Game#36: North Stars host Flin Flon Bombers – Civic Center

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 17-16-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars lost to Kindersley last night, 3-1 the final. It was scoreless after a tight checking first period. The North Stars best chances came on the power play but they couldn’t convert. A couple of times on the man advantage the Stars had good puck movement and a couple shots on each PP. Nick Fountain hit the crossbar although he seemed pretty sure after the game that the puck had gone in. It was immediately waived off by the referee. The Klippers best chance came when Michael Gudmanson couldn’t clear the puck. Colby Daniels threw it out front and a quick shot was gloved by Gudmandson as he dove back into his net.

The Klippers opened the scoring early in the second period on the power play. A Connor Veroba point shot hit Dillon Forbes and deflected past Gudmandson. That was the only offense of the middle frame.

In the third Luke McColgan drove to the net and popped home his own rebound to tie the game. But the lead lasted just 23 seconds. Daniels set up Lauder on a 2-on-1 and Lauder was able to cut around Gudmandson and slide the puck home.

The North Stars had chances with their net empty but couldn’t tie the game. Eventually Austin Yano scored into the empty net to wrap up the scoring. The Klippers are now 5-0-0-1 against the North Stars this season.

After a great run of games in November the North Stars have now lost 3 of their last 4.

Storylines:

  • Previous Meetings: The North Stars are 2-0 against the Bombers so far this season. The Stars blanked the Bombers 2-0 on November 23rd at the Civic Center and followed that up with a 4-3 win up in Manitoba on November 26th. Michael Gudmandson is 2-0 versus Flin Flon with a .952 save percentage and a 1.5GAA. Devin Buffalo has taken the loss in both games despite good save percentage numbers. He’s been outstanding for the Bombers this season. Nick Fountain has 2 goals and 2 assists in the 2 games. He obviously enjoys playing Flin Flon.
  • Teddy Beat Toss: The Rainbow Toyota Teddy Bear Toss is tonight at the Civic Center. Bring a donation to the game and chuck it on the ice when the North Stars score their first goal. The Teddy Bears will make their way to children who otherwise might not have a present to open on Christmas. And no child should have to go through the holidays without a present to open.
  • 2013: The year of 2013 will come to an end in a few weeks. Tonight is the North Stars final game of the calendar year. The Stars are 24-23-1-6 in regular season games in 2013 so if they avoid a regulation loss tonight they will finish the calendar year above .500. And interestingly the Stars have just ONE overtime loss in the entire year. Lots of shootout wins and shootout losses. And a couple OT wins in that stretch. But if they get to OT they usually win or go to a shootout.
  • Tight Sherwood: The Bombers are second in their division at the moment and just 2 points back of first place Nipawin. They are also just 3 ahead of 4th place Melfort. The Bombers and Ice Wolves are hovering around .500 and one of the two will likely make a little run at some point and put pressure on the Hawks. The Sherwood hasn’t been the best division so far this year but there are 4 good teams and it’s sure been interesting to track them as they battle.
  • Boehm: The Flin Flon Bombers recently traded one of their top scorers. Boehm is now in Yorkton. There has always been a nice rivalry between these two teams. And there could have been some bad blood between the Stars and Bombers because of the hit from behind Boehm threw in Flin Flon that knocked Braden Lacoursiere out of the game.
  • Perfect: The Bombers are 13-0 when leading after 40 minutes of play. They have 15 wins overall. It probably speaks to how good Buffalo is that if he has a lead he makes it stand up.
  • Improving: The Bombers have played better of late. Seems like they’ve found a good mix. 3-1-1 in their last 5 games and 2 wins in a row. They are still struggling to score goals though. In their last 5 games they have scored 10 goals in regulation time. Cam Blair has been back in the Flin Flon lineup the last 3 games after missing a month and that certainly helps their team.
  • Former Team Mates: One of the most recent pick ups for the Bombers is Peter Poulin-Roy. He was acquired from Abitibi of the NOJHL. Last season he was on the same team as North Star forward Nick Fountain. Poulin-Roy was second on that team in scoring and should help provide some more offense for the Bombers once he gets used to the SJHL.
  • PIMs: Dillon Forbes is still leading the league in PIMs this season. But Flin Flon’s Brock Hounsell is now hot on his heels. And the Bombers Dillon McCombie is up to 4th on the list. The Bombers are now leading the league in PIMs after it looked like Nipawin and the North Stars might run away with that distinction this earlier this year.
  • Rookie Goalies: I was talking about this with Kindersley’s play by play guy before last night’s game. The goaltending in the SJHL has been terrific this season. And that’s after losing Jesse Wilkins, David Jones, Connor Creech, Matt Hrynkiw and others from last year. But the rookies have been amazing. 8 of the top 13 goalies in the league, in GAA, are rookies. Tyrell King has been great for Kindersley and he’s 7th in GAA at 2.23. That’s remarkable. Darren Martin from the North Stars is just one of a vast number of fantastic rookie goalies and if I was a scout or coach from an American Div.1 University I would be up here recruiting ASAP.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Leaders: With Kyle Schmidt out of the lineup for some maintenance heading into the Christmas break. And with Tanner Quinn out of the lineup as well the North Stars have key leadership missing from the lineup. So guys like Forbes and McColgan will have to step up as the team must focus on finishing tonight’s game before leaving for the Christmas break.

2) Teddy Bears: The Stars always have fast starts and when they score early they seem to really take off. So let’s get an early one on the board and get the Teddy Bears on the ice as early as possible. There’s nothing worse than the tension of the Teddy Bears waiting to be tossed.

3) Crowd: – There are a few senior hockey games tonight but I am hopeful that the Stars will have a big crowd tonight for their final home game of 2013. There should be some former North Stars in the building. There will be a Coach’s Corner in the Hot Stove Lounge after the game. And hopefully a boisterous and festive crowd out to have some fun will help push the North Stars to a final win of 2013.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Forbes – Fransoo
Robin Yew – Lacoursiere
Charleson – Erickson

McMillen – McColgan – Evans
Regan Yew – Reich – Keller
Young – Delainey – Leonenko
Fountain – Petrino – Greenaway

Scratches: Heinrich, Quinn (sick), Schmidt (maintenance)

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Game #35 – North Stars visit Klippers – West Central Events Center

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 17-15-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars eat La Ronge at the Civic Center back on Friday and it was perhaps their most comprehensive performance of the season. The North Stars fired 59 shots at Dasan Sydora while allowing just under 30 shots on Michael Gudmandson. He stopped every shot as the Stars won 4-0.

