Game #55 – North Stars host Kindersley Klippers – Civic Center

40TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON

North Stars Record: 34-17-0-3

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 beat the Notre Dame Hounds back on Sunday, 3-0 the final. The Stars got a first period goal from Reed Delainey and a second period marker from Cam Blair to take a 2-0 lead into the third period. That’s where Darren Martin was at his best. With his mates looking a little tired Martin made 15 saves to preserve his first SJHL shutout. The North Stars did a great job keeping shots to the outside and protecting the front of their net. Delainey got his second when he scored into an empty net.

The North Stars were 2-6 on the power play and killed all 6 Hounds power plays including a double minor in the third period when Igor Leonenko took an undisciplined penalty. The North Stars have now won 4 in a row and 17 of their last 19 games.

Storylines:

  • Kramer Division: The Humboldt Broncos did the North Stars a huge favour earlier this week when they came from 3-1 down late to beat the Klippers 4-3 in a shootout. That means the North Stars have a chance to win the division and claim the second seed heading into playoffs. Do grab that division title the Stars must win both of this weekend’s games in regulation.
  • Previous Meetings: The North Stars have really struggled against the Klippers this season. Kindersley has won 5 of the 6 meetings with the Stars only win coming in a shootout. In that win the Stars were up 3-0 early but had to score a goal in the last second to force overtime. The Stars have let the Klippers get under their skin at times this season and taken too many penalties. In their last 23 games against Kindersley the Stars are 9-13-0-1.
  • Ticket Redemption Night: Tonight is the North Stars annual ticket redemption night. Basically old tickets from previous games will get you into tonight’s game. So if you have some lying around that you didn’t get to use then tonight is your night. Give them to your friends. Your family. Random strangers on the street. There should be a large crowd at the Civic Center tonight. Last year there were 1,500 fans for the final home game and the year before 1,800. Ticket redemption night is a big night for packing fans in the Civic Center. And tonight’s game has so much meaning that hopefully the weather won’t keep people away!
  • Awards: The North Stars will give out their annual player awards prior to puck drop tonight as well. Like I said, this is a huge game. I will post the award winners on the blog tomorrow as well as some of my own personal awards.
  • League Title: The Klippers still have plenty to play for as well. On top of wanting to get at least a point to clinch the division the Klippers can still catch Yorkton for first place overall in the league. They would need some help though with the Terriers needing to lose their remaining games.
  • Healthy: The North Stars are pretty close to healthy at this point in the season. A few guys may be a little banged up but it is safe to call all of the North Stars scratches tonight healthy other than Darren Martin. He has been sick and will be out tonight. Michael Gudmandson was likely to get the start anyway and he will be backed up by Midget AAA standout Ryan Rewerts. That means the Stars have some decision to be made when it comes to the lineup in terms of skaters. The Klippers can not say the same. They have been playing recent games without top players Cody Young, Cody Thiel, and Gio Bombini.
  • Road Warriors: The Melville Millionaires are done for the regular season after tonight’s home game. They have no more road games. No other team is close to the North Stars in terms of road wins. With a 18-7-0-2 record, and one game left on the road, the Stars will close the 2013-24 season as the best road team in the SJHL. 3 seasons ago La Ronge had the best road record and 2 seasons ago it was Humboldt. Both won the league. Last season Melville was the league’s top road team but Yorkton took the league title. It bodes well though as the top road team in the league has enjoyed playoff success.
  • Goalies: The North Stars Darren Martin won the SJHL’s Goalie of the Week award after going 2-0 this past week with a shutout and just 1 goal against. Martin has won that award twice this season. Michael Gudmadnson has won it 3 times. There have been 21 goalie of the week awards handed out and the Stars have won 5 of them. Since Gudmandson claimed his first in late November there have been 13 weeks. So in the last 13 goalie of the week awards 5 have gone to the North Stars. Another stat that bodes well for the Stars. The Stars and Notre Dame Hounds are the only teams with 2 goalies who have won the award and the Stars are the only team with 2 multiple winners.
    [Goalie of the Week Awards: Michael Gudmandson 3, Isaish Plett (Melville) 3, Kale Thomson (Yorkton) 3, Tyrell King (Kindersley) 3, Darren Martin 2, Alexi Thibedeau (Notre Dame) 2, Devin Buffalo (formerly Flin Flon) 2, Brett Soles (Notre Dame) 1, Rylan Parenteau (Weyburn) 1, Jack Romanuik (Melfort) 1]

