Game #26: North Stars host Flin Flon – Civic Center

40th Anniversary Season

North Stars Record: 10-13-0-2

2013-11-23 00.15.09

Last game recap – The North Stars beat the Notre Dame Hounds 5-2 last night at the Civic Center. But it wasn’t a typical North Stars game. They normally don’t get out shot and certainly not as heavily as they did yesterday. Their special teams was terrific. And despite not playing their most complete 60 minutes they found another way to win a game.

The Stars have now won 4 in a row at home and are now just 3 games under .500 on the season.

Michael Gudmandson got the start for the North Stars and he was good making a couple of solid early saves. That set the stage for Taylor Reich to open the scoring. The Hounds goalie Brett Soles had 3 straight shutouts coming into the game. But he couldn’t keep it going as Reich stole a puck in the slot and quickly got a backhand shot away. It beat Soles glove side to make it 1-0. I thought that was a big goal. Soles has been rolling and the Stars managed to score with their first good chance to take the momentum away from the Hounds goalie.

Tanner Quinn set up a chance when he chose not to shoot from the slot but instead set up Ryne Keller. Keller was playing D with Latrell Charleson and Jake Erickson both out sick. Keller snuck in off the left point. His one-timer was fired off the inside of the post and somehow stayed out. Blake Young stole a puck on the penalty kill and was able to get in on a breakaway. He went forehand/backhand and slid the puck past Soles. That’s Young’s team leading 9th of the year and the Stars now lead the league in shorthanded goals. Later in the period Brendan Heinrich poked the puck home at the side of the net to make it 3-0 Stars after 1. Heinrich’s second of the year was on the power play.

Also in the first Ben Greenaway put Austin Lightfoot into his own bench. Greener got 2 for roughing for making sure Lightfoot went right into the bench after the hit. The Hounds bench didn’t like it and Dillon Schwartzenberger had to be restrained by his coach as he was punching Greenaway from the bench. The Notre Dame forward got a 10 minute misconduct. So after Ben Greenaway threw a legal hit and got punched several times by the Hounds bench it was Notre Dame who got the power play. Absolutely ridiculous. It didn’t matter though because the North Stars PK was excellent all game.

In the second there were almost too many penalties to keep track of. The Stars had good penalty kills when it was 4 on 3 and 5 on 3. Thanks in part to the strong play of Gudmanson. He was in position all night and really battles. The Hounds made it 3-1 but the Stars responded later in the period when Jake McMillen scored on a rebound on the power play to make it a 4 goal lead again.

In the second period Schwartzenberger was tossed. He took a misconduct for swinging his stick at a Star after the whistle. He was really wound up so the Refs decided to get rid of him for the night. Taylor Reich had a strong game for the Stars and he hit the post in the second period. The Stars ended up with a 3 goal lead heading to the third.

In the final frame Logan Saworski got into it after a whistle as he poked at Gudmandson. The North Stars tender responded with a blocker shot towards Saworski and then a bunch of players piled on. The picture above is the aftermath of that battle.

Jake McMillen deflected a point shot off the post as the North Stars hit iron three times in the game. McMillen’s second of the game came just 2 seconds after a power play ended as he popped home another rebound. The Stars were down 2 skaters late after another orund of penalty calls. But even up 5-3 late Gudmandson battled to keep the puck out. There were some close calls but Gudmandson kept the puck out and showed great desperation despite the score. So the Stars end up killing 9 of 9 penalties. They went 2 for 7 on the power play and scored a shorty to clearly win the special teams play.

It was a pretty physical game with the Hounds doing a lot of hitting. Kendall Fransoo, who had another solid game on the backend, and Dillon Forbes were involved a lot and more than once a Hound forward bounced off a North Stars D man as they tried to get in on the forecheck.

Blake Young now has 5 points after games so far this week. Another strong game tonight and Young should be looking at the SJHL player of the week award. Nice to see Jake McMillen score a couple as well. He’s now up to 7 on the year and tied for second on the team. After a tough start to the season McMillen is getting going. Taylor Reich had two points as well and he has helped lift the power play of late. He’s a valuable forward that can fill a variety of roles.

