North Stars 2014-15 Record: 6-2-3-0
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
Last game recap: – The North Stars beat Nipawin 1-0 in overtime last night. In a bit of a strange game both teams struggled to get any flow. In part because of a parade to the penalty box, in a game that frankly didn’t need or require that many penalties to be called, the game was very stop start. Lots of whistles. Players unsure what was and wasn’t going to be called. It hurt the game overall and I though both teams did well to control their emotions and not let frustration boil over.
The Stars best chances that really stood out were in the second period. The best chance of the first period for the Stars came on an early power play when Matt Saharchuk hit the post with a nice snap shot. In the second, Nick Fountain set up Jackson Bond in the slot but Bond missed with his shot rising high over the net. Reed Delainey had a break away and was stopped not once but twice by Joe O’Brien. Both teams hit the post in the game as well with the Hawks looking to have scored a strange one on a deflection before the post behind Tremblay spit the puck back out.
Both teams were 0-8 on the power play with plenty of those penalties over lapping. There was strange situations with 4-on-4 and 4-on-3 situations. The Stars even killed a pretty brief 5-on-3 Hawks power play.
The Stars D didn’t give the Hawks much for the first 50 minutes or so and when there was a break down Spencer Tremblay made all the saves. Then as the game wound down the Stars took a late penalty. A roughing call on Heinrich on what looked like just a good solid hit. Tremblay made 8 saves on that PK including an unbelievable double save on Carter Danczak.
So once again the North Stars went to overtime. The 8th time now in 11 games played. Matt Saharchuk threw one towards goal that hit something on it’s way through and beat O’Brien through his five hole. He didn’t appear to have seen the puck at all. That was Saharchuk’s 7th goal this season and his first game winner. It was Tremblay’s first shutout as a North Star and his first since the 2011-12 season when he made 20 starts for the Moose Jaw Warriors and picked up 1 shutout.
- Playoff Rematch: The Stars and Bruins went head to head in the playoffs last season. The Bruins actually surpised by taking game 1 of the series before the Stars rattled off 4 straight victories to win the series in 5 games. That included two wins in Estevan and a pretty memorable Kendall Fransoo overtime winner. The Bruins will remember that series as well and will be looking for some small payback tonight here at the Civic Center.
- Shutout: Last night was the North Stars first shutout of the season. Spencer Tremblay was relatively untroubled for the first 50 minutes or so. But then in the late stages of the third Tremblay was forced to make a number of key saves to preserve the shutout. I thought he looked very calm, relaxed and confident as the game went along. He was seeing the puck well and making saves look easy. That was a huge game for Tremblay and one I expect he will build off of as the season moved along. By the way, the Stars had 6 shutouts last season. Gudmandson (4), Martin (1) and Parker (1).
- Injured D: The North Stars are a little banged up on the backend with Brock Weston out for 4-6 weeks and Connor Sych also injured and likely to miss the next week or two. That’s why Ryne Keller has been moved back to play D for this team and the captain has been filling in very well.
- OT: Around the league last night every single game went to OT. It wasn’t just the North Stars! Although the Stars still lead the world with 8 OT games so far out of 11 games played. By my math there have been 18 games in the SJHL that have been decided in overtime or a shootout. The Stars have played in 8 of those games! They’ve gone to OT in 3 straight games and 6 of the last 7.
- Offense: The Stars have 11 goals in their last 5 games. Including a 4 goal game up in Flin Flon. They’ve managed just 2 goals in 2 games versus Nipawin this season. This is a team that is capable of scoring goals and that hasn’t happened as much I thought it would early. But the flood gates could open at any moment.
- Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Joe O’Brien 2) Matt Saharchuk 1) Spencer Tremblay
- Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Jackson Bond for a first period his just inside his own blueline.
- Head to Head: Last season the Stars went to OT against Estevan twice in the regular season. They lost 2 in shootouts and beat the Bruins twice as well. And then the Stars won 4 out of 5 in the playoffs. Over the last 5 seasons the SJHL has the North Stars with a 9-4-0-3 record against the Bruins.
- Bruins PK: Dead last in the league and they’ve allowed 15 goals against on the PK so far this season. Will tonight be the night the North Stars power play goes off?
Some Keys for the Stars:
1) Free – The Stars have played their best this season when they play with a bit more freedom. The creativity in the offensive zone really comes out when they play that way. They have the monkey off their backs and have the first home win. So tonight a key will be to play with a little more freedom, creativity, and fun. When they do that they can be potent.
2) Shot Blocking – Always a feature of the Stars play but not something we’ve touched on this season. Shot blocks go a long way to helping a team win. They can also lead to offense as well. The Bruins usually try to shoot a lot of pucks towards the goal from all angles. Blocking some of those will be a key.
3) First goal – A few North Stars are still looking for their first goals this season and a couple of them are looking for their first junior A goal as well. One of those guys gets one and the bench will be really fired up. It will also give the guys confidence as well. I think if a guy like Vermeulen, Nachtegaele, Kanter, or Havens gets one in the first the Stars will really build off that goal.
North Stars Lineup:
Erickson – Yew
Fransoo – Keller
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Saharchuk – Delainey – O’Sullivan
Heinrich – McMillen – Havens
Fountain – Bond – Townsend
Nachtegale – Smith – Kanter
Scratches: Weston, Sych, Leonenko, Regan Yew