Taylor Reich opened the scoring at a time when the North Stars were absolutely dominating. That was a big goal because at times this season we’ve seen the North Stars come out flying but not find a way to score the first goal. They did on Friday night when Ryne Keller found Reich in the slot and his shot beat Sydora. Later in the period Igor Leonenko, back in the lineup and looking good, cut the middle off of the right wing. He was able to find some open ice in the slot and fire past the glove of Sydora.

In the second period the North Stars made it 3-0….except they didn’t. The ref waived the goal off for a hand pass. It was a bad call. Blake Young had clearly gloved the puck out of the air but as he was falling onto the ice he was able to bat the puck with his stick across to Luke McColgan and he scored. The ref said no goal though and it was still 2-0.

The North Stars handled that moment very well. They didn’t complain too much, all things considered, and they got back to work dominating the game. Eventually they did score to make it 3-0 when Ryne Keller scored a power play goal.

In the third period the Stars got a final goal from Blake Young on the power play. There was a loose puck in the slot that was poked towards goal by the Stars but went off the post. Young found the puck in a big scramble and poked it home at the second attempt. Young should have had 3 points. I was sure he was in on the first goal but didn’t get credit for an assist. Plus the helper he should have had on the goal that was wrongly waived off.

In the end the shots told the story as the Stars dominated the Ice Wolves and picked up an excellent 4-0 victory. There was some rough stuff late as McColgan and LaClare fought midway through the third. And late in the game CLandon Robin crosschecked Brenden Heinrich up high a couple of times. Eventually Heinrich had enough and dropped the gloves with Robin. Heinrich with a clear decision in that fight.

Gudmandson is now 6-1 as a North Star this season with 2 shutouts. He sports a 1.57 goals against average to go along with a .953 save percentage.

Storylines:

  • Previous Meetings: The Klippers are 4-0-1 against the North Stars this season having won the first 4 meeting of the season. In the most recent game though Reed Delainey scored the OT winner in a wild 5-4 game at the Civic Center. The Stars blew a 3-0 lead in that game though and had to find a way to tie the game with 1 second left. Blake Young had 2 goals and an assist. Latrell Charleson 3 helpers. Delainey ended up with 2 points. Overall, the Klippers have outscored the Stars 20-9 in the season series. The Stars have a -2 goal differential. Against the rest of the SJHL it’s plus 9.
  • Hot Teams: If you were to produce a standings page for the SJHL and just included the last 10 games played it would look like this: 1)Humboldt 2)Battlefords 3)Yorkton 4)Kindersley. The Stars are 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 games. The Klippers are 6-3-1-0. So these are two teams that come in playing very well of late.
  • Standings: Tonight’s game is a big one as the North Stars find themselves six points behind Kindersley in the Kramer Division. The Klippers have played one game less than the Stars as well. So a Klipper win could leave the North Stars well back in the race for second in the division. A win though and things continue to get tighter at the top of the standings.
  • Schedule: The Kramer Division teams are all in action tonight. Notre Dame is in Yorkton. Humboldt hosts Flin Flon. Down south La Ronge is in Estevan. That’s a return for former Bruins Hudson Morrison and Tanner Clark. So some interesting games on tonight’s schedule.
  • Break: The Christmas break is looming on the horizon. A lot of the North Stars who head out of town to return home for Christmas will be leaving on Thursday. I am heading to BC on Friday. And I know how distracting that can be so focus again is key. The only thing better than sitting around the Christmas tree is sitting around the Christmas tree knowing your hockey team is on a winning streak!
  • Road Warriors: Only one team in the SJHL has more road wins than the North Stars (Kindersley has 10). They have been great away from the Civic Center. But they are 0-2 so far in Kindersley. They have lost 3-1 and 3-0 at the West Central Events Center. They haven’t shown their strong road abilities yet in that rink. In fact, in their last 10 games at the WCEC the North Stars have just 3 wins.
  • Lost Ground: I was just noticing that the North Stars have won 8 of 10. And in that span they’ve actually lost ground on the Humboldt Broncos. In any other division the Stars would have gained at least a couple of points on the leader with a stretch of 8 wins in 10 games. So that shows again how tough the division is and it shows the Stars have to keep on rolling.
  • Power Play: Of late the North Stars power play has been producing and 5 goals on the man advantage in the last 2 games has bumped the Stars PP unit up to 4th in the league. The Klippers are 11th in the league with a power play percentage of 13.5 and they have allowed 7 short handed goals.
  • Shootouts: The Klipper lead the league in overtime games and shootout games. They’ve played in OT 10 times this season with 6 of those going to the shootout. The Klippers are 5-1 in the shootout.  The North Stars and Humboldt Broncos are near the top of the league in OT games played as well. Both teams have played OT, or more, 8 times which is tied for second in the league. That’s one of the reasons, and another sign, of how tough the Kramer Division is this season. All most half of the Stars and Klippers OT games have been played against Kramer Division teams.
  • Streaking  The North Stars have several players on points streaks. Young is at 5. Keller, Evans, Forbes and Fountain all have points in each of the last 2 games.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Spread Offense In 5 games versus the Klippers Blake Young has 3 goals and 3 assists. His team has 9 goals and he’s scored or helped set up 6 of them. The North Stars are a team that scored by committee and they need other guys to help provide offense against Kindersley like they do against the rest of the league.

2) Tending: The North Stars allow on average 3 goals against per game this season against teams not named Kindersley. Against the Klippers they given up an average of 4 goals per game. They need to look after their own zone and get the strong goaltending that they’ve received of late. It’s been almost exactly a month since the Stars and Klippers met and in that month Michael Gudmandson has arrived and been excellent. Since Goody became a Star he and Darren Martin are a combined 9-2. They have allowed more than 2 goals just twice and they’ve allowed less than 2 goals THREE times!

3) Composure – The Stars have shown a lack of composure at times this season against the Klippers. Taking penalties early in the year was a sign they were losing their cool. They did that a lot against the Klippers. These are big games and in big games you need to stay calm and focused.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Forbes – Fransoo
Erickson – Charleson
Robin Yew – Lacoursiere

Young – Reich – Keller
McMillen – McColgan – Evans
Fountain – Petrino – Greenaway
Regan Yew – Delainey – Leonenko

Scratches: Quinn (sick), Schmidt (maintenance), Heinrich

Game #34 – North Stars host La Ronge Ice Wolves – Civic Center

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 16-15-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars lost to Melfort 6-5 at the Civic Center. It was a wild finish to the game with the North Stars scoring 3 times in the space of 60 seconds to get within a goal. But they couldn’t complete the comeback.

