Playoffs!! Game #4 – Battlefords North Stars at Estevan Bruins – Affinity Place

40th Anniversary Season – 2014 Kramer Division Champions

North Stars Regular Season Record: 36-17-0-3

Best of 7 Series: Stars lead series 2-1

Schedule:

Game #1 – Estevan Bruins 4 – Battlefords North Stars 1
Game #2 – Battlefords North Stars 2 – Estevan Bruins 1

Game #3 – Battlefords North Stars 3 – Estevan Bruins 0
Game #4 – Battlefords North Stars at Estevan Bruins, Wednesday March 19th @ 7:30pm – Affinity Place

Game #5 – 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:

  • 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 did not have a great first period last night. They got a little scrambly early in the period and didn’t seem to recover until the second period. Early in the first the Stars had some trouble in their own zone as Nick Fountain’s skate broke. Then the Stars got running around a little and they turned the puck over a few times. But to their credit they also had 4 or 5 huge blocked shots in that time as well. Michael Gudmandson made several key saves.

Lynden Pastachak had a great early chance turned away. And then the North Stars scored on a power play. Jake Erickson took a pass from Kyle Schmidt and then immediately returned the puck back to the captain in the high slot. Schmidt’s quick pass over to the right side of the umbrella set up Luke McColgan and he blasted the Stars in to the lead.

Both teams had first period posts. The Bruins got one on a nifty deflection in front that would have been a ridiculous goal. Austin Roesslein with a between the legs attempt that just missed. Gudmandson also had big saves off Egan and the ‘AP’ McKersie in front. The Stars were out of sorts a little and the Bruins were very physical. But Gudmandson turned aside 13 shots and the Stars blocked another 10 or so on top of that and got to the intermission up 1-0.

The second period was a grinding period with a lot of play in the neutral zone. The Stars outshot the Bruins 10-8 and aside from some big hits not a lot happened.

In the third the Stars scored a goal that was waived off and Blake Young was sent off for slashing. He poked the puck into the net. If it was covered he wouldn’t have been able to do that. Strange call in my opinion. But the Stars kept plugging. The Stars also had 2 really good early penalty kills that seemed to spark them into life and created a lot of momentum.

Cam Blair has a goal in all three games of this series now after a sharp angle shot that beat Gibney. That made it 2-0 Stars and they had a little breathing room. Moments later Igor Leonenko stole the puck and went in with Nick Fountain on a 2-on-1. Fountain took a nice feed and beat Gibney short side again but this time from a good scoring area. 3-0 North Stars and from there they were able to cruise to victory.

So Gudmandson with a shutout and the Stars special teams were very good. The Bruins played well and really played a physical game. The gave the Stars some really trouble at times. But they also seemed frustrated and maybe a little tired at the end.

They will come out flying tonight trying to even the series. I expect a really strong, gritty effort from Estevan this evening.

Storylines:

  • Home Ice: The Bruins stole home ice away from the Stars. So they stole it right back last night. The Stars now don’t need to win in Estevan again to win the series. They could win with just home victories. But they have a chance to take a 3-1 stranglehold on this series tonight. They will be desperate to do just that.
  • Back to Backs: The North Stars set up their schedule with a bunch of back to back games in January and February to prepare for the playoffs. We spoke about this idea last night. And the Stars won a bunch of those back to backs. So they are prepared for playing a team two nights in a row. And they are prepared to play that team the second night when they are trying to bounce back from a loss. The North Stars have an idea of what to expect tomorrow night from a desperate and determined Estevan team.
  • Physicality: Last night’s game was very physical. The North Stars and Bruins both hit hard and often. There were players coming off the ice slowly seemingly every other shift. It was a real playoff style game. Both teams will have to get the ice bags out and will have had to make sure they got a good nights sleep so they can do it all again tonight.
  • Special Teams: The Stars PP and PK units have been excellent in the last couple games of this series. As long as that continues they have a great chance to win these games. They are moving the puck well and scoring on the power play. When they aren’t scoring they are gaining momentum. The PK has been great and was fantastic last night. The work ethic has been impressive and has given the Bruins fits at times.
  • Frustration and Fatigue: The Bruins looked a little tired in the third period last night. And they certainly took some penalties that were born out of frustration. Will that carry over to tonight’s game? Or will they re-group and bounce back?
  • Game 5 Tickets: After the split of the first two games we now know for sure that the Stars and Bruins will play a game 5 Friday night at the Civic Center. And tickets are now on sale for that game. Tickets for game 5 at the Civic Centre are available through the team’s website, by going to the Civic Centre during office hours or calling the office at 306-445-7827. For more check out http://www.northstars.ca

Game Notes:

  • Lineups: The North Stars can freshen up their lineup tonight if they desire. They have three healthy players who haven’t played since game 1, in the case of Reed Delainey and Regan Yew, or game 2 in the case of Braden Lacoursiere. Those fresh legs could pay huge dividends against a Bruins team playing for the 9th time in the last 12 days.
  • Goal streaks: Cam Blair, on a 3 gamer, and Nick Fountain, on a 2 gamer, are both hot for the North Stars.
  • Balance: The North Stars got a goal from a player on 3 different lines last night. Blair, McColgan and Fountain all tallying. That balance is a North Stars hallmark and bodes well. They also got a couple assists from the defense. Jake Erickson should have an assist added that would be his second of the series and second game in a row with a helper.
  • Goody: After a rough first start Gudmandson is now sailing along with a 1.67GAA and amongst goalies with more than 1 start in the playoffs he has the best GAA and the second best save percentage.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Skate – The North Stars had a two week break while the Bruins were grinding out a series win over Flin Flon. With this series about to play it’s 4th game in 5 nights the North Stars are in a position to try and use their freshness. But the Bruins are a gritty group playing at home so it won’t be easy. The Stars need to put the pedal to the metal and really try and force the Bruins to skate with them. Maybe they will tire out a little as the game goes along.

2) Continue The Stars got 3 goals last night. Their biggest offensive outpouring of the season. They must continue to get lots of rubber to the net. Get bodies to the net. And convert on their chances. Matt Gibney has been excellent so far and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue. So the Stars will continue to try and make his life difficult if they can.

3) Kills – The Stars power play has a goal in each of the last two games of the series. Their penalty kill has been so strong. The Bruins are a talented offensive team that has great ability and poise with the puck. They are dangerous on the power play to say the least. If the Stars PK continues to win the battle the Stars have a great chance to win the war.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Forbes – Fransoo
Schmidt – Erickson
Charleson – Robin Yew

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

Scratches: Regan Yew, Lacoursiere, Greenaway

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2 Comments

  1. hockeyfan

     /  March 19, 2014

    Mike can you put the audio up of the OT GWG.. It sounded like a beauty.

    Reply
  2. Janet Ehrmantraut

     /  March 20, 2014

    Would love the audio of the OT goal also. Couldn’t see it from where we were sitting.
    Surely was fun listening to the ones posted (like over & over again) already.
    Thanks for that, Mike.

    Reply

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