Game #42 – North Stars host Notre Dame Hounds – Civic Center

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 23-16-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars beat the Yorkton Terriers 3-1 last time out. That win was the Stars 6th win a row. For more check out my post game report here.

Storylines:

  • Previous Meetings: The North Stars and Hounds haven’t faced off in a while. Friday, November the 22nd was the most recent meeting. The Stars took that one 5-2 and that was the second win of what went on to be their 8 game win streak. Jake McMillen scored twice. Taylor Reich had a goal and 2 assists and the Stars went 2-8 on the power play while killing 9 of 9 Hound power plays. The good guys also beat Notre Dame on November 2nd and that was the win the ended the North Stars 8 game losing streak. That was the game in which Reed Delainey scored the game winner in overtime after Regan Yew had tied the game late in the third.
  • November 22nd: That game was a big one for the Stars in a couple ways. But the biggest? That was the first game that Michael Gudmandson started with the North Stars. He needed to have a good weekend to earn a spot on the team. After beating the Hounds on the Friday the Stars and Gudmandson shutout Flin Flon 2-0 the next night. The rest is history. Had the Hounds beaten the Stars that night who knows what the story of the season would have been.
  • Streaks: The North Stars own the league’s longest winning streak and the league’s longest losing streak of the season so far. Both 8 games long. Kindersley has a chance to tie that mark with their 8th win in a row if they beat Humboldt tonight. The Stars are currently on a 6 game winning streak looking to extend that to 7 games tonight.
  • Point streaks: Also streaky? Blake Young. He has had two separate 5 game point streaks this season and a 4 gamer. Young is currently on another 4 game streak which he can extend to 5 with a point tonight. The Stars don’t have a longer streak this season. They have 4 game point streaks from Leonenko, Schmidt, Forbes, Fountain, Keller and Charleson. And a 5 game point streak from Brenden Heinrich in November. The newest Stars though has the second longest streak in the league this season. Back at the start of the year Cam Blair had at least a point in 9 straight games for Flin Flon.
  • Player of the Week: Jake McMillen is the SJHL’s reigning player of the week after putting up 4 goals and 6 points in the Stars 3 wins. And McMillen had 2 goals against the Hounds the last time these two teams met. He’s hot and facing a team he has had previous success against.
  • Power Play: The North Stars power play numbers are up to date on the website now. They have 2 power play goals in each of their last 3 games. McMillen has 3 of those 6 goals. The Stars also scored twice on the PP the last time they met Notre Dame. McMillen had one of those goals. Overall, the North Stars power play is third in the league at just under 20 percent on the season. They are third in the league at home with a power play that clicks at 22 percent efficiency. And after nearly a week to settle and practice with the team we may see Cam Blair added to the power play as well.
  • Back to Back: These two teams will meet again tomorrow night. It’s technically a Notre Dame home game. And technically will be played at a neutral venue in St Walburg. But as part of Hockey Day in Saskatchewan and with the North Stars still being the local team that barn should feature a pro-North Stars crowd. The AAA Sharks, the AAA Stars and then the North Stars play over the course of the day. Matt Ryan will join me and we will be broadcasting all 3 games live on CJNB/CJNS with the regular North Stars broadcast beginning at 7:15 as usual. Back to backs also means a chance for these two division rivals to build a little dislike for each other. Things did boil over a little at times in their meeting on November 22nd with the teams combining for 17 power plays.
  • Kramer/Playoffs: I mentioned it earlier but we have to keep out eyes on the other big Kramer Division game tonight as Humboldt hosts Kindersley. If the Stars have any chance to win the division the need Kindersley to lose. But a Humboldt loss gives the Stars hopes at finishing above the Broncos and as high as 4th or 5th in the league. In the end as long as they avoid OT any result will help. Also Estevan is hosting Weyburn and a Red Wing win would go a long way to helping the North Stars.
  • Lineup: The Stars haven’t had Igor Leonenko in the lineup for a while. He got back from Christmas a little late and needed some practice time. He’s had that time. Robin and Regan Yew will be raring to get back in the lineup as well. The Stars will have some lineup decisions to make.
  • Crowd: Over a thousand fans packed the Civic Center on Saturday for the Stars win over Yorkton. That’s the North Stars biggest crowd of the season. I was really hoping the crowds would build in the new year. it looks like that is happening. I’d love to see another thousand, and more, fans packed in here tonight.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) No Aulies – In Sam Aulie the Hounds have the league’s 4th leading goal scorer. 23 goals in 38 games played this season for the 19 year old. He had 6 goals in December and has been even better in January with 7 goals in 7 games played. He had 2 in the Hounds most recent game. He’s a HUGE part of the Hounds offense. Notre Dame has 18 goals this month so far so Aulie is close to 50% of the goal scoring. If you can stop him you’ve got a great chance to win.

2) Size Matters –  The Hounds have one player, Nathan Walsh at a hulking 6’4, listed at taller than 6’1. The North Stars have 5. The Hounds have 11 players listed as shorter than 6 feet. The Stars have 5 including two of their more physical players in Tanner Quinn and Ryne Keller. The Hounds D is almost all around 6 feet tall and 180ish pounds. Not small but certainly the Stars will have a size advantage with a couple of their lines. They need to use that size advantage and be as physical as possible.

3)  Out of the Gates – The North Stars have scored first in 4 of 5 games so far in 2014. They’ve only had to come from behind once when they beat Yorkton 3-1 in their most recent game. The first win of the current streak, back in December, was also a come from behind so we know the Stars falling behind isn’t the end of the world. But they’re strengths are magnified when playing with a lead. And jumping out to early leads is a huge key for any teams. For the North Stars the quick starts make them incredibly hard to beat.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Forbes – Fransoo
Schmidt – Erickson
Charleson – Robin Yew

Young – Blair – Keller
McMillen – McColgan – Heinrich
Fountain – Petrino – Greenaway
Quinn – Reich – Regan Yew

Scratches: Lacoursiere, Delainey, Leonenko

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