coach Hasselberg were also there to see the goal. It was a great night and it was great seeing Loons parents again.

I also saw Robbie Newton’s parents as they came out to see they son’s former team mate. Both the Newton’s sent me a lovely email when Robbie was traded thanking me for being a part of his time here in the Battlefords. I was blown away by the emails and so it was great to see both of them again.

And as it turns out in a strange quirk of fate their son was traded this morning. Dauphin moved former Star D man Joren Johnson to La Ronge and traded Newton to the first place Virden Oil Capitals. Newton no longer has an automatic place in the Western Canada Cup but he is going to a very good team.

Storylines:

  • Movember: The Mo could stand for momentum. The Stars have picked up 12 of a possible 16 points so far this month. They have scored 11 goals in their last 3 games as well. It’s a nice little stretch that has helped the Stars stay ahead of Notre Dame in the standings.
  • Standings: Speaking of the team rankings the North Stars are 2 points ahead of ND right now. The Hounds have played FIVE fewer games. So they only have to win a couple of those games to pass the North Stars for 3rd in the Kramer Division. That means a regulation win for the North Stars would go a long way to keeping the North Stars in third.
  • OT: It’s almost starting to get ridiculous. The North Stars have played 6 OT games this month with 4 of them going to a SO. They played OT at the start of November in the only meeting with Notre Dame so far this season. You just know going into a game right now that the Stars will be within a goal either way. There’s likely going to be a late goal and lots of drama. And some free extra hockey. It makes for great entertainment for the fans. Just another reason to pack the Civic Center.
  • Shutout: Obviously a storyline to keep an eye on tonight is the shutout streak for Hounds goalie Brett Soles. 3 straight shutouts for Soles and he hasn’t been beaten since November 9th. Estevan got 4 pucks past Soles and since then he has gone 189:38 seconds with allowing a goal. Goaltending will be a story throughout the night. More on that later.
  • Reed-ing between the line: Reed Delainey scored the OT winner on Tuesday against the Klippers. He also scored the OT winner against Notre Dame earlier this month. The Stars have won 2 games in OT and 3 in the shootout. Delainey has both OT winner. The rookie has 5 goals and 2 of them are OT winners. His line scored 4 of the Stars 5 goals last time out. Young, Delainey, Leonenko. Starting to heat up.
  • O from the D: Two of the North Stars top four scorers are D men. Rookie Jake Erickson and Latrell Charleson, who is in his first year with the North Stars, have provided plenty of scoring. Erickson with 14 assists. Chaleson with 2 goals and 11 assists. Kyle Schmidt would be up there as well if he hadn’t missed some time being banged up. And Robin Yew has 2 points in 3 games with the North Stars. Now we just need to get Kendall Fransoo on the board. He does so much for his team from hitting to blocking shots and he will fight as well when a spark is needed. But in close to 50 career SJHL games, regular season and playoffs, Fransoo is still looking for his first point. It’ll happen and maybe tonight’s the night.
  • Petrino: With the monkey of his first goal of the season off his back lets see if Petrino’s game takes off. He’s healthy and if he gets a run of games now he could really blossom into a very good player for the North Stars.
  • Make it so: Captain Kyle Schmidt could return to the lineup today. It sounds like he’s had a couple days of practice and is ready to go. The North Stars did just fine without Schmidt in the lineup but that pairing with him and Jake Erickson has been so good for the Stars this season. And maybe having the captain in the lineup might have prevented that 3 goal outburst from Kindersley. The captain with all his leadership and experience could be back tonight.

Keys to the Game?

1) Learn – The Stars had a rough 3-4 minute stretch against the Klippers and it almost cost them the game. But they also played a couple of their best periods of the season. They found another way to win a game and score a late goal. They need to learn from both the positives and negatives of that game. Put that into practice tonight and continue to win games at the Civic Center.

2) Hit – The Stars found a way to win in OT when they faced the Hounds earlier this season. That was on the Notre Dame Olympic sized ice surface and the North Stars adjusted their lineup accordingly. But on the smaller ice at the Civic Center the game will be a little more physical and more suited to guys like Fountain and Greenaway. The Hounds haven’t experienced the North Stars at their hard hitting best yet.

3) Crowd – First things first: I love the Civic Center and it’s crowds. I love North Stars fans. You are a great group of people and you’ve always treated me great. And I don’t want to criticize the North Stars fans. But I did think that the crowd was VERY quiet when Kindersley scored to make it 3-1 on Tuesday. The Stars were still up by 2 goals but the energy and the electricity in the building just seemed to vanish. Eventually the crowd got fired up again. The Stars are now 3-7 at home after a rough start and they need the fans behind them and the crowd has been behind them which has helped turn things around at the Civic Center. Other than that small complaint about the energy after the first goal Tuesday I think the fans have been fantastic of late so keep that up and lets make the Civic Center a fortress!

Stars Lineup:

Michael Gudmandson*
Darren Martin

Schmidt – Keller
Forbes – Fransoo
Lacoursiere – Robin Yew

Quinn – Reich – Greenaway
Young – Delainey – McMillen
Fountain – Petrino – Heinrich
Regan Yew – McColgan – Evans

Scratches: Leonenko, Parker, Charleson, Erickson

*Gudmandson is back with the Stars after starting the season with the team last year. He bounced around a bit spending time with Humboldt last year and starting this season in the MJHL. He was in a three goalie situation in Manitoba and was available so the Stars picked him up. He gets a chance this weekend to show what he can do as the North Stars look for a little more experience and maybe a little more consistency between the pipes.

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