Game Notes:

  • Head to Head Scoring: Blake Young leads the North Stars with 3 goals and 3 assists for 6 points in head to head games versus Kindersley. In 6 games this season versus the North Stars Colby Daniels has led the way for Kinderlsey with 9 points including 3 goals. Cody Thiel also has 3 goals and 7 points in 4 games. Gio Bombini and Brandon Lauder have been at a point a game in head to head games.
  • Discipline: The North Stars troubled with the Klippers this season have stemmed from penalties. Ryne Keller, Nick Fountain, Jake McMillen, Kendall Fransoo and Ben Greenaway (Austin Evans as well although he is now a Flin Flon Bomber) all have double digit penalty minutes against Kindersley this season. The Klippers don’t have anyone with more than 8 PIMs in games against the Stars this season.
  • Out Shot: Kindersley has been out shot 27 times this season compared to 25 times when they have out shot their opponents. When they win the shot battle the Klippers are 21-3-1-0. When they lose on the shot counter they are 12-10-2-3. The North Stars are 9-3-0-1 when they are out shot. Which means they have fired more shots on target in 41 games this season.
  • Ever Present: If Ryne Keller is able to play in both games this weekend he will finish as the only North Star to play in every game this season. It would be the first time in his 3 years in the league that he has accomplished that feat. Forbes, Fransoo and Young have all cracked the 50 game mark. Erickson, Reich, McMillen and Charleson can all do it if they play this weekend.
  • Streaking: Cam Blair is on a 4 game goal streak. Kindersley’s Stefan Seel has 4 goals in his last 4 games including 2 in the Klippers most recent game against Humboldt.
  • Play With a Lead: The two teams combined have 1 regulation loss this season when leading after 2 periods. The Klippers are 26-0-1-2 while the Stars are 19-1-0-3. Both teams have 4 regulation come from behind wins when trailing after 40.
  • Getting Better: The North Stars won 8 in a row earlier this season. In those 8 wins, most of which were by a goal, the Stars goal difference was just +11. When they won 13 in a row they were +25, or roughly 1.9 goals per game more than their opponent. On their current 4 game win streak the Stars have scored 16 goals and allowed just 3. That’s +13 for goal difference. The Stars are 17-1-0-1 in their last 19 so there is nothing controversial in saying they are playing their best hockey of the season right now. But I think last week’s 4 games was maybe even better than during that 13 game streak.
  • Penalty Killing: The Klippers are the top PK team in the league. The North Stars are third in the league. The teams combined have 10 short handed goals. Both teams have great penalty kills.
  • Familiarity: By my count, I went through old game sheets so pardon any errors, Dillon Forbes has played 14 games versus the Klippers in his last 3 seasons. Tanner Quinn is also at 14 and Ryne Keller is at 15. Colby Daniels for the Klippers has played 14 games versus the Stars. Talk about getting to know a team and a player. Daniels played midget AAA for the Battlefords Stars on the same team in 2010-11 with current team mate Cody Thiel as well as current North Stars Dillon Forbes, Ryne Keller, Blake Young, as well as Regan and Robin Yew. (That Stars team also featured current Swift Current Bronco captain Colby Cave and current Humboldt Bronco forward Dylan Fluter.)

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Discipline – I mentioned it earlier but the North Stars have taken too many penalties this season versus the Klippers. But it isn’t just staying out of the box. It’s having the discipline to play your own game. The Stars have to play North Stars hockey and impose themselves on the Klippers.

2) Hit – The North Stars appear to be pretty close to healthy. The Klippers appear to be a little banged up. Even if both teams were healthy it wouldn’t change the fact that the North Stars are at their best when they are hitting and hitting hard. It fatigues the other team and energizes the North Stars and should energize what I am hoping is a big crowd.

3) Tending: – Both teams have very good goalies. The duel between Gudmandson and King, should that be who starts, will likely go a long way to deciding the game.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Rewerts (AP)

Forbes – Fransoo
Erickson – Schmidt
Charleson – Robin Yew

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

Scratches: Lacoursiere, Regan Yew, Leonenko, Martin

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