The North Stars came out with a very strong opening 5 minutes. But as was the story with the whole game they couldn’t get consistency. They’d have a couple good shifts in a row. Then follow that up with a couple bad shifts in a row. Give the Mustangs credit. They are playing well of late with a new head coach. And they took advantage of their opportunities.

A bad pinch led to a 2 on 1 and Melfort opened the scoring. There was also a back door play on the second goal. It was 3-0 Mustangs in the second period when Reed Delainey got the North Stars on the board. He got a partial break out of the penalty box and went in alone on Austin Rediron. Delainey cut across the net to the backhand and scored.

But it was 5-1 in the third when the Stars go their next goal. Ryne Keller’s great season continues. He’s really added consistent offense to his other skills. His 7th goal goal from Young and Forbes made it 5-2 midway through the third. Moments later affiliate player Josh Laframboise hit the post. He did everything right to create the scoring chance and his shot from the slot was an inch away from being perfect. He’s a talented young player with a bright future. If he had scored the game may have turned out differently.

Travis Mayan completed his hat trick and with 2:30 left the North Stars were down 6-2. So they pulled Darren Martin for the extra attacker and scored 3 power play goals in 60 seconds. The Mustangs lost their cool a little and took a couple bad penalties. Kyle Schmidt scored with a low shot through the 5-hole. Nick Fountain deflected a Dillon Forbes point shot and Jake McMillen popped in a rebound at the side of the net. But with 55 seconds left the Stars couldn’t get the final goal to tie the game.

Forbes ended up with 3 assists in the game. Blake Young and Austin Evans each had 2 helpers. McMillen and Schmidt each had a goal and an assist. It was nice to see the North Stars offense come alive. They just need to match their strong defensive play of the past couple weeks, prior to Wednesdays game, with their offense from the third period against Melfort.

Storylines:

  • Previous Meetings: The Ice Wolves are 2-1 against the North Stars this season and the road team has won every game. All 3 games have been won by a single goal. La Ronge has 5-4 and 2-1 wins at the Civic Center. The North Stars won 3-2 at the Mel. Dillon Forbes leads the Stars with 3 points in 3 games versus the Ice Wolves. Sagen, Bouchard, Bearegard and Golka all have a point per game versus the Stars.
  • Discipline: Last time these two teams met the North Stars took just 2 penalties that led to La Ronge power plays. And the Ice Wolves went 0-2 on the PP. Their power play is the bottom ranked PP in the league. Which is surprising considering players like Sagen, Beauregard and Edam’s Owen LaClare are on the man advantage. Plus they have added Tanner Clark as a PP QB. Despite the Ice Wolves low percentage it’s still advisable to stay out of the box.
  • Fast Start: The North Stars are 7-2-0-1 when leading after the first period. 8-5 when tied after the first period. And they are 1-8-0-1 when trailing after the first period. The Ice Wolves are 4-10 when trailing after 1. It’s pretty standard in hockey that it’s better to play with a lead. But the numbers for the North Stars really illustrate that point. Imagine if they had scored early again Melfort when they had several great shifts to start the game? Getting that early lead is so very important.
  • Forbes, Schmidt, Young: Forbes has 10 points (2+8) in his last 8 games. Schmidt has 5 (3+2) in his last 5. young checks in with 14 points (5+9) in his last 10 games. That’s some nice offense from key guys. The Stars get scoring buy committee so it was nice to see guys like Evans, Keller, Delainey and McMillen get some offense last time out. To be really successful this season the Stars will need to have all their lines rolling and contributing. Consistency shift in, shift out over 60 minutes from this team with it’s balance and array of talents? That’s scary. That’s how you win 8 in a row.
  • Christmas Break: At this time of year there are a lot of distractions for a hockey player. Especially one who is away from home and has been away for several months. I know how it feels as I can’t wait to see my nephew and the rest of my family when I get back to BC in a week. But the North Stars have 3 games left before the Christmas Break and they are important games. They all are from this point on. So the guys will have to block out the looming break and really buckle down and focus on tonight’s game.
  • Kramer Strength: The Kramer Division teams in their last 10 games played each? All above .500 and they have combined for 27 wins in those 40 games. For comparison, in the rest of the league only Nipawin and Yorkton are over .500 in their last 10. The Viterra Division has 18 wins in their 40 games combined. The Sherwood 17. So the Kramer is 10 wins better over the last 40 combined games played than the Sherwood. And that’s with the Stars having lost 2 straight. That’s a lot of numbers but it illustrates that right now there’s no better overall division than the Kramer. The teams in this division are going to be battle tested come playoff time.
  • Busy Night: Every SJHL teams are on the ice tonight. The Kindersley Klippers are in Flin Flon tonight. Humboldt is on the road against Notre Dame. Brett Boehm will debut for Yorkton against the Estevan Bruins. Melfort will be without Austin Rediron as they take on Melville. Nipawin is hosting Weyburn.
  • Rediron: For fans that are wondering it is worth pointing out that Austin Rediron did receive a 2 game suspension for his actions at the Civic Center after Wednesday’s game. Rediron made inappropriate gestures to some fans behind his goal after the final horn. Nice to see the SJHL act swiftly to deal with it.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) O and D Balance One goal against and one for? Or six against and five for? Neither. The Stars need to get back to the balance they had prior to this little run of games where they’ve struggled. They have the ability to suppress goals by being very good in their own zone and to create offense at the other end. And they definitely have the ability to do it in the same game!

2) Continue to Slow Down Top Guys  The North Stars have limited LaClare and Beauregard to 1 goal in the 3 head to head games so far. Those guys combine to average 0.69 goals per game. Against the North Stars they are at 0.11 so far. Beauregard does have 3 assists in 3 games and Michael Sagen has scored 3 times. But in terms of goals the Stars have done good work against 2 of the league’s elite goal scorers. The Ice Wolves are dangerous because several different lines can score. But you don’t want those two to forwards to decide the game.

