The 2014 Kramer Division champions wrapped up their season last night at the Civic Center with a bbq and awards presentation. Graduating players were presented with their jerseys and some other keep sakes. Kyle Scmidt, Cam Blair, Blake Young, Ben Greenaway, Michael Gudmandson, Taylor Reich, Tanner Quinn and Dillon Forbes are all moving on. They are leaving the program in a better place than it was when they found it.
The Stars also awarded Cam Blair and Blake Young for finishing the season tied in the points race. So we had co-winners of the top scorer award. Blair and Dillon Forbes shared the playoff MVP award. Blair topped the scoring charts for the Stars in the post season and Forbes played most of the playoffs with a serious injury but you wouldn’t no it based on the way he played.
So that wrapped up the season. The players are now heading home for the summer. And to wrap up the season I thought I would share my favourite memory of each player that helped the Stars to the Kramer Division title. From a 4-12 start to a banner in the rafters. It was a season full of drama and twists and turns. And it will always be remembered.
1 – Michael Gudmandson
The first game he played with the Stars. I got to the Civic Center and had no idea the Stars had picked up a goalie. He was known to me from his time with the Stars the season before. So I knew Michael a little bit. I also knew how much he had bounced around. I didn’t know he was going to go on and claim the MVP award for the entire league, another favourite moment was seeing him get his award, but I knew he was a guy who hadn’t found a home in his career. The self proclaimed suitcase came in was given a chance and he grabbed it with a 42 save win in his first game. I am so glad he found a home in his 20 year old season.
2 – Robin Yew
Another player who joined the Stars mid-season and another one that I had some knowledge of from his time as a AAA Star. His first goal stands out as it was a big one. The Stars scored three times in the final period against Melfort with Robin tying the game less than two minutes from the end of regulation. The Stars went on to win the game in the shootout. Robin scored his first North Stars goal in his first game. And it helped the Stars gain a couple points on their road to winning the Kramer Division title.
3 – Tanner Quinn
It’s a strange one but one of my favourite memories of Quinn was from that game in Estevan that really stands out in the mind. November 1st and Quinn absolutely battled his ass off in the final minute. But the Bruins tied it with 3 seconds left. It was looking at Quinn after that goal that made me think the Stars wouldn’t be able to bonce back the next night. He was almost distraught. But he and his team rallied and got the win the next day in Notre Dame which is a testament to the mental strength of Quinn and his team mates. In the playoffs I know Quinn was one of the guys calming everyone down after the Bruins tied it late helping lead to the Kendall Fransoo OT winner. Quinn wore an ‘A’ this season and deserved it for helping turn around the season.
4 – Dillon Forbes
My favourite memory of Dillon Forbes is a tough one to narrow down. I have been following the North Stars for three seasons and Dillon has been on the team for all three. Just like Quinner. Forbes was named playoff MVP and what stands out to me is the bruise on his leg that he showed me one night at Lifetime Fitness. He never missed a game and never missed a beat. His leadership helped the Stars grab two wins in Estevan, when the injury was fresh, and his status as an all time great North Star was cemented. What a warrior. I will also remember his new found one-timer blasting past goalies on the power play.
5 – Braden Lacoursiere
It was a tough season at times for Braden as he was in and out of the lineup. That’s never easy especially for a young player who is itching to make his mark. Both Braden and Robin Yew were great down the stretch and made it very difficult for the Stars to pick a lineup. On October 30th the Stars won what was the 6th of an 8 game winning streak. Lacoursiere scored the game winner. His second goal of that month and he ended up with 2 on the season.
6 – Kendall Fransoo
Another midget aged defenseman making his mark on the North Stars. His OT winner against Estevan and his first ever SJHL goal earlier in the season were both memorable. But nothing stands out more than a classic Fransoo shift against Melville in the playoffs. A couple of blocked shots, a big hit, a good clearance and then some rough stuff after the whistle in front. He just blocked so many shots this season.
