SJHL Game #8 – Battlefords North Stars at Nipawin Hawks

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 4-1-2-0

NorSask North Stars Hockey Broadcast Info:

  • 1050 CJNB in the Battlefords
  • 102.3 CJNS in Meadow Lake
  • Listen Live: http://www.cjnb.com
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:15
  • Puck drop – 7:30
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost at home in overtime versus the Kindersley Klippers. The recap is here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/stars-play-overtime-again-but-lose-at-home/

Storylines:

  • On the Road Again: After Saturday’s game in Flin Flon the Stars will have played 7 of their first 9 games on the road. This will be the second overnight road trip of the season so far and those are always good for team bonding. The Stars are 4-0-1 on the road this season which has allowed them to get off to a great start despite just 1 point from 2 home games so far.
  • Overtime: The North Stars have played 5 overtime/shootout games so far this season out of 7. There are a couple reasons for that as we have discussed. But that trend won’t continue. Eventually these games will start being decided more and more in regulation. But there’s nothing wrong with learning how to play close games and OT games early in the year and banking that knowledge and experience for further down the line.
  • Finish: The North Stars have been creating a lot of chances the last few games and, at least in the past two games versus Kindersley, they haven’t finished off those chances as often as they would like. That’s in part because of how good Evan Weninger is in the Klipper goal. But it’s also in part because of the Stars not finish chances. The Delainey line has ben pretty consistent with scoring. The other three lines seem to get a handful of chances each game. So the goals will come as long as they keep making those openings. They just need to relax and finish a little more often.
  • Killer Instinct: In part because of the goals not quite flowing in the early going the Stars have had a couple games where they should have won easily based on how well they played but they didn’t close out the game. Coach Hasselberg talked about that killer instinct in the post game show after the Kindersley game on Tuesday night. That’s something the Stars are looking to develop here in the early going. And they are certainly giving themselves plenty of chances to learn how to do just that. They have shown they can come from behind and grind out wins in close games. The next string to add to the bow is that mentality that will allow them to kill games off.
  • The Cage: Another new barn for a lot of the North Stars new players. Even guys who grew up in Saskatchewan may not have played in the Cage because the local midget AAA team plays out of Tisdale. The benches are on one side and the fans are all on the other side. There’s a wall right behind the players bench as well. So the sound can kind of reverberate around the arena and create a really good atmosphere. The Hawks are off to a good start and it wasn’t that long ago that these two teams met in the playoffs so there should be a nice Friday night crowd for this game.
  • Healthy: With Jake McMillen coming back the other night against Kindersley the Stars are close to full health. Adam Smith told me he could return to the lineup this weekend. That would just leave Igor Leonenko as the only injured North Star. There will always be guys banged up over the course of a season. Bumps and bruises are par for the course. But the Stars have had a few veterans out of the lineup in the early going and it can only help the team when those guys return.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Devin Case 2) Matt Havens 1) Evan Weninger
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Baxter Kanter
  • Helpers: Kris Spriggs is the Hawks leading point getter so far with 13 in 5 games. 11 of those points are assists. He tied for the league lead in scoring. Who has he been setting up? I’m not sure but Garrett Dunlop has 5 goals and just 1 assist.
  • Former Star: Carter Danczak is in his 20 year old year after being traded by the North Stars a couple seasons ago. So far he has 2 goals and an assist in 5 games played.
  • Streak: The Hawks lost their season opening game versus Flin Flon. Since then they have won 4 in a row. There most recent win was a 4-2 victory over La Ronge.
  • Specials: The Hawks have 9 power play goals and the Stars have 2. But the Hawks have given up a short handed goal against as well as 8 power play goals against. So in total that’s 9 for and 9 against on specials. Even. The Stars are currently at -4 in that regard. 2 power play goals and a short handed goal versus 7 power play goals against. Considering how bad the gap looks when you see the power play numbers it’s not as spread as it seems. More on special teams in the keys.
  • Head to Head the last 5 years: Nipawin 8-12-0-2; Battlefords 14-6-0-2 and IN Nipawin the last 5 years the Stars are 7-2-0-2
  • Get a lead: Both teams are 3-0 so far this season when leading after 40 minutes of play. The Stars needed a shootout win and an OT win to get to that mark but they are still finding ways to get the full 2 points when they are up going to the third.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Feeling  – There may be a feeling out process early in tonight’s game as there often is when two teams meat for the first time early in a season. There’s a chance that the Stars staff have seen some video of the Hawks. Plus with coach Doug Johnson at the helm again this year this will be the 4th season that coach Hasselberg and coach Johnson have gone head to head. So they should have an idea of what to expect. What we know for sure is that the Hawks and Stars are two teams that almost always work really hard. So early when they are getting to know each other a little the effort level will have to remain high.

2) Alert – Not unlike the Mel in La Ronge the Cage in Nipawin is a rink that has some interesting aspects. The number one thing is the shallowness of the corners. Pucks come out of the corner quickly and at strange angles. Players and goalies have to be alert in that rink.

3) Special Teams – The Hawks power play is off to a great start so far. They are second in the league behind Flin Flon. So the North Stars penalty kill will be tested at times this weekend. The Hawks have 9 power play goals in 5 games played so far this season. 7 of those 9 power play goals have come at home in 3 games. The Hawks penalty kill though hasn’t been good having given up 8 power play goals against. The Stars have just 2 power play goals so far this season. The penalty kill has been getting better and better so this game will be a good test for the PK and a chance for the PP to get going.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Tremblay

Statchuk – Erickson
Fransoo – Sych
Robin Yew – Weston

Saharchuk – Delainey – O’Sullivan
Havens – McMillen – Heinrich
Fountain – Townsend – Bond
Regan Yew – Keller – Nachtegaele

Scratches: Leonenko, Smith, Kanter, Vermeulen

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