Game #44: North Stars host Humboldt Broncos – Civic Center

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 25-16-0-2

Last game recap – The North Stars beat the Notre Dame Hounds in St Walburg as part of the Hockey Day in Saskatchewan festivities. Jack Petrino scored the game winning goal in a 2-1 victory. Taylor Reich also scored. Darren Martin picked up the win in net.

The North Stars and Hounds on ice with the Stanley Cup in St Walburg

The North Stars and Hounds on ice with the Stanley Cup in St Walburg

Storylines:

  • National Radar: The CJHL Weekly Top 20 Rankings were released yesterday and for the first time this season the North Stars appear on the list. Currently an honourable mention the North Stars strong play over the last 3 months has the team on the verge of being a top 20 team in Canada. Other SJHL teams? Kindersley is 12th and Melville 14th. A couple seasons ago the North Stars peaked as high as #4 in the country. In the scheme of things it doesn’t mean much. But it’s nice to know that people have noticed the results the Stars hard work has been garnering.
  • Previous Meetings: The North Stars and Broncos face off for the final time this regular season. Humboldt won the first three meetings with the Stars winning the two most recent matchups. Back at the start of January the Stars beat the Broncos in a home and home. The Stars won 4-0 in Humboldt and 5-3 at the Civic Center. One of Humboldt’s wins this season against the North Stars was in a shootout. So in head to head games the Stars have 5 points (2 wins and a shootout loss) while the Broncos have 6 points (3 wins). The winner of tonight’s game wins the season series. For potential tie breaking reasons that could be huge. Ryne Keller leads the North Stars with 5 points in 5 games versus Humboldt.
  • Standings: The North Stars are 2 points up on the Broncos in the Kramer with tonight’s game having a huge impact. If the Stars win? They are 4 up and the Broncos would have to pick up 5 out of 6 points during their 3 games in hand to move past the Stars. The Broncos win and the two teams are tied and the Broncos have 3 game sin hand to take a lead on the North Stars. It’s a massive 4 point game at the Civic Center tonight. Plus the North Stars are still battling with Estevan and potentially Yorkton for playoff positions as well. Estevan is playing Notre Dame this evening so again we will be scoreboard watching.
  • Hot versus not: The Broncos have been slow out of the gates in 2014 with just 1 win in 5 games. They’ve scored 9 goals in that span with 5 coming in their lone win. In November and December the Broncos were rolling and almost never lost. They’ll be looking to get back to winning ways and they will be looking at tonight’s game as a big chance to kick start 2014. The North Stars are unbeaten in the new year and looking for their 9th win in a row. This is the second 8 game win streak the North Stars have compiled this season. They have gone 9-1 in their last 10 games played which is the same record as Kindersley has in their last 10.
  • Goals: The North Stars have scored just 6 goals in their last 3 games as the Hounds made it tough on the North Stars to score. Notre Dame especially did a good job against the North Stars power play. The Broncos are tough to score on with Ryland Pashovitz sporting a 1.41GAA and a save% of 95.4 on the season so far. Interestingly though, Pashovtiz’s numbers against the Stars aren’t close to that. In 3 games head to head against the North Stars he is carrying a 2.92GAA and 90.4 save percentage. Solid numbers but not at the level he’s had against the other teams in the league. For some reason the Stars have been able to score on the league’s favourite for rookie of the year.
  • Schedule: The North Stars have a road trip to Flin Flon this weekend after tonight’s big game. They are then home for 5 straight. What a great time of the season to have a home stand of that nature. After the bus gets back from Flin Flon the North Stars won’t play a road game for almost a calendar month. The Broncos on the other hand play 7 of their next 8 games on the road. I’m not sure right or wrong way to build a schedule but both teams have very interesting schedules and it will be fun to see how it plays out. By the way, the Broncos are in Kindersley tomorrow night. So it’s important for them to get this week off to a good start.
  • Crowds: The North Stars have been around 900-1000 fans for their last couple home games. It’s a Tuesday night which will likely mean a smaller crowd tonight but hopefully with it being Innovation Credit Union 2-for-1 Tuesday, and with it being Humboldt, we will get a good crowd. Also I wanted to mention the fan that was at the game the other night and banging a drum. I don’t know a lot of details but I hope that fan comes back tonight and bangs the drum again. It adds to the atmosphere. 99% of the other fans love it. And I know the North Stars players and staff all enjoy it.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Road Game – The North Stars record the past couple years against Humboldt is actually better at the EPA than it is at the Civic Center. So while I am not suggesting the North Stars play a road style or treat this like a road game. There are lessons they can take from their successes in Humboldt that they can apply to their home games. And they did beat the Broncos at the Civic Center back on January 4th.

2) Traffic –  I actually asked coach Atcheynum after the Stars game in Humboldt on January 3rd if the North Stars had some scouting on Pashovitz that was helping them score against him. They don’t. They’ve just done a good job getting traffic in front of the net and making life hard for the young goalie. So they need to keep doing that regardless of who is in goal tonight, because just like the North Stars, the Broncos have a great goalie tandem.

3)  Intensity The Stars have always found success against the Broncos when they’ve been at their most physical and intense. They have to mange the puck well and use their speed and physicality to their advantage. Try and grind down the Broncos D over the course of the game.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Forbes – Fransoo
Erickson – Schmidt
Charleson – Yew

McMillen – McColgan – Keller
Young – Blair – Leonenko
Quinn – Petrino – Greenaway
Fountain – Reich – Delainey

Scratches: Heinrich, Lacoursiere, Regan Yew

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