7 – Latrell Charleson
I didn’t know much about Latrell until early in the season. I can’t remember which game it was or what the situation was but my favourite memory of Latty was early in the year. We thought he was a stay at home guy. Big and physical and of course mean. But then a moment happened when he was skating out of his own zone at the civic center and right at his blue line he toe dragged around a fore checking forward. There was a lot more to Latrell than met the eye. And what a great season he ended up having as an 18 year old with a very bright future.
8 – Kyle Schmidt
One of my favourite memories of Kyle Schmidt was off the ice. At the kick off breakfast I sat with Kyle and we had a pretty good time. He’s always got a joke and a smile. On the ice though I would have to say that open ice hit he landed at the Civic Center that was the talk of the town for a few days. His steady presence helped get the best out of Jake Erickson and as captain he was a big part of the team not falling apart after that 4-12 start.
9 – Cam Blair
His could also a hit. I mean, how can I not think back fondly on a perfectly executed open ice hit. One of the biggest I have ever seen. But my favourite memory is his two game game against Estevan in the clinching game 5 as the Stars won their opening round series.
11 – Nick Fountain
His goal against Estevan in game #2 which turned out to be a game winner could be the winner. But I love a moment in a game in Humboldt. I think Jack Petrino ended up scoring the goal. But it was a massive open ice hit from Founts in the attacking zone that freed up the puck. Nick didn’t get an assist on the play but it was a great hit in the face off circle that led to a goal and was typical Fountain.
12 – Luke McColgan
Early in 2014 the North Stars won a pair of games in Flin Flon and it was McColgan who helped carry his team to those two wins. His play in January and February was a big reason the North Stars were able to win so many hockey games and claim the division title. His game winner in the second game was perfection. A Bomber player had taunted the Stars bench after a tying goal. McColgan obviously didn’t take kindly to that as the Stars killed of a late power play and once they were back to 5-on-5 McColgan weaved around 4 Bombers before sniping a beauty past Simon Hofley.
14 – Ben Greenaway
Tough to over look his goal against Kindersley. But my favourite Greenaway memories are fights. Last year’s with Bryden Serafini was epic. This season it was a fight against Kailum Gervais in Yorkton that stands out. It may have been a draw but the fight sparked the North Stars who went on to win the game 4-0. That was before the long losing streak but they won the division by a point so those 2 early on the road in Yorkton, a very tough place to win, helped the Stars win the Kramer title. Greener is another guy who I will miss and I am glad he found his home as a North Star.
15 – Blake Young
November 19th. Deflection goal with less than a second left to tie a wild game with Kindersley that the Stars eventually won. Without that deflection they wouldn’t have had the points to win the division. The maturity that Young showed this season was noticeably higher than the previous season. His speed and strength and those bursts up the wing before powering to the net will always be remembered. The game he had in Melfort the night he committed to UMD was also a stand out game. The Stars won 4-2 with Young putting up an assist in an all around solid game.
16 – Jake Erickson
After Luke McColgan’s slick deke on a short handed rush against Melville in game 4 it was Erickson following up to score the goal that helped the Stars on the road to a 5-1 win avoiding elimination for one game at least. It was a great read and my favourite part was Erickson’s celebration. He started to celly then paused to make sure the goal was awarded and then broke out into celebration again. A good memory to go with plenty of others including his go to move of spinning away from pressure at the last second in his own zone before firing a pass out to a streaking forward.
17 – Regan Yew
The Stars blew a lead late in Estevan just after Yew was picked up. He then came into the lineup the next night and scored the tying goal in the third period versus Notre Dame. That was a goal that really helped turn the Stars season around. Moving forward he will play more center and has a great ability in the faceoff circle. His two goal game against Humboldt early in the new year also stands out.
18 – Brenden Heinrich
The night after Yew tied the game against Notre Dame it was Heinrich’s turn. He poked the puck off the stick of Weyburn goalie Rylan Parenteau’s stick and into the net. Heinrich’s first of the year wasn’t his nicest but it was huge as it helped the Stars get rolling in the right direction.