Both Ben Greenaway and Luke McColgan left the game last night but it sounds like both were precautionary. Hopefully neither guy is out for any lengthy period of time. The Stars were without a couple of key D men who provide offense. It was great that they didn’t miss a beat but it will be nice to get those guys back as soon as possible. If McColgan and Greenaway can’t play tomorrow Charleson and Leonenko could return and Keller could move back up to forward.

How valuable is Keller by the way? Can drop back and play solid D and move up front to kill penalties and on the power play. Face-off wins and leadership as well. Keller is having a great season.

Oh and I wanted to mention Kyle Schmidt who returned to the lineup last night. He played a ton with all the special teams time and was a big part of the PK having a great night. The Stars have a lot of talent in their three 18 year old D men and the two 17 year olds as well. But having Schmidt and Forbes back there as that steadying presence is fantastic for the team. 20 year old D men are always nice to have around in the heat of battle.

Storylines:

  • Flin Flon: The North Stars ace the Bombers for the first time this season. The Bombers are 6-4 in their last 10 games and they have won 2 in a row coming in. They beat the Kindersley Klippers last night. They have fire power up front in the form of Brett Boehm, Dillon McCombie and Cameron Blair. And strong goaltending from Devin Buffalo. Flin Flon D man Danys Chartrand recently committed to North Dakota. The Bombers are 5-6 away from the Whitney Forum.
  • Movember continues: The Stars are still rolling. They have won 4 in a row at home and have grabbed 14 of a possible 18 points so far this month.
  • Offensive: The North Stars have burst to life the last few games offensively. The North Stars have scored 16 goals the last 4 games for an average of 4 per game. They average a little under 3 goals per game to this point in the season so it’s nice to see the puck getting to the back of the net a little more often. We talked a lot earlier in the season about the Stars creating chances, getting shots and needing some bounces to go their way. That’s starting to happen and the North Stars work is paying off with goals.
  • Goalies: This will be a story for the next few days at least. Gudmandson was terrific last night and now the Stars have a decision to make moving forward with Martin, Parker and Gudmandson.
  • Kramer Division: All 4 teams played last night with the Stars and Broncos winning and the Klippers losing. The Broncos are in Estevan tonight and the Klippers host the Hounds. So all 4 Kramer teams play again tonight. If results go right for Humboldt they could take first place away from Kindersley for the first time this season. With Kindersley hosting the Hounds the North Stars won’t care who wins as long as there is no overtime.
  • Lineups: With the illness going through the team and with a couple of guys who could be banged up it will be interesting to see who is in, and who isn’t in, the North Stars lineup tonight.

Keys to the Game?

1) Fast Start – The Stars have jumped out to 3-0 leads in the past two games. Let’s keep that going with another fast start tonight. The Bombers are a good team but they haven’t seen the Stars yet this season. They won’t know what to expect. I would love to see the Stars jump out to a quick start.

2) Posts: The North Stars hit the post 3 times last night to go along with their 5 goals. That’s a good sign. Teams hitting the post are shooting for corners and not just firing pucks into the goalies crest. If the North Stars keep hitting the posts and crossbar they will continue to find goals as well.

3) Discipline – Earlier in the season the Stars were taking too many penalties. It was a strange one last night at the Civic Center. Lots of whistles and plenty of penalties. So the Stars need to stay out of the box tonight and get back on track in terms of their discipline.

Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Parker

Forbes – Fransoo
Yew – Charelson
Lacoursiere – Schmidt

Quinn – Keller – Yew
Fountain – Petrino – Heinrich
McMillen – Reich – Evans
Young – Delainey – Leonenko

Scratches: Erickson, Martin, McColgan, Greenaway

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1 Comment

  1. doug

     /  November 24, 2013

    Hi Mike I just wanted to say you do a excellent job with your coverage of the North Stars, we always read your blog, listen to the pregame and post game shows and because of the poor broadcasts from the Civic listen to the game. I wish there was better audio at home games. Anyway keep up the good work so we can stay in touch with Brenden’s hockey. Cheers from the Heinrichs

    Reply

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