3) Score Early – The stats I mentioned earlier, in regards to the Stars record when leading after 1, combined with the Stars unrewarded good starts the last couple games means they could use an early goal tonight. Getting that goal when you are playing well at the start of the game can have a massive impact on the game.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Forbes – Fransoo
Schmidt – Erickson
Charleson – Lacoursiere

McMillen – McColgan – Evans
Yong – Reich – Keller
Yew – Delainey – Leonenko
Fountain – Petrino – Heinrich

Scratches: Quinn (sick), Greenaway (sick), Robin Yew

Game #33 – North Stars host Melfort Mustangs at Civic Center

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 16-14-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars lost to La Ronge 2-1 at the Civic Center on Sunday. For the second straight games the North Stars went into the third period in a scoreless tie. And for the second straight game the Stars took a lead that they couldn’t increase. Latrell Charleson scored on a power play early in the third to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.

But a couple minutes later Michael Sagen and Eric Macoretta had scored and the North Stars were down 2-1. They were unable to mount any offense after that as Tyler Fuhr made 35 saves for the win. Michael Gudmandson made 30 saves and took the loss, his first as a North Star.

The loss ended the North Stars 8 game winning streak and snapped a 7 game home winning streak as well.

Storylines:

  • Previous Meetings: The North Stars are 3-0 against the Mustangs this season. They have won 5-4 in a shootout, 4-2 and 3-2. The most recent game was the 3-2 victory. The Stars trailed 2-0 heading to the third and weren’t playing very well. But they scored 3 straight to come back in the third period. Kyle Schmidt had a goal and an assist and scored the game winner. Michael Gudmandson made 29 saves for the win in that game.
  • Goalie of the Week: In the days since the North Stars last game was played they picked up an award. Darren Martin was named the SJHL’s goalie of the week for his performance against Weyburn. In that game Martin made 36 saves including 6 in overtime and he stopped all 3 Wings in the shootout. That is the first weekly award of Martin’s junior career. It’s the second award in the last 3 weeks for the North Stars as Michael Gudmandson picked up the same award two weeks ago.
  • Awards: The North Stars have now claimed 4 awards this season. Blake Young (player of the week), Kyle Schmidt (defenseman of the week), and the two goalie awards. Somewhat surprisingly they haven’t had a rookie of the week yet. With the strong play of Jake Erickson, Reed Delainey, Brenden Heinrich, Igor Leonenko, the Yew twins, Braden Lacoursiere and Darren Martin it seems like just a matter of time.
  • Offense: The North Stars offense had been rolling along after early season struggles. But the last couple games have been tight checking and closely contested. Two straight games with just the one goal in regulation isn’t a concern as of yet. But it would be nice to see the offense break out tonight.
  • Goalie Goal: Meadow Lake’s Austin Rediron had a goal an assist and made 19 saves for the win as the Mustangs beat the Kindersley Klippers 5-2 last night. Rediron is the first goalie in Melfort history to score as he fired the puck 200 feet into an empty net.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1rQGZvtUyk

  • Coaching Change: The Mustangs fired coach and GM Gavin Holcomb after that loss to the North Stars. They have replaced Holcomb with Trevor Blevins on an interim basis. Since making the change the Mustangs are 2-1 with wins over Estevan and Kinderlsey and a loss to Nipawin.
  • Season Series Sweep: This is the final meeting of the season between these two teams and the North Stars can sweep the season series with a victory. After last year’s playoff defeat against Melfort it would be nice to take a little revenge.
  • Streaks: The North Stars two lengthy win streaks ended the other night against La Ronge. Those streaks allowed the North Stars to climb back into the race in the Kramer Division. They don’t need to win 8 in a row again, although I won’t complain if they do, but from here on out it’s important that the North Stars come back from a loss with a win right away. Avoiding a couple game losing skid is important.
  • Igor: Big Igor Leonenko left the game in the second period Sunday and didn’t return. He is day to day. Tanner Quinn and Luke McColgan are likely out until after the Christmas break although McColgan is day to day. Brenden Heinrich has been sick. The North Stars have been hit with injuries and illness especially in their forward ranks of late. Hopefully they get a couple guys back tonight. *UPDATE* Heinrich will return to the lineup tonight for the North Stars. More on their lineup to come but it is great to see Heinrich back at the rink and ready to play.
  • Christmas: I just mentioned the Christmas break and it is coming up soon. The North Stars have 4 games left before the break. Tonight’s game will be followed by a home game versus La Ronge, a road trip to Kidnersley and a home game versus Flin Flon to wrap things up until 2014.
  • AP: The North Stars will have an AP in the lineup tonight with Ben Greenaway out sick again and Igor Leoneko still day to day after leaving the game on Sunday. So call up for tonight Josh Laframboise. Josh is playing with the midget AAA Battlefords Stars and has been a real find for the Stars program. A highly skilled forward he has 12 goals and 24 points in 22 games played this season. He is a Regina native and a nice looking prospect for the North Stars. He could be a real offensive key for the North Stars for a couple years to come. It will be fun getting a glimpse of that future tonight at the Civic Center.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1)   Finish – The North Stars struggled to score earlier in the year when they were struggling to win. Of late the offense has been very good. But in the last couple of games the North Stars have had chances and haven’t finished. As long as they continue to create scoring chances they will likely break out soon. I doubt the offense is going to go into a prolonged slump like they did earlier in the year.

2)  Full 60 The Stars didn’t come close to playing a full 60 against Melfort last time these two teams met. They won’t get away with that again. And I don’t expect a similar effort. This team knows what it takes to get back to winning ways.

3)  Focus on being North Stars – The North Stars will be facing the Mustangs for the 4th time this season. They went head to head 9 times last season including playoffs. And 7 times the season before. That means this is the 20th meeting of these teams since Kevin Hasselberg took over. But it is the first without Gavin Holcomb behind the bench. The North Stars always focus on their own game, playing North Stars hockey and making the opponent play the style the Stars want to play. That will be important tonight as the North Stars won’t know much about how Melfort will play under their new head coach.

North Stars Lineup:

Martin
Gudmandson

Forbes – Fransoo
Erickson – Schmidt
Robin Yew – Charleson

McMillen – McColgan – Evans
Young – Reich – Keller
Fountain – Petrino – Heinrich
Regan Yew – Laframboise ‘AP’ – Delainey

Scratches: Quinn (sick), Greenaway (sick), Leonenko, Lacoursiere

*UPDATE* Veru nice to have McColgan and Heinrich back. Those are two big pieces to have back in the lineup.

