Game #53 – North Stars at Weyburn Red Wings – Crescent Point Place

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 32-17-0-3

Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Battlefords Coop Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30

Last game recap – The North Stars came away with a solid 4-1 win in Estevan last night avenging a couple of tough losses against the Bruins earlier in the season.

There was a real turning point early in the game. And I mean really early. Just seconds after the opening face-off Stars goalie Michael Gudmandson made his best save of the game. A fantastic glove save as he came off his post to rob Austin Roesslein. A pass from below the red line found Rosselin on the left side of the slot. His quick shot was snatched by Gudmandson to keep it scoreless. About 40 seconds later the Stars were in front. Gudmandson made some key saves and some good ones the rest of the way but the first save stands out as his best and maybe his most important.

Moments later, Jake McMillen stole a puck in the high slot and flicked a back hander towards the Bruins goal. Somehow Estevan failed to control the puck and clear it and Luke McColgan burst onto the loose biscuit. He went shelf over a diving Matt Gibney.

The Bruins roster showed just 21 skaters and with 3 scratches they were forced to call up 2 affiliate players. And an ‘AP’ scored their only goal. Another pass out to the slot and Brady Anderson, not the former Baltimore Oriole center fielder, scored past Gudmandson to tie the game. The Bruins then had a good looking power play that threatened. The Stars killed it in the end though. And after that they dominated.

Cam Blair created about 2 scoring chances on every shift he had in the opening period and the final 10-12 minutes of the opening frame was really one sided. The Bruins had a tough time clearing their zone and when they did the Stars D moved quickly to get pucks back in deep. There were several turnovers and chances before Blake Young set up Cam Blair who beat Gibney blocker side with a nice shot to make it 2-1.

The second period was a little more even as the Bruins got into the game a bit. But in that middle frame the shot were just 6-5 in favour of the North Stars. There wasn’t a ton of action although I think the Stars had more than 6 shots. Both teams had 2 second period power plays and there was some 4-on-4 play but no scoring.

The North Stars then came out and played a darn near text book perfect road third period. Hell, it would have been a great period in any rink home or away in the world. They outshot the Bruins 15-6 and spent the vast majority of the final frame controlling the puck in the attacking zone.

Blair set up Blake Young in the slot and Young beat Gibney on the blocker side just inside the post. It was a poise play all around. Regan Yew found Blair on a partial 2-on-1 and Blair made a great play to find the trailer. Young made no mistake. For the second straight game Blair and Young each had a goal and an assist and were the game’s first and second star respectively.

The road team had other chances in the final period as well. Taylor Reich had a couple good chances but Gibney made some nice saves to hold the Stars at bay. Reich did get on the scoresheet in his final game in Estevan. The 20 year Estevan native won a late draw back to Kyle Schmidt who blasted home a shot to round out the scoring. It was nice to see Reich pick up that point in what must have been a special game for him at home for the last time in his junior career. (unless a playoff matchup between these teams ends up on the cards)

There was an interesting moment in the third with the Stars on a power play with about 2:30 left in regulation and the score 3-1. The Bruins chose to go with 3 penalty killers in their own zone and Austin Daae floating at the North Stars blue line. They even called a time out to set that up. It was an aggressive play. But the North Stars handled it perfectly. With a 2 goal lead and 5-on-3 they just kept the puck around the outside and against the wall. There was no panic and no need to give the Bruins the puck. With Estevan unwilling to really challenge the Stars it ended up just killing time with Daae never able to get a chance out of the strategy.

Other than the Blair and McColgan lines up front I thought another real good game came from Braden Lacoursiere. He was solid against Flin Flon as well. With Robin Yew putting in a good shift against Notre Dame it’s now really tough to say who the North Stars will go with from game to game in that spot next to Latrell Charleson.

