North Stars face Estevan in Round 1

The Estevan Bruins picked up a 3-1 win on home ice to win game 5 over Flin Flon last night. With that win the Bruins move on to face the #2 seeded Battlefords North Stars in the first round of the SJHL playoffs.

Schedule:

Game #1 – Estevan Bruins at Battlefords North Stars, Saturday March 15th @ 7:30pm – Civic Center
Game #2 – Estevan Bruins at Battlefords North Stars, Sunday March 16th @ 7:30pm – Civic Center

Game #3 – Battlefords North Stars at Estevan Bruins, Tuesday March 18th @ 7:30pm – Affinity Place
Game #4 – Battlefords North Stars at Estevan Bruins, Wednesday March 19th @ 7:30pm – Affinity Place

Game #5 – if necessary) – Estevan Bruins at Battlefords North Stars, March 21st @ 7:30pm – Civic Center

Game #6 – (if necessary) – Battlefords North Stars at Estevan Bruins, March 23rd @ 7:30pm – Affinity Place

Game #7 – (if necessary) – Estevan Bruins at Battlefords North Stars, March 25th @ 7:30pm – Civic Center

Broadcast Info:

All games will be live on CJNB/CJNS and live online at http://www.cjnb.com starting at 7:30. The Pregame show starts 15 minutes prior to puck drop.

Regular Season Series:

Battlefords North Stars: 2-0-0-2
Estevan Bruins: 2-2-0-0

It is very fitting that these two teams meet in the playoffs as it was the Bruins who were involved in a couple of the key moments in the North Stars season. Back on November 1st it was the Bruins that beat the Stars after scoring a tying goal with 3 seconds left in the third. Estevan went on to win in a shootout and the Stars had lost 8 in a row. At that point they were 4-12 and at that point they decided enough was enough. They have hardly lost since including two regulation wins over Estevan. But back on February 8th it was another key game with Estevan coming from 5-1 after 1 to beat the Stars 7-6 in a shootout and end a 13 game win streak. The Stars still managed to win their division though with a 6 game win streak to finish off the season.

Game #1 – Preview

The North Stars haven’t played in two weeks heading into game 1 versus Estevan. The Bruins are coming off of a tough 5 game series with Flin Flon. The Bruins are a little banged up with a couple of key players missing that game 5 win over the Bombers. But Matt Gibney has been playing very well in net for Estevan and should be sharp having seen a lot of rubber in the Wildcard series.

The Stars could be a little rusty having not played in such a long time. But we saw with the AAA Stars the other day that it can pay to be fresh. The Stars had a week off before starting a series against a Prince Albert team that went to 5 games in the previous round and only had a day to rest. The Stars won game 1 easily. That’s why you want the time to rest and be fresh. It gives you a chance to use fresh legs to your advantage but of course anything can happen. The Bruins are already playing at that playoff intensity that the Stars will have to try and match right out of the gate.

Hopefully it means the North Stars are pretty close to 100% healthy as well which will give them several tough decisions regarding the lineup for game 1.

The 20 year old players in this series will be a huge key and in game 1 look for the vets to help the North Stars avoid a slow and rusty start. Reich, Quinn, Greenaway and Blair up front will all set a tone. Schmidt and Forbes on the back end will be the leaders that the team will rely on and the rocks that their strong D is built around. And Michael Gudmandson may have to make a couple early saves if the Stars take a shift or two in order to find their legs.

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