Game #32 – North Stars host La Ronge Ice Wolves – Civic Center

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 16-13-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars beat Weyburn 2-1 in a shootout to pick up their 8th win in a row. That’s also their 7th win in a row here at the Civic Center.

The Stars outshot the Wings 16-6 in the first period. It was a period with very few whistles, no penalties and a pretty good pace. Some of the fans I spoke with thought it was a little scrambly at times. But coach Hasselberg was happy with his team’s game. He was full of praise for the way they stuck to their structure. And he said it was similar to a playoff style game with few chances at either end of the ice.

The Wings went roughly 8 minutes of the second period without getting a shot on net but by the end of the period they had fired 12 shots at Darren Martin. He stopped them all. Martin had an excellent game in net and deserved the win. Rylan Parenteau at the other end was just as good. But the North Stars should have scored in the second period. Igor Leonenko hit the post with a lot of net to shoot at on a nice move to the backhand. Leonenko was frustrated as he went to the bench.

In the third the North Stars opened the scoring. Parenteau is an active goalie who likes to play the puck. He does get himself in trouble sometimes though. And when he and one of the Wings defense collided there was a loose puck behind the net. Blake Young was there pressuring and he stole the puck and got it out front to Dillon Forbes. Forbes made no mistake to open the scoring.

Later in the third the Wings got a power play when Reed Delainey took a late swing at a Red Wing after a whistle. It was pretty soft compared to a lot of the stuff that the ref had let go earlier when he wasn’t calling any penalties. But it was a power play for the Wings and they scored. Martin made a great initial save with his left leg but the rebound was popped home to tie the game.

Both teams had a power play after that but neither could score and the game went to OT and then to a shootout.

Latrell Charleson shot second for the Stars and he said he saw room 5-hole during the Stars first shot by Jack Petrino. So Charleson went to the 5-hole and scored. Darren Martin stopped all 3 Weyburn shooters and the Stars picked up the win.

Storylines:  

  • Previous Meetings: The North Stars beat La Ronge 3-2 in their most recent meeting in La Ronge. The Stars got goals from Brenden Heinrich and Ryne Keller in the first period to lead 2-0. It was 2-2 in the third when Dillon Forbes scored the game winner. Darren Martin picked up the win. Earlier this year the Ice Wolves won 5-4 when the Stars were in the midst of that 7 game losing skid. And they hadn’t won at home at that point either. Forbes, Fountain, Keller, Erickson, Schmidt and Young all have 2 points in 2 games against the Ice Wolves this season.
  • Early Stars: The two teams will be a little out of their normal routine with this early start. Puck drops at 5:30 here at the Civic Center. The Stars will just move up their preparations by a couple of hours. Not much else really changes. Hopefully the guys got a good night sleep after their win yesterday. For La Ronge it’s a little tougher as they were in Kindersley last night. They didn’t get to sleep in their own beds and they have to bus to the game. Their pre-game will be important.
  • New Look: The Ice Wolves have made a lot of moves of late. Their most recent trade sent the Duret brothers to Estevan in exchange for Tanner Clark and Hudson Morrison. Morrison had a great season last year but has been struggling a little this year. Clark is a top D man who was in Flin Flon last year. He’s offensively gifted and solid in his own zone. The Ice Wolves now have several great scoring lines with Beauregard, LaClare, Sagen, Morrison, Agner-Bouchard, Landon Robin, and Jared Iron. The Ice Wolves also have former North Stars Joren Johnson on D.
  • Struggles: The North Stars have their struggles at the start of the year when they began the year 4-12. We know what has happened since. It has been the opposite for La Ronge. They started the season with 6 straight wins. At one point they were 7-1. They are 3-10-1 in their last 14 games. Hence the trades as they look for a winning formula. They’ve got talent on that roster though and they have the look of a team that will put it together soon and get back into the win column with regularity.
  • Goals: The Ice Wolves are one of the top teams in the league in terms of goal scoring. They have also let in the most goals in the SJHL this season. So there could be a lot of offense in this game.
  • Even: The North Stars are 10-10-0-1 in their last 21 games against the Ice Wolves going back a couple years.
  • Nine: With a win today the North Stars would tie the second longest winning streak during the Hasselberg era. Two seasons ago the North Stars won 9 in a row. They also had a 13 game winning streak that season.
  • Ice: There was a midget AA game here this morning at 11. Then Midget AAA Stars are playing Tisdale as we speak. The ice here at the Civic Center gets a lot of use but that’s 3 pretty intense games in a row. It will be interesting to see how the ice holds up and how it affects the game.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1)   Focus – With the recent trades that La Ronge has made they have several lines that can score. Their top line is potent but the Stars will have to be alert at all times.

2)   Capitalize – The Ice Wolves have losses in their last 5 games where they scored 5 goals and 6 goals. So they can be vulnerable in their own zone. When chances are created, or presented, the Stars need to finish them off.  

3) Face-off – The North Stars have been great in the face-off circle this season. It’s one of their real strengths. And when facing a team with offensive fire power like the Ice Wolves one of the ways to limit their effectiveness is to limit who much they have the puck.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Erickson – Schmidt
Fransoo – Charleson
Robin Yew – Lacoursiere

Fountain – Petrino – Forbes
Young – Delainey – Leonenko
Regan Yew – Keller – Greenaway
McMillen – Reich – Evans

Scratches: Quinn (sick), Heinrich (sick), McColgan

Game #31 – North Stars host Weyburn Red Wings – Civic Center

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 15-13-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars came from behind to beat Melfort on the road back on Wednesday. After an ugly 1st period and a second that was slightly better the Stars came out with a solid third period and scored 3 unanswered to win the game.

Regan Yew, Blake Young and Kyle Schmidt scored the goals for the North Stars and they managed to get a power play game winner from their captain as they won the special teams battle.

Michael Gudmandson picked up the win. He is now 5-0 as a North Star and the team has won 7 in a row. 6 of those since Goody joined the team.

Storylines:  

  • Previous Meetings: The North Stars have a regulation win and a shootout win against the Wings this season. The Stars first home win of the year came against the Wings almost exactly a month ago. They also won in a shootout in Weyburn in a game in which Brenden Heinrich scored his first Junior ‘A’ goal to tie the game late. Heinrich has 1 goal in 1 game against the Wings. Luke McColgan does as well. Jake Erickson has 2 assists in the 2 head to head games. Ty McLean and Brian Farkas each have a goal and an assist for the Wings in 2 games.
  • Kramer Auctions Shootout Showdown: After tonight’s game there will be a shootout showdown which means during the intermissions the Hot Stove Lounge will be buzzing with auctioneering. Bid on your favourite player and if that player wins the shootout showdown you get half the prize pool. The other half goes to the North Stars. It’s a fun way to raise money. And Kramer Auctions makes it happen. They are a great supporter of local hockey, the North Stars and the SJHL.
  • Kramer Division: The North Stars currently have a record that is above .500. There are 6 teams in the league that are currently at or above that mark. Nipawin, Yorkton and Melville are 3. Kindersley, Humboldt and the North Stars are the other three. So half the .500 teams in the league are in the Kramer Division. So it goes without saying that it’s a tough division. And Notre Dame was at .500 until a recent 2 game skid. The Kramer has 4 good teams.
  • Games Played Evening Up: The Battlefords North Stars have now played just 1 more game than Humboldt and 2 more than Kindersley. They still have way more games played than Notre Dame but the massive games in hand advantage for the teams in front of them has dwindled and the Stars are still within touching distance of those teams. There is a lot of season left as well but the North Stars will need to keep stringing wins together.
  • Goalies: The have been very few goals between these two teams so far this season. Rylan Parenteau has a 1.94GAA in the two games. Darren Martin allowed just 1 goal in his start against the Wings here at the Civic Center. He stopped 34 shots for the win.
  • Health: I was at the gym Thursday night and saw a few of the North Stars players who were sick earlier in the week. Greenaway and Charleson in particular. After playing with a slightly short bench in Melfort it will be nice in the Stars can get a little healthier and get some of these key guys back in the lineup. Luke McColgan told me he might be ready by tonight as well. So it will be interesting to see who is in the lineup tonight.
  • Travellers: The North Stars have played 17 games away from home and just 13 here at the Civic Center. That balance will be addressed with 4 straight at home here in early to mid-December. The North Stars have 9 wins away from home which is tied for the league lead.
  • Home Roll: The Stars are won 6 in a row at home and after starting 0-7 at home they have a chance to get back to .500 at home with a 7-7 record.  The Wings have a .500 home record but on the road they have struggled with just 4 wins.
  • Different Winners: During their current win streak the North Stars have had a game-winning goal from a different player each night. And their last three game-winning goals have come from D men. Lacoursiere, Forbes and Schmidt. They seem to find different ways to win each time out and it’s been fun to watch.
  • Wings Flying: The Red Wings have been playing a lot better of late. Their record is 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games. But prior to that they had really been struggling. It’s a nice run that has come since trading away some veteran players. They are a young team that is figuring out how to win in the SJHL. They have lost a couple in a row but that will just make them even more dangerous.
  • Blake Young: He has 12 points in his last 9 games. The Stars have gotten offense from several places in the lineup. But Young has been consistently good the last month. He went through an 8 game streak where he didn’t get a point from mid-October to early November. He’s raised his game since then.
  • Defense: We’ve talked about the Stars getting offense from their defense. But we haven’t talked enough about the job they are doing in their own zone. The forwards are included in that of course. As a team the Stars have allowed just 12 goals during their 7 game winning streak.
  • Other Notes: The North Stars have a 9-4-0-2 record in 1 goal games. They play well in close encounters.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1)   Power – The Wings power play is significantly better on the road than it is at home. The North Stars PP is much better at home than on the road. So there could be special teams goals scored in this game.

2)   Tips: The North Stars have done a really good job of late with deflections and rebounds. Earlier in the season they weren’t getting to loose pucks around the net. That has changed. And with good point shots getting through the Stars have scored a lot of goals on deflections lately. The goaltending in this league is so strong this year you need those kinds of goals. Parenteau is playing well so he falls in that category.

Pregame – The North Stars had several players writing SATs this morning. So it’s important that they re-boot after that mental exertion. Get a good nap. Good pre-game meal. And have a good warmup both on and off the ice leading up to the game.

North Stars Lineup:

Martin
Gudmandson

Schmidt ‘C’ – Erickson
Robin Yew – Lacoursiere
Fransoo – Charleson

McMillen – Reich – Evans
Young – Delainey – Leonenko
Fountain – Petrino – Forbes ‘A’
Regan Yew – Keller – Greenaway

Scratches: Quinn (Sick), Heinrich (Sick), McColgan (Upper Body)

7 in a row for North Stars

The Battlefords North Stars played a pretty good final period last night in Melfort and it was just enough to get the win.

With 5 regulars out of the lineup the North Stars were a little light up front last night. They called up an ‘AP’ in 15 year old Chris Woods. Woods is the younger brother of former North Star Mitch Woods. chris is a big kid at 6’3 and 180ish as a 15 year old. He didn’t look out of place despite playing in his first ever Junior ‘A’ game. Woods was actually getting double shifted at times in the first period as the North Stars only had 11 forwards dressed.

With Quinn, Heinrich and Charleson all sick and Greenaway and McColgan banged up the North Stars were missing offense, size, and most of their more physical players. It shouldn’t be discounted how much size and how many hits were missing from the lineup. The North Stars have had players in and out of the lineup of late and they make no excuses. They continue to find ways to win. But it wasn’t a great performance last night especially the first half of the game. And the guys who were missing are all key guys.

The first period was not good from the Stars. It was an ugly period highlighted by very few scoring chances. Plenty of turnovers. And a goalie holding his team in the game at times. Michael Gudmandson was solid again despite being beaten twice. Jamie Miller opened the scoring on the first shot of the game. After that Goody was beaten just once on thirty shots.

The Stars had a couple of chances in the first. Taylor Reich made a nice play from a sharp angle on a rebound. Instead of shooting he fired a pass across the crease to Jake McMillen but he was unable to get a stick on the puck. Blake Young had a nice rush in the first and eventually Young and Delainey teamed up in the slot. They couldn’t get a goal as a backhand shot was fired off target.

By the end of the first the Stars were down 2-0 and not playing well. Give the mustangs credit for their good opening period. And give the Stars credit for not packing it in. They came out in the second and played a little better. They certainly settled down a little in their own zone. They protected the front of the net for the most part and cut down on the turnovers. Neither team got much rubber on goal as the shots were 9-6 ‘Stangs in the middle frame. Austin Rediron was good when he needed to be, but he wasn’t called on a lot in the opening 40 minutes.

