Playoffs!! SJHL Semifinal: Game#3 – North Stars at Melville Millionaires – HCUC

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:

Millionaires lead 2-0

Game #1 – Melville Millionaires 4 –  Battlefords North Stars 1
Game #2 – Melville Millionaires 2 – Battlefords North Stars 1

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 are in a big hole after a 2-1 loss in game 2 of the SJHL semifinals on Saturday night.

The Stars and Mills were tied after a first period in which the Stars came out of the gates quickly but couldn’t beat Isaiah Plett with a couple of decent scoring chances. The Millionaires got better as the period went along and were helped out when Luke McColgan, who had a lot of jump in the early going, was sent off for a hit to the head. That’s a 2 minute minor and a 10 minute misconduct. The Stars killed the penalty but were without McColgan for the last 7 minutes of the opening period and the first 5 of the second.

Early in the second period the Millionaires grabbed a lead. Juts 2:27 into the period it was Sam Williams with his first of the playoffs. Landon Farrell found the puck down low and fired out front to Williams who was able to beat Gudmandson.

It took a couple more minutes after the goal, and the return of McColgan helped, but the Stars started to take over the game after falling behind. I thought they got better and better as the second period progressed. They ended up out shooting the Mills 13-7 in the period but again couldn’t beat Plett.

They did just that early in the third. Jake McMillen standing right on the doorstep and he was able to tip the puck past Plett. Latrell Charleson and McColgan drew the assists. The Stars now have 2 goals in 2 games versus Plett and both were deflections. That shows just how good he has been so far in this series.

The Stars made one mistake in the third period and it lead to a partial 2-on-1 which was stopped by Gudmandson. But Alec Brandrup followed up and popped home a loose puck to put Melville in front for good. The Stars ended up out-chancing the Mills in the final period but couldn’t pull of the victory.

The Millionaires now lead 2-0 heading back to Melville and they are 6-0 so far in the playoffs.

Storylines:

  • Unbeaten: The Mills haven’t lost so far in the playoffs. And 5 of those 6 wins have come by a single goal. Maybe they are some sort of team of destiny. Or maybe they have been getting a little lucky. The most likely answer though is simply that they have a good team that is playing well at the right time with a goalie who is on a roll. It doesn’t really matter at this point from the North Stars perspective. What matters is finding a way to stop the Mills roll. The are unbeaten so far but that doesn’t mean they are unbeatable.
  • Road Warriors: After last night’s double OT win for Yorkton the road teams have won every game so far this round. Which is strange. The North Stars put up a fantastic road record this season. They were actually better on the road than they were at home. And they are 2-0 on the road in the playoffs so far. They need at least a split in Melville to force a game 5 back at the Civic Center on Friday night.
  • Adversity: The North Stars have faced their share of it this season. And they’ve dealt with it very well. They have the right leadership group and coaching staff to overcome adversity. So they won’t panic at any point in  a series. And we know they won’t give up. The Millionaires should be expecting one heck of a fight from the North Stars as this series continues.
  • Power Play: The North Stars have now failed on 11 straight power play opportunities. They are struggling to score goals in the series and that’s partially because of the power play not finishing. That said though Coach Hasselberg was happy with the PP after game 2. They moved the puck well and created opportunities. It’s only a matter of time before they start scoring. As long as they keep drawing penalties as they have in the series so far then they should be fine.
  • Spring Camp: The North Stars will be holding their spring camp at the Civic Center coming up this weekend. I will post a spring camp schedule a little later this week. It’s a chance for young players to experience the North Stars program. They will be on the ice for scrimmages several times over the weekend. They will get to make an impact on the Stars coaching staff and the staff will get to make an impression on the players. Game 5, which is still if necessary and let’s hope it is necessary, on a Friday night at the Civic Center would be a great way to show the young players just what the North Stars program is all about.

Game Notes:

  • OT: The Stars and Mills have each played 1 OT game so far in the playoffs. And both teams are 1-0 in OT. The other semifinal series has seen overtime in each game so far. Humboldt has played OT 4 times and Yorkton 3 overall in the playoffs. I can’t tell if the other teams have had a lot of overtime games or if the Stars have had less than normal. Will we see OT in Melville?
  • First: The Melville Millionaires have scored first in 5 of their 6 games so far in the playoffs. Game 1 versus the Stars was the only time they haven’t and they came back to win that game as we know. With the way Plett is playing it’s important for the Stars to play with leads. Hopefully they can jump out to an early lead in game 3.
  • Shorty: Neither team has a shorthanded goal so far in the playoffs. Both the Stars and Mills scored shorthanded in the regular season. Landon Farrell was second in the league with 4. Ben Greenaway, Blake Young and Jack Petrino all had 2 short handed goals in the regular season.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Get to Plett – The North Stars have created chances in this series and especially in game 2. They simply need to do a better job finishing those chances. Plett has been outstanding so far so it won’t be easy. The Stars have maybe been squeezing the stick a little too tight. Perhaps heading out on the road will help them relax and enjoy the challenge of trying to beat Plett and the Mills.

2) Limit Mistakes The Stars didn’t make a ton of mistakes in game #2 but the Mills capitalized when they did. That’s been the Melville way so far in the series and the playoffs. So the North Stars will simply have to play as close to mistake free hockey as possible, which they are capable of as we have seen this season, and convert a higher rate of their chances than the Mills.

3) Get a Win – It doesn’t have to be pretty. It doesn’t have to be, and likely won’t be, easy. The North Stars just have to lean on their experiences this season. Lean on the fact that they are a great road team. Lean on the fact that they have a great group of young men with skill, speed, toughness and tenacity. So find a way to get a win. Scratch, claw, fight. Whatever it takes.

North Stars Lineup:

Gudmandson
Martin

Forbes – Fransoo
Schmidt – Erickson
Charleson – Lacoursiere

Young – Blair – LaFramboise ‘AP’
McMillen – McColgan – Keller
Quinn – Petrino – Heinrich
Greenaway – Reich – Regan Yew

Scratches: Leonenko, Delainey, Fountain, Robin Yew

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