Jake McMillen has been named the SJHL’s player of the week. The award was given to McMillen after he helped the Stars go 3-0 with wins over La Ronge twice on the road and Yorkton at home.
During the week McMillen had 4 goals and 2 assists for 6 points. He is now up to 13 goals on the season. 3 of McMillen’s 4 goals came on the power play.
That’s the 6th weekly award for the Stars as McMillen joins Michael Gudmandson, twice, and Darren Martin (goalie of the week), Kyle Schmidt (D man of the week), and Blake Young (player of the week) as weekly winners.
The North Stars beat Yorkton on Saturday night at the Civic Center. Goals from Blake Young, the game winner, Jake McMillen and Kyle Schmidt were the difference as Michael Gudmandson made 32 saves for the win.
The day started with the North Stars alumni game. Team White scored a 9-7 victory. It was great seeing a lot of former North Stars take to the ice from old timers like David George to the most recent alumni in the game, Braeden Johnson. Team White also won a shootout after the game.
Drinks and then dinner followed upstairs at the Civic Center prior to puck drop. There was a silent auction and in the end it seemed like a lot of fun was had by all involved.
To the game now. The Yorkton Terriers came out of the first period with a 1-0 lead that they probably deserved. It took the North Stars a little while to get going in the game. The first 10 minutes or so it was clear the Yorkton was outplaying the Stars. And they got a goal when a Tyson Enzie shot was stopped by Gudmandson. But the rebound went right to Brett Boehm and he scored his 18th of the season.
Earlier in the season it seemed the second period was the North Stars nemesis. Even going back to the previous season the Stars appeared to struggle in the middle frame. But lately? That’s not been the case. The second has often been the North Stars best period during their current win streak.
The Stars came out and dominated the second period. Controlling the play, out shooting the Terriers heavily and scoring a pair of goals. Kyle Schmidt tied the game on the power play as he was set up in the slot and fired past the glove of Terriers goalie Riley Medves. Blake Young set up the goal despite what the score sheet says. When that gets fixed he will end up with a 2 point game.
The North Stars second goal, and game winner, was set up by the newest Star Cam Blair. He worked the puck out front from behind the net and Young’s one timer beat Medves. Blair was able to have an immediate impact in his first game. And with this week’s practices to get used to the way the Stars play, it’s exciting to think what Blair will do moving forward.
The third period was another strong one from the Stars with Jake McMillen scoring on the power play. The Stars now have 2 power play goals in each of their last 3 games. For McMillen that goal capped off a fine week where he put up 6 points including 4 goals. He’s one goal back of Young for the team lead and one off his total from last season. It’s also easy to forget that McMillen played as a rookie last season in his 17 year old season and still has two more seasons of eligibility left after this year. He’s going to be a big factor for the Stars for the foreseeable future.
So the Stars post a 3-1 win over the nationally ranked Terriers and they won the special teams battle. The Terriers have top 3 PP and PK units in the SJHL. But the Stars were 2-4 on the PP and killed 4 of 4 Terriers power plays.
Gudmandson now has a record of 11-2 as a North Stars with a 1.69GAA and .951 save percentage. With a goal and an assist Kyle Schmidt is now up to 4 points in 5 January games so far and has a team leading 21 points this season from the back end.
And maybe the best part of the whole game was the crowd. Over a thousand North Star fans were inside the Civic Center. This team has been playing great hockey of late. Arguably the best team in the SJHL since the beginning of November the North Stars deserve the strong crowd support. And Stars fans are some of the best in the league at making noise. The volume at the Civic Center is great and that support will only help the Stars continue to roll.