So thanks to some good goaltending and good discipline the North Stars were still in the game heading to the third. The Stars only gave up 3 power plays to the Mustangs and the PK looked good on all 3. They were also a little forunate as the second period was the frame in which they played about 15 seconds with 6 skaters on the ice. Trent Cey was doing colour for me last night and he noticed right away. No one on the ice noticed though and the 4 officials missed it completely. The Stars dodged a bullet on that one.

In the final period the Stars came out flying and quickly tied the game. A Braden Lacoursiere point shot was tipped home by Regan Yew to open the scoring and break Rediron’s shutout bid. Then a minute later it was Kyle Schmidt with one of the netter passes we will see all season. His stretch pass split the Mustangs apart and sent Blake Young in all alone. Young has great wheels so he wasn’t going to be caught. He also made no mistake as Rediron was forced back into the crease by Young’s speed. With very little backlift Young was able to fire the puck over the glove of Rediron and into the top corner.

Melfort used their timeout to settle things down and they had several really good shifts in a row after the game was tied. But Gudmandson again made key timely saves and the Stars eventually got a game winner from their captain. Brandon Sloan hit Nick Fountain from behind and was given 2 for boarding. Fountain didn’t really hit the boards as he was able to turn as he was falling. But Sloan saw Fountain’s numbers all the way and still hit him. An easy call for the officials. On the ensuing power play Schmidt fired a point shot through a screen untouched into the top corner over the glove of Rediron again.

For Schmidt now that’s 3 goals and 12 assists for 15 points in 22 games. He’d likely be near the top of the league in scoring from D men if he hadn’t missed games this season. And remember he was hurt at the start of the year which must have hurt his preseason preparations. Schmist was excellent earlier in the season and has gotten back to that level of late after missing time following that loss in Nipawin. It’s hard to say for sure because I don’t see many games in the league other than games that involve the North Stars so I can’t say Schmidt is the best D man in the league. But he has to be in the conversation. He’s been great. And his leadership has been a big key in the North Stars turn around.

The Stars couldn’t get an insurance goal and the Mustangs did get the net empty after a late penalty kill. But the Stars were able to see out the game.

They didn’t play their best game but they got another good game in net from Michael Gudmandson. They won the special teams battle and for the most part played a very disciplined game. They regrouped after a tough opening period. And they got the 2 points. Blake Young and Kyle Schmidt both finished with 2 points.

The Stars will have to be better on Saturday night when they host Weyburn at the Civic Center. The Wings have been playing well of late and get great goaltending. They have a young team but they have a lot of young talent and as we’ve seen from the North Stars this season once that young talent finds it’s feet in the league other teams have to watch out. So it will be a good game and hopefully a big crowd as the North Stars go for win number 8 in a row. And win number 7 in a row on home ice.

Game #30 – North Stars visit Melfort – Northern Lights Palace

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 14-13-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars won their 6th in a row overall, and also their 6th in row at home, with a 4-2 win over Estevan in front of their parents and billets. Michael Gudmandson improved to 4-0 as a Star with his strong performance. Latrell Charleson and Dillon Forbes continue to chip in on offense.

Nick Fountain, Kyle Schmidt and Charleson scored. Braden Lacoursiere popped in the game winner via a deflection. Fountain now has 3 goals and 5 points in his last 4 games played only being held off the score sheet by La Ronge in that stretch.

After the game there was a nice party in the Hot Stove Lounge and the weekend was a great success overall. For some of the players it was a great chance to see one or both of their parents and maybe some other family members as well. And for some of these kids they are a long way from home. That will hopefully energize and motivate them to finish strong heading into the Christmas break.

Storylines:

  • AP: The North Stars have an AP call up in the lineup tonight as they continue to have injuries and illness keeping guys out of the lineup. The younger brother of former North Stars Mitch Woods will suit up for the Stars tonight. Chris Woods is a 15 year old affiliate who is currently playing Midget AA.
  • Previous Meetings: The North Stars are 2-0 so far this season against the Mustangs. Jake McMillen scored twice in Melfort back in October as the Stars win 4-2. Casey Parker, who is no longer with the North Stars, out dueled Austin Rediron in that game. Reed Delainey and Braden Lacoursiere also scored. Lacoursiere has scored twice this season and they are both game winners. In that first meeting the Stars killed 9 of 10 penalties.
  • Previous Meetings Part 2: In the second matchup the North Stars won 5-4 in a shootout at the Civic Center. They outshot the Mustangs by a hefty margin but Jack Romanuik was solid in net. The North Stars pulled Darren Martin after 2 periods and 3 goals allowed. Casey Parker came in for the win. The Stars got goals from Luke McColgan (x2), Blake Young and Robin Yew. For Yew it was his first as a North Star and first career SJHL goal. Igor Leonenko kept the shootout going in a pressure situation and then Latrell Charleson scored the shootout winner.
  • Over .500: The North Stars are over .500 for the first time this season with more wins than losses. They do have a couple of losses in OT and SOs so a win tonight and they would have as many wins as overall losses. They can get to 15-15 with a victory. They don’t give out loser points in the playoffs so it’s interesting to keep track of that record as well. The North Stars are 9-13 in games decided in regulation as well. So there is still work to do to improve aspects of their record. But really all they can do is keep taking it one game at a time and finding ways to win. The rest will take care of itself.
  • Not Full Strength: It’s not something we’ve talked a lot about so far but the North Stars haven’t been full strength in a while. With a cold or flu going through some of the guys in the room and with a couple others a little banged up they have had to shuffle the lineup on a game by game basis. Yet they continue to win. With guys like Schmidt, McColgan, Quinn, Greenaway and Heinrich having missed time of late the Stars haven’t missed a beat. It has made life a bit easier for the coaches and I know every team is banged up this time of year. But it would be nice to get the North Stars back to 100% healthy. It will likely not happen until after Christmas however.
  • Goalies: Interesting that the North Stars will go into tonight’s game against the Mustangs with a 2-0 record so far yet they don’t have a goalie on their roster who has beaten Melfort this season. That’s a somewhat unique situation.
  • Stang Struggles: Melfort has just a couple of wins in their last 10 games. They do have a few OT and SO losses of late as well. They’ve played good teams though losing to teams like the North Stars, Yorkton, Kindersley and Flin Flon. They closed out November with back to back losses in which they scored just 1 goal. But they scored 7 the game before that. So it’s a mixed bag from Melfort. You don’t know what you are going to get but with a team that is struggling there’s usually a backlash at some point.
  • Special Teams: They are special again for the North Stars! After a period of real struggles on the power play, and at times the PK, the North Stars are now up to 5th in the league in penalty killing and even more encouraging they are up to 6th in the league on the man advantage. Special teams are something I talk about a lot because I believe they can decide playoff games and sometimes an entire series. Good teams have good special teams. At least one great unit and usually they are very good at both.
  • Kramer Losses: Both Kramer teams that were in action last night lost. Humboldt fell to Estevan 2-1. Melville lit up Notre Dame for 7 goals in a 7-4 victory. That’s good news for the North Stars who have been winning a lot lately and making up less ground in the Kramer than you’d have thought because the other teams have been winning and picking up OT and SO points when they lose. There is still a lot of time left but we are past half way for the North Stars so I am going to be keeping a closer eye on the standings in the next few months.
  • Rookies: We know about the North Stars rookies and all their talents. Erickon, Heinrich, Delainey, Leonenko, the Yew twins, Lacoursiere and Darren Martin. The leader in rookie scoring is Travis Mayan of the Melfort Mustangs. He has been excellent. So has Rediron in net. So both teams are getting big contributions from rookie players.

