40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
North Stars Record: 19-16-0-2
Last game recap – The North Stars won their first game of 2014 with a 4-0 victory on the road in Humboldt.
It wasn’t a great start for the North Stars who looked like they weren’t back to mid-season form following the Christmas break. The Broncos came out of the gates quickly and, despite the Stars having 3 power plays in the first period, the shots were heavily in favour of the Broncos in the first period. But Michael Gudmandson was solid making 12 saves in the opening frame.
The North Stars best line in the opening period was Petrino, Greenaway and Fountain. That group got a lot of ice time as they had good early jump. That’s no surprise. As Fountain said to me after the game, it’s hard to not have jump when you’re playing with Greenaway. He plays the same style all the time and it’s always high speed and intense.
The Stars were also short a skater with Heinrich and Robin Yew sick. Tanner Quinn close to returning and Igor Leonenko not back from his break yet. So lots of ice for the guys playing well and it brought a late first period goal. Ben Greenaway with a sharp angle shot that beat Pashovitz past the glove on the short side.
In the second period the Stars got going a little more and it was a slightly more even period. The shots still favoured the Broncos and there were times when the North Stars looked like they were in trouble. There was a mid-period power play that produced a half dozen shots. Gudmandson stopped them all. On that same power play the Stars couldn’t get a change and Dillon Forbes and Braden Lacoursiere ended up playing about a 3 minute shift. They were tired but Gudmandson made the saves and eventually the North Stars got their line change.
It was 2-0 after 2 as the North Stars got another goal despite having just 15 shots after 40 minutes. Ryne Keller with a shot from a very similar position to the one Greenaway had on his goal. And again Keller’s shot beat Pashovitz on the near post past the glove.
The North Stars best period was the final frame. In the third the Broncos hardly created anything offensively as the puck spent a lot of time in the offensive zone. The Stars did a better job in the face off circle. They were able to be more physical. And they got pucks in deep at every opportunity.
It created two more goals late as the Stars pulled away. Nick Fountain threw a great hit in the offensive zone on the Broncos puck carrier. It came loose to Petrino and his shot hit the post then bounced in off the skate of Pashovitz. The goal was credited as unassisted but Fountain’s hit deserved a helper. 27 seconds later Taylor Reich jammed a loose puck home to wrap up the scoring. That’s the first time that Ryland Pashovitz has allowed 4 goals in a game in his SJHL career. It became his first ever regulation loss as well.
Michael Gudmandson made 37 saves in total to pick up his 3rd shutout in his 10th start with the North Stars. That one may have been the most satisfying as he did it against the Broncos. One of the team’s he played for last season
- Previous Meetings: The Broncos are 3-1 so far this season against the North Stars. Prior to last night, the Broncos have won both games at the EPA by a single goal. D men Logan Sproule and David Stumbourg both have 4 points in 4 games head to head with the Stars. No one added to their totals last night as Gudmandson pitched the shutout. Ryne Keller leads the way for the Battlefords with 4 points in 4 games. After 2 last night Taylor Reich now has 3 points in 3 games against the Broncos for the Stars this season.
- Back to Back: The same two teams playing again tonight means there should be a nice intensity to the game. It’s a divisional game as well and the Broncos will be upset that they gut shutout last night. The game in Humboldt was very physical at times. So tonight’s game sets up very well.
- Goalies: The matchup was a top one last night between Gudmandson and Pashovitz. The Stars got to the young Broncos goalie for 4 goals. Gudmandson picked up his 3rd shutout. Those two could still go head to head again tonight. Both teams have 2 very good goalies though and it will be interesting to see who is between the pipes tonight. Gudmandson is coming off a shutout but I wonder if he will face Spencer or if Humboldt goes right back to Pashovitz.
- Power Play: The Broncos have the league’s best penalty kill. But it is no where near as good on the road as it is at home. The Broncos kill over 90% of the penalties they take at the EPA. They only kill 80% of the penalties they take on the road. So the North Stars could have some chances on the power play. The Stars and Broncos are very similar and when on their games they don’t allow many goals or chances. So special teams can be very important.
- Home: The North Stars have road games in La Ronge and in Flin Flon this month. They also have several home games as well. Not easy games but they can take advantage of home ice to have a solid month. The crowds should get bigger as we move along as well.
- The Record: The team is 3 games over .500 for the second time this season. They haven’t gotten to 4 games above at any point this season. They can get to that mark with a win tonight. Also with a won tonight the Stars would be 6 back of the Broncos who would have a game in hand. But that would make the gap seem a lot smaller.
- Trade Deadline: The trade deadline is looming. January 10th. Less than a week away. I have no idea at this point what will happen. Could the North Stars make a move or two? Maybe. There aren’t many teams that are out of the race in their division and so just about every team still has a chance at the playoffs. That will make trading within the SJHL tough. Not impossible but tough.
Some Keys for the Stars:
1) Physical – Over the last several seasons we’ve seen that the team that is more physical usually wins the game between the Broncos and the Stars. The North Stars style does work against any team and the Broncos are no different. Whichever team imposes their style on the game will win.
2) Faceoffs – The Broncos were really good in the faceoff dot last night. That’s part of the reason they were able to control a lot of the play in the early going. They had the puck a lot more than the Stars. It got better in the third for the North Stars. Both teams have good centers so the battle to win faceoffs will be a key.
3) The Third – The success the Stars had in the third period last night can be replicated tonight. it took the Stars until the third to find their legs and they relied on the goalie at times in the first couple periods. So just do what you did well in the third period last night for a full 60 minutes tonight.
North Stars Lineup: