Game #37 – North Stars visit Humboldt Broncos

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 18-16-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars won their final game of 2014 beating Flin Flon 3-2 in a shootout. The Stars out shot the Bombers 53-45 including a 5-1 advantage in overtime. But both goalies were excellent and the game went to the shootout. Latrell Charleson scored the game winner.

Michael Gudmandson picked up the win in net after winning his duel with Devin Buffalo at the other end of the ice. Austin Evans and Jake McMillen scored the Stars goals in regulation. McMillen also scored to extend the shootout.

The Stars finished the 2013 portion of their schedule with a record of 18-16-0-2 as they head into 2014.

Storylines:

  • Previous Meetings: The Broncos are 3-0 so far this season against the North Stars and this will be the third and final meeting between these two teams in Humboldt this season. The Broncos have won both games at the EPA by a single goal. The most recent meeting was a 3-2 Broncos win in a shootout back on November 16th. D men Logan Sproule and David Stumbourg both have 4 points in 3 games head to head with the Stars. Ryne Keller leads the way for the Battlefords with 3 points in 3 games.
  • Similarity: While looking at the two teams rosters there are several similarities. Scoring from the D is one. Balanced scoring with no one player leading the way. No player at or near a point a game this season. Goalies with incredible stats. Good special teams play. These two teams have a lot in common.
  • 2014: It isn’t an easy start for the Stars and January won’t be an easy month. They have plenty of big games including this weekend’s home and home with Humboldt. The Stars also have back to back road games in La Ronge next week. They have back to backs with Notre Dame and Flin Flon, on the road, later this month as well. Plus games against Yorkton and Nipawin. There are no easy games in the SJHL, and that’s especially true this season, so the Stars will have to be at their best in January.
  • Kramer Division: By my count the North Stars are 0-2-0-1 against the Broncos and 1-5 against the Kindersley Klippers this season. Against the rest of the SJHL the North Stars are 17-9-0-1. Those head to head games are the reason the North Stars are third in their division and 6th in the overall SJHL standings. They may not have time to catch those two teams but there are 20 games left so anything is possible.
  • Playoff Format: As I mentioned earlier today on the blog, the playoff format is a little different than I was lead to believe. In fact I went back and re-read the articles about the playoff format from back in the fall and it appears I wasn’t the only one who was either confused or misinformed. It doesn’t really matter though as the playoff format has been clarified and it’s good news for the North Stars. They don’t have to catch Kindersley or Humboldt for second in the Kramer to avoid a survivor series.
  • Christmas Break: Tonight is the North Stars first game back following the Christmas break. It was a lengthy break and well deserved after the Stars played so many games before the break. It will be interesting to see how the team plays following that layoff. In the previous two seasons under Coach Hasselberg the North Stars are 2-0 in their first games back after Christmas.
  • World U17s: Coach Hasselberg was the assistant coach with Team West at the World U17 Championships in Nova Scotia. That tournament is actually still going on but unfortunately Team West is done after not making the knock out round. I am not sure when we will see Hasselberg back with the North Stars because travel from the east coast has been a nightmare the last couple days.
  • Coach Smith: With coach Hasselberg away this weekend the North Stars are bringing in the coach of the midget AAA Stars Martin Smith to fill in behind the bench. Smith is a former North Star who is now in his second seasons with the Midget AAA program after working with the Bantam AA Barons prior to that. He has rejuvenated the AAA program and has the AAA Stars near the top of the SMAAAHL. Smith also has experience coaching several of the current North Stars and has worked closely with the Stars the past few seasons.
  • Health: Tanner Quinn is days away from being cleared to play but isn’t ready to go yet. Kyle Schmidt is back after an absence prior to Christmas. Both Igor Leonenko and Brenden Heinrich have not yet rejoined the team. So the Stars are healthy and on the verge of having a fully stocked team.
  • Long: Brandon Long faces his former team for the first time this season. Long was picked up late in 2013 by the Broncos and so far has 1 goal and 4 points in 6 games played for Humboldt. He is in the lineup tonight centering the third line.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Active D – 2 of the Broncos top 4 scorers are defensemen. Sproule and Stumbourg are the top two in the league in terms of defense scoring. And they’ve both put up 4 points in 3 games versus the North Stars this season. A key for the Stars will be slowing down the Broncos D.

2) Crash the CreaseThe Broncos goalies are two of the top backstops in the league and Ryland Pashovitz is putting together a season unlike anything the SJHL has seen before. The rookie is 11-0-3 this season with 4 shutouts and and a 1.18 goals against average. He hasn’t lost in regulation yet in his SJHL career and has only given up 4 goals in his last 5 starts. Cade Spencer is overshadowed but also putting together a tremendous rookie season. So the Stars will have to make life difficult for the Broncos goalies. They do have some success against Pashovitz as the Stars are one of two teams that have managed more than 2 goals in a game versus the rookie goalie this season.

3) Energy  – The North Stars should be revitalized after a nice break spent with friends and family. They should be ready for the season half of the season and the energy that comes from seeing light at the end of the tunnel. The playoffs are just 20 games away and it’s a new year. Channel that energy and excitement out onto the ice because when the North Stars have jump and energy to go with their hard work they usually find success.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Forbes – Fransoo
Erickson – Schmidt
Lacoursiere – Charleson
Robin Yew

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

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

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