Playoffs Round 2 – Melville Millionaires at Battlefords North Stars – Civic Center

40th Anniversary Season – 2014 Kramer Division Champions

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

 

Round 1 Results:

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 3 – Estevan Bruins 2 (OT)

Game #5 – Battlefords North Stars 2 – Estevan Bruins 1

Round 2 Schedule:

Game #1 – Melville Millionaires at Battlefords North Stars, Friday @ 7:30pm- Civic Center
Game #2 – Melville Millionaires at Battlefords North Stars, Saturday @ 7:30pm- Civic Center

Game #3 – Battlefords North Stars at Melville Millionaires, April 1st @ 7:30pm – Horizon Credit Union Center
Game #4 – Battlefords North Stars at Melville Millionaires, April 2nd @ 7:30pm – Horizon Credit Union Center

Game #5 (if necessary) – Melville Millionaires at Battlefords North Stars, April 4th @ 7:30pm- Civic Center

Game #6 (if necessary) – Battlefords North Stars at Melville Millionaires, April 6th @ 7:30pm – Horizon Credit Union Center

Game #7 (if necessary) – Melville Millionaires at Battlefords North Stars, April 8th @ 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 beat Estevan 2-1 back a week ago on Friday the 21st. The Millionaires beat Kindersley 1-0 on Wednesday the 19th. Both teams have had some time off and should be fresh.

Storylines:

  • Regular Season: The Mills won 3 of the 4 head to head meetings this season with the North Stars lone win coming in a shootout. But the two teams haven’t played each other in a really long time. October 29th was the last time these two teams met. The Mills have wins of 4-2, 3-2 and 4-3. The North Stars win was 5-4 in a shootout. So 3 of the 4 games were decided by a single goal.
  • New Look: There are several new faces on these two teams since the last time they met. The North Stars didn’t play a game against the Millionaires with the Yew twins on the team. Or Michael Gudmandson. And Cam Blair faced them with Flin Flon but not with the North Stars. Kyle Schmidt only got into two games versus Melville. Jake McMillen just one. The Stars haven’t seen Melville since they lost Tyson Predinchuk and TJ Reeve and added Sam Williams. These teams will look and lineup differently than they did earlier in the season. If anyone can even remember those games way back at the start of the year.
  • Similarities: These two teams are very similar in a lot of ways. They were separated in the standings by a single point. They have the top two candidates for Coach of the Year which Melville head coach Jamie Fiesel won. They have great goaltending. They skate fast, work hard and hit. And they battled each other closely all season long. Each team lost just once in regulation in the regular season when leading after two periods. They have similar special teams numbers. They were the top two road teams in the SJHL this season and both are 2-0 on the road so far in playoffs. The list goes on and on. They basically played 4 games this season that were decided by a single goal, one had an empty netter, so we know they are closely matched.
  • Home Ice: The North Stars closed the regular season on a great run and they were able to catch Kindersley for the Kramer Division title. But Melville faltered a little down the stretch as well and that enabled the Stars to catch them as well. That late rally gives the North Stars home ice advantage in this series which could be huge as it is almost certainly going to be a long hard fought series.
  • Secondary Scoring: Scoring of any kind could be hard to come by. The Stars scored 11 goals in 5 games against Estevan. The Mills scored 10 goals in their 4 game sweep of the Klippers. But 5 of those goals came in game 1. These two teams have already played a bunch of close hard fought playoff games. Secondary scoring will be huge in this series. We know what the top guys like Blair and Young for the Stars and Mospanchuk and Farrell can do for the Mills. The Mills got secondary scoring from guys like Walz, Constant and Harbor in round 1. The Stars got a little from Nick Fountain and the D corp. For the Stars a big series from the likes of McColgan, McMillen and someone like Reich or Delainey could go a long way to tipping the balance.

Game Notes:

  • Goalies: Isaiah Plett is the top goalie so far in playoffs. He is 4-0 with a 1.49 goals against and has stopped 95 percent of the shots he has faced. Michael Gudmandson is 4-1 with a 1.70 GAA and a 94.4 save percentage. Both goalies have a shutout.
  • Stars struggles: It won’t have any bearing on this series because the teams are so different from earlier this year and of course from last year as well. But it’s interesting to note that the Mills have beaten the Stars 7 out of the last 8 meetings. They were 4-0 last year and 3-1 this year. In the last 16 games the Stars are 6-10 which means they were 5-3 the two years previous.
  • Regular Season Scoring: For the North Stars it was Luke McColgan, which is encouraging for the Stars, who lead the way with 6 points in 4 games. Latrell Charleson had 4 points in 4 games versus Melville. Igor Leonenko had 2 goals and 3 points versus the Mills. Allan Kilback paced the Mills with 5 points in those 4 games.
  • PIMs: Remember who often the Stars were in the box at the start of the season? Dillon Forbes had 54 PIMs in games against the Mills. The Mills had 21 power plays in 4 games versus the Stars this season. The North Stars don’t have that same problem anymore. They were great at staying out of the box versus Estevan. That will be big in this series.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Secondary Scoring – I touched on it earlier. We know what the top guys can do. The Stars will get offense from Blair and Young. They need to continue to get offense from other areas and in particular the second line.

2) Special Teams With the special teams units both being so similar it could come down to a big kill at a key moment that makes the difference.

3) Timely Scoring – I think almost every game in this series is going to come down to a goal or two at most. So scoring a goal at a key time will be huge. The Stars got key goals at key times, both 5-on-5 and on the PP, in their series win over Estevan.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Forbes – Fransoo
Schmidt – Erickson
Yew – Charleson

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

Scratches: Regan Yew, Delainey, Lacoursiere

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