Keys to the Game?

1) Work: The Melfort Mustangs always put in a good effort. The North Stars usually find a way to match that effort and a good game ensues. But you can’t let the Stangs outwork you because that is the key to their success.

2) Life: The Mustangs haven’t been seeing a lot of success of late. There is plenty of talent on this team though so you figure it will turn around soon. So if you are the North Stars you may as well not give the Mustangs any life. Get going early and keep Melfort from getting any life.

3) Balance: The North Stars got 3 goals from D men in their most recent game. They continue to get scoring from all over the lineup. Blake Young has been their best player offensively this season and in November he was great. But the key was the balance. The Petrino line is scoring. Ryne Keller’s offense continue to set career highs. The D chips in. And the top 6 produces. That’s been a key for the Stars and it will be again tonight.  

North Stars Lineup:

Young – Delainey – Leonenko
Regan Yew – Keller
Fountain – Petrino – Woods
McMillen – Reich – Evans

Forbes – Fransoo
Schmidt – Erickson
Lacoursiere – Robin Yew

Gudmandson
Martin

Scratches: Quinn (sick), Heinrich (sick), Charleson (sick), Greenaway (upper body), McColgan (upper body)

Shooting Stars close out Movember

The Battlefords North Stars wrapped up an incredible month of November with yet another win last night at the Civic Center. And they did it in front of their parents and billets.

In the last month the North Stars have found ways to win and seemingly found a different way to win each game. Last night? The special teams won the battle against a very good PP and PK team. And the D chipped in win 3 of the 4 goals.

The first two periods were penalty filled periods with each team spending a lot of time on the power play. In the first it was the North Stars getting 5 chances on the PP. And they scored twice. Off a faceoff win from Ryne Keller the North Stars went Charleson to Forbes and the big D man blasted a one timer just wide. The rebound off the end boards came right to Nick Fountain and he made no mistake. 1-0 North Stars. Forbes is now on a 4 game point streak.

After the Bruins tied the game thanks to a nifty tip from Austin Daae the North Stars responded again. The power play was struggling a bit so coach Hasselberg sent out Jack Petrino as part of a different looking power play unit. The moved worked perfectly. Petrino was up at the left point and with Jake Erickson sliding to the high slot there was room for Kyle Schmidt to go roving. He cut into the slot and was found by Petrino. Schmidt did a Sedinesque tip from the mid to high slot area that beat Gibney to make it 2-1 North Stars.

With the penalties at 5-1 in favour of the North Stars I don’t think anyone was surprised to see the Bruins get a few chances on the man advantage in the second period. The scored after a weak call on Jake Erickson made it a 5 on 3 power play. Michael Gudmandson was excellent last night only being beaten on a redirection and a 2 man advantage. Froese scored to tie the game.

I thought the third was the best period of the game. And that’s probably not surprising considering it was the period with the fewest penalties called. But the Stars killed a penalty when Robin Yew was sent off for high sticking. And when they got their chance they scored.

When Latrell Charleson blasted a point shot through traffic to score the Stars 3rd power play goal of the game it was an insurance marker. That’s because a little less than 2 minutes earlier Braden Lacoursiere fired a point shot of a leg and passed Gibney. Not the prettiest goal but not many in the Civic Center seemed to care. For Lacoursiere that’s now 2 goals and both have been game winners.

Charleson was shorted an assist but when that is fixed will be up to 17 points this season. That’s closing him in on top 5 in the league. Kyle Schmidt and Jake Erickson are also in the top 15 as the North Stars D has been a nice source of offense this season.

Michael Gudmandson improved to 4-0 as a North Star with a 1.75GAA and a .952 save percentage. Gudmandson doesn’t have enough starts to qualify but that GAA would be good for 2nd in the league. Darren Martin is also in the top 10.

So the North Stars have won 6 in a row at home. They have won 6 in a row overall. They finished Movember with a record of 10-1-0-2 to improve from 4-12 coming into the month to 14-13-0-2 heading to December. And now we are in the second half of the season so the hard work is no where near over. But who would doubt this group is up for the challenge? I don’t. And I have no doubt they will continue to work hard, have fun and find ways to win.

—–

After the game the North Stars had a chance to party with their parents and billets and some fans. It was a great event with a silent auction and even a rookie dance off that should have been won by Reed Delainey. My personal favourite for laughter value was definitely Darren Martin.

It was great to meet some of the parents that I hadn’t had a chance to meet yet and to chat with as many of them as I could. The North Stars have a team full of good kids and that’s in part because their parents are good people. They are all so kind when speaking with me and thankful for what I do as a play by play guy. It’s a great job because I get paid to watch hockey so it’s icing on the cake when so many parents say such nice things. And it is truly appreciated. I wish them all safe travels wherever they are headed and hope to see them all again soon.

—-

There were some trades today with the December 1st roster cut down deadline. Interesting to see the moves Estevan made with La Ronge. And Brandon Long is back in the SJHL with Humboldt. That’s very interesting. Looking forward to seeing Long again soon. The North Stars didn’t need to make any moves and I doubt they will anytime soon.