19 – Ryne Keller
The Stars had three really long winning streaks this season. One of them started just before January and began a 13 game win streak. Keller had a 6 game point streak in the midst of that win streak including 7 points overall in that stretch. He had a great game in La Ronge in a 5-3 win putting up 2 assists. He also had 7 points in January. What stands out though is that he was sick and didn’t make the trip to Kindersley. That was the only game of the season, the final one, that he missed. To play the style he does and only miss one game was incredible. I wish he had been on the bus home to celebrate that win and the Kramer Division title.
20 – Reed Delainey
This one is an obvious one. That goal in Notre Dame. After a heart breaking loss the night before against Estevan the Stars some how rebounded with an OT win in Notre Dame. Regan Yew tied the game in the third, as we mentioned earlier, and Dillon Forbes was able to set up Reed Delainey who scored the winner in OT. There must have been something in my eye that night or maybe some allergies because I had a tear in my eye after that goal. Delainey is going to be very good for the Stars in the long term.
21 – Jack Petrino
Petrino was a great addition for the North Stars with his penalty killing and face off prowess alone. He had a tough time getting going offensively this season but he did score some memorable goals. Until the final two games of the regular season the Stars only beat Kindersley once. It was Petrino who opened the scoring in that game on November 19th. A short handed break away and it was a beauty deke finish.
23 – Taylor Reich
The game winner against Kindersley that clinched the division title. Reich was a great pick up as a center with similar credentials to Petrino. He ended up with 10 goals as well. I was glad Reich became a North Star and that goal against the Klippers will never be forgotten.
24 – Jake McMillen
A two goal game late in the season versus Nipawin. The Stars pulled away in the third and McMillen scored on a deflection and then just a sick dangle coming out to the slot before firing home. It was all the things that McMillen is capable of and will bring more of next season. He scored a couple deflections in the playoffs as well. For a smaller guy he battles so well and goes to dirty areas. And as that goal against the Hawks showed he has unreal hands.
25 – Igor Leonenko
Igor came out of the gates quickly scoring 5 goals in his first 8 games including a 4 game goal streak when he found success against Melville and Yorkton. My favourite though was a beauty of a game winner in Nipawin as the Stars rolled to one of their biggest wins of the year. At the time it helped the Stars to a 4-5 record right before a long losing streak. But it was a great goal and a fun game to call in the Cage.
27 – Josh LaFramboise
LaFramboise came in as an ‘AP’ and had a two assist game against Humboldt. It’s always good beating the Broncos and Boisey along with Reed Delainey and Regan Yew have an unreal game as the Stars picked up 2 big points early in the new year. He is going to be a good player for the Stars moving forward and showed signs of being ready now when he got chances.
35 – Darren Martin
Came so close to getting his first career SJHL shutout against Notre Dame late in the season but let in a goal late on a dump in. You know he was upset about that. But about a week later the Stars needed to go 3 for 3 on a southern road trip and it was Martin stepping up in Notre Dame to pick up the third win of that weekend. He was huge that night and especially in the third period in a tight game with his mates looking tired. Getting that shutout, in his final start of the season, was a memorable moment.
There are so many others worth mentioning. Austin Evans’ goals and shootout winners. Casey Parker with his shutout in Yorkton. Robin Carlson’s big goal in Notre Dame. Matt Sheeran, Spencer Gosselin, Joren Johnson Alex Bechtold, Luke Lee Knight and Robbie Newton as well. All players who were with the Stars and played a role in their division title in their own different ways. Plus ‘AP’ goalie Ryan Rewerts. All players who were part of a great 2014.
Finally I want to thank all the players, coaches, staff, board members and fans of the North Stars for another wonderful season. Next year I will call a North Stars game for the first time without Dillon Forbes and Tanner Quinn on the team and it will be weird. Those guys are warriors. All the graduating players will be missed but never forgotten after a magical season.
Thanks to Matty Ryan for everything he does and everyone at the radio station. I had the best seat in the house to sit and watch the 2013-14 Kramer Division Champions!