SJHL Game #16 Battlefords North Stars at Melfort Mustangs

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 8-4-3-0

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 Notre Dame Hounds grabbed a 3-1 win at the Civic Center on Saturday night as the Stars dropped their second straight game at home.

The Stars started the line of Kanter, Smith and Keller and I thought they got what they wanted from that line. A couple big hits, some energy and emotion in the early going. In fact, I thought that line had nice jump in the opening frame. Eventually Keller moved to play with Fountain and Townsend and Otto Mitchell ended up with Smith and Kanter.

There was no scoring in the first period despite some chances. Nick Fountain was absolutely robbed by Thibodeau with a great glove save to keep it scoreless. Jake Calverley threw the SanBerg Collision collision of the game winning hit in the first period on Ryan Donovan.

wpid-20141101_210515.jpg

The Hounds ended up being the first to hit the back of the net in the second. A strange goal to be sure. An attempt at a clearance, I think, that hit a leg at the blueline and the puck went all the way to the back of the Stars net. When I looked to see where the puck was going Spencer Tremblay was on his back side. He complained after the goal but to no avail. Talk about a terrible bounce and a controversial goal. The Stars got that one back though before the end of the period as Ryne Keller was found in front and his backhand beat Alexi Thibodeau.

You don’t want to be behind the Hounds as they play a defensive style game and trap a little as well. So that was a big goal going to the third period. Unfortunately, the Stars couldn’t capitalize on the momentum and in the third the Hounds took the lead again. It was just a great burst up the middle from Cory Anderson and once he had a step on the D he was able to split in between them and get a shot away. Anderson ploughed into Tremblay but I think the puck was already in. The ref was way behind the play and had absolutely no clue but signalled a goal as the red goal light was on. I think it was the right call but a single ref system can sure make for some tough moments as the ref was trying to see what happened from out by the North Stars blue line.

The Stars had some calls go against them I think to as it sure looked like Jake McMillen’s stick was slashed out of his hands on a partial breakaway in the second period. But in the end the Hounds took advantage of their chances and sealed the game with an empty netter. Anderson going straight ahead with a face-off from just outside his own zone and it went all the way down and into the empty cage.

The Stars best chance of the final period may have been Baxter Kanter who was set up with a back door feed but the puck rolled on him before he could shoot and hopped over his stick.

Storylines:

  • Big Week: The Stars have a tough week with Melfort tonight. Then later in the week Yorkton at home and a trip up to La Ronge and back on Saturday night. There are no easy games in this league so every week is tough. But on paper this looks particularly challenging. Coming of a pair of home ice losses this might be just what the Stars need. Tonight is a great chance to bounce back against a top team in the league and see exactly where the Stars measure up.
  • Kramer Division: The Klippers have won 7 of their last 10 games and are now 8 points ahead of the North Stars in the Division but the Stars have two games in hand to try and narrow that gap. The last thing the Stars want is to fall too far behind like last year as a furious rally and breathless run to a Division title is fun but unlikely. It’s important that the North Stars keep pace with the Klippers and Hounds.
  • WCC: Yesterday, Estevan was “selected” to host the Western Canada Cup in 2016. It was the SJHL’s turn to host for the first time under the new format. It’s my understanding that Estevan was the only team that bid. That may be off base but either way they will host the WCC and now they’ve got some work to do to be ready. Right now they are the bottom team in the SJHL and as host they will be in the tournament next year with a chance to go to Nationals so they will need to build a contender. There isn’t a better rink in Junior A hockey though so it’s going to be a great event either way.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Cory Anderson 2) Alexi Thibodeau 1) Spencer Tremblay
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Jake Calverley
  • Head to Head: First meeting of the season.
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: No other games.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Consistency  – Still an issue for this team. They need to work hard and play well for a full 60 every night. If they do that they can be a special team. It’s been something they have struggled to do so far though. That’s why it’s the first key. It’s the most important. It all starts from the base of a consistent, strong 60 minute effort..

2) Speed – From what I have heard the Mustangs are a pretty quick team that can put the puck in the net. So the North Stars team speed needs to be on full display tonight. You want to avoid getting into a run and gun type game defensively by using that speed to get bodies on the defensive side of the puck. And then use that speed to create turnovers and offense. Whichever team works harder and out-skates the other team will win.

3) Power Play – The Stars score during 5 on 5 play. They just don’t score on the power play very often. If they were scoring on the power play they’d likely be right near the top of the league in goals for and would likely have a few more points in the standings as well. The PP unit has to get going at some point as there is just to much talent for it not to improve. Getting goals on the power play continues to be a key for the Stars.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

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

Scratches: Mitchell, Weston, Leonenko, Nachtegaele

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