Storylines:

  • Previous Meetings: The North Stars are 3-0 this season against Weyburn. But it has been a grind getting those wins. 3-2(SO), 2-1, 2-1(SO) are the three scores. The Stars had to score late to tie in the first meeting of the season when Brenden Heinrich poked the puck off the stick of the Weyburn goalie and in with less than a minute left. On November 8th Luke McColgan scored in the third period to lift the Stars to a 2-1 win. In the third meeting Dillon Forbes scored the Stars only goal and they had to win that one in a shootout as well. Jake Erickson has 2 assists against Weyburn and in 3 games is the only North Stars with more than a single point. In those three games Rylan Parenteau 114 of the 119 shots he has faced. He is a very good young goalie and that’s fantastic goaltending that the North Stars have overcome. Darren Martin has been equally impressive in his two starts against the Wings stopping 70 of 72 shots faced.
  • Standings: The La Ronge Ice Wolves are in Kindersley tonight and could do the North Stars a huge favour. It’s a long shot but anything is possible in this league. Also, Melville lost in a shootout last night so the North Stars can still keep pressure on the Mills for 4th as well. It would be fantastic to get home ice in the first round of the playoffs. Once again I will be keeping an eye on the out of town scoreboard.
  • Southern Swing: In the 3 years now that coach Hasselberg has been in charge of the North Stars they have had success down south. Earlier this season the Stars went 2-0-0-1 on the 3 game trip losing to Estevan in a shootout when they led with 3 seconds left in the third before giving up the tying goal. Last year the Stars went 2-1 on the trip once. Two years ago the Stars went 2-1 and 3-0 on southern road trips. In the three years that’s  11-4-0-1 in their southern road trip games. That is fantastic success in tough games. Almost always 3 in 3 days as well.
  • Streakers: A win tonight and the North Stars would be on a little mini win streak. 3 in a row. It would be the 5th time this season that they’ve won 3 or more in a row. They’ve won 13 straight, 8 in a row, and 3 in a row twice. Only 3 times this season have they won a single game sandwiched between two losses. Generally if they get 1 win they get several.

Game Notes:

  • Multi-point Men: Cam Blair has multiple points in 4 of his last 8 games with the North Stars this season. Including 2 in a row. Since Blair has been with the team Blake Young as multiple points in 6 of 12 games including the last two games. Blair has a goal and 3 assists in 2 games against Weyburn, while with Flin Flon, this season.
  • Home Cooking: 13 of Weyburn’s 20 wins have come on home ice this season. They have 79 goals at home compared to 69 on the road and they’re goal difference is plus 8 on home ice versus minus 29 on the road. The only thing that Weyburn does better on the road is score on the power play. Otherwise they are a different team at home.
  • Third Period: The Red Wings have been outscored this season by 20 goals. They’ve been outscored in the third period by 23. The North Stars have 60 goals in the third period this season, 14 more than they’ve allowed in the final frame.
  • Playoffs: Weyburn has played a game more than Flin Flon and they are just 3 points ahead of the Bombers. The playoffs are not guaranteed in Weyburn and they need a win. Both the Wings and Bombers are 5-5 in their last 10 but Weyburn has lost 3 straight.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Back Pressure – The North Stars created numerous, almost countless, turnovers last night against Estevan with their back pressure. Any time the opposition tries to skate the puck out of their zone they are in danger because the Stars don’t rest at any time. They hound the puck at all times. That’s an area they can continually have success.

2) Traffic –  It’s been tough for the North Stars to score on Rylan Parenteau this season. So whenever possible the North Stars should be in his face. Deflections, rebounds, greasy goals. Whatever it takes to beat the young tender. Nick Fountain could be a key player tonight.

3) Be Ready: – This is a pretty good young Weyburn team that has played really well in the second half of the season. They’ve played the Stars tough this season as well. This won’t be an easy game and the North Stars will have to be ready to go right away.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Forbes – Fransoo
Erickson – Schmidt
Robin Yew – Charleson

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

Scratches: Leonenko, Delainey, Lacoursiere

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