SJHL Game #15 – Notre Dame Hounds at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 8-3-3-0

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
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost 4-3 versus Kindersley back on Thursday night. To be completely honest I thought it was a pretty boring game for the first 40 minutes. There wasn’t much emotion in the game. There wasn’t a ton ofd hitting. There weren’t many scoring chances. In the first period the Stars managed just 6 shots, according to the scoreboard, and the Klippers had 12 although none of those shots for either team was really a great, clear cut scoring chance.

In the second the Klippers got a couple of goals as Devin Case and Landon Gross were able to beat Spencer Tremblay. The Stars best chance of the period may have been Jake McMillen’s spinning backhand shot that was stopped by Evan Weninger.

Perhaps because the game was a little dull or perhaps because of the rivalry with Kindersley but I was finding the refereeing in the game to be substandard. It just didn’t seem like either ref was really on their game so to speak. A Kindersley player takes a run at Jake McMillen after the horn sounded to end the second period and it was an attempt at a high hit from my vantage point as well. Pushing and shoving and yelling ensues. Somehow the Stars come out of that with the Klippers going to the power play and Kendall Fransoo in the box for a 10 minute misconduct? It goes both ways I guess over the course of the season and in no way is hockey an easy sport to officiate. But that sequence and then the sequence that led to Baxter Kanter in the box for 4 minutes and Adam Smith out of the game was another head scratcher. (at least the refs spotted Ty Lindberg come off the bench to get into the scrum and gave him the boot) Anyway when these things happen there’s nothing a team can do about it but kill the penalties. And that’s exactly what the North Stars did. They killed all 5 Klipper power plays. Unfortunately the Stars couldn’t score on any of their 4 power plays either.

After Shaun MacPherson scored short handed on a partial break away it looked bad for the Stars. But Jordan Townsend scored with a quick shot that beat Weninger over the glove and made it 3-1. Less than a minute later though the Klippers got a goal from Graham Lanigan and it was a 3 goal lead again.

The North Stars went with an aggressive early goalie pull and scored twice. Nick Fountain deflecting a Jake Erickson point shot and then Reed Delainey burying from the slot after Brended Heinrich and Matt Havens teamed up down low to set up Reed. Those goals came just 16 seconds apart and the Stars were within a goal with over 2 minutes left. They got the net empty a couple more times but couldn’t convert.

Nice to see Ryne Keller, Jake Erickson and Connor Sych on the scoresheet. And I honestly thought Spencer Tremblay was unlucky to give up 4 goals based on how he played. I thought he was more than solid in the Stars net.

Storylines:

  • November 1st: This is a date that stands out because it was exactly a year ago that the North Stars lost in a shootout in Estevan to drop to 4-12-0-1 on the season. That was a game that they have a lead in late but couldn’t convert and I was starting to wonder if they would ever win again. Such a good team but not getting the results that their effort deserved. They turned it around after that and came all the way back to win the division.
  • Cooling Down: The Hounds got off to a very fast start with 8 straight victories to start the season. Since then though they have just 1 win in 7 games. In that span they have lost to teams like Flin Flon, Melfort, and Kindersley and lots of those games have been away from home. They have scored just 7 in their last and have given up 19. So they are struggling. But it’s likely a combination of a team hitting a bit of a rough patch (as every team will over the course of the season) and having a difficult portion of the schedule to content with. At the showcase in Warman the coach’s I spoke with said the Hounds are for real so they should bounce back soon enough.
  • First Meeting: The Hounds got off to a very fast start and as mentioned have cooled off a bit. But I have really been looking forward to seeing them this year and having the North Stars test themselves against the Hounds. It’s November 1st already and game #15 so it seems that this is really late in the year to be facing a team from within the division for the first time. But then the Stars still haven’t faced Humboldt yet this season either.
  • Alumni Weekend: There is an alumni game at the Civic Center today. And other alumni related events including a silent auction. Hopefully that leads to a nice sized crowd for a Saturday night at the Civic Center. There were 766 fans inside the arena on Thursday which is not bad but this team is pretty fun to watch when they are on their game. And a Saturday night, divisional matchup game should hopefully appeal to the fans.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Ryne Keller 2) Brenden Heinrich 1) Shaun MacPherson
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Michael Statchuk
  • Head to Head: First meeting of the season.
  • Special Teams: The North Stars are up to third in the league on the PK. That unit has been excellent. Now to work on the power play which is currently in 11th. Surprisingly, because the Hounds generally have been stingy this year with goals against, the Notre Dame penalty kill is 10th in the league.
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: La Ronge at Melville, Humboldt at Weyburn, Estevan at Yorkton

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Control Tempo  – So far the Hounds have been having success when they keep the scores down. They have a great pair of goalies and their defence at times has been tough to penetrate. The North Stars have shown they can win low scoring games, the 1-0 win over Nipawin in OT springs to mind, but that’s not necessarily the way they want to play. They want to play uptempo and very fast hockey. If the North Stars can impose their style and way of playing on the Hounds they have a great chance to win.

2) Finish – The Stars may not get a ton of chances but you do feel they will get some. So they need to make sure they are finishing those chances. It’s been something that has been improving over the course of the season and with 16 goals in their last 3 games the Stars are putting pucks in the net with regularity.

3) Aggressive – After some rough stuff and emotion got into the game two nights ago versus Kindersley the North Stars really started to play well. They need to get that kind of emotion and physicality into the game earlier. Get themselves into the game. Get and keep the fans into the game as well. That’s a key for tonight’s game.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Statchuk – Sych
Erickson – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

Saharchuk – Delainey – O’Sullivan
Heinrich – McMillen – Havens
Kanter – Smith – Keller
Fountain – Mitchell – Townsend

Scratches: Leonenko, Weston, Bond, Nachtegale

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