SJHL Game #17 – Yorkton Terriers at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 9-4-3-0

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 North Stars came from behind to beat Melfort on Wednesday. The recap is here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/north-stars-win-in-a-shootout/

Storylines:

  • National Champs: Despite struggling a little at times this year the Terriers are going to be the defending National champs until someone knocks them off that perch. That can’t/won’t happen until the playoffs. So every time the Stars play the Terriers this year they will be testing themselves against a National Championship calibre franchise. There is always going to be some value in that.
  • Penalty Kill: The North Stars have the number 2 penalty kill in the league. That rise to near the top of the league in PK has been helped by a streak that they are currently on. They have killed 30 straight penalties. Connor Kortko of La Ronge way back on October 14th was the last player to score on a power play versus the North Stars. At home the North Stars are even better having killed close to 92% of the penalties they have taken. The Stars have given up 3 power play goals at home and just 1 since opening night.
  • WJAC Challenge: Terriers coach Trent Cassan is also the head coach of this year’s Canada West outfit that will head to the World Junior A Challenge, which is being hosted by Kindersley. So, that’s a tournament in Saskatchewan that a lot of these kids will be eager to try and be a part of. There will be guys on the North Stars looking to make an impact and make sure that Cassan and his staff are thinking about the Stars when they start sending out invites to training camp.
  • Igor Returns: Coach Hasselberg mentioned on Wednesday that Igor Leonenko will return to the Battlefords tonight. He’s been in California getting healthy after breaking his wrist in pre-season. I have no idea how long it will be before Leonenko is back up to full speed and ready to return to the lineup. But what an addition it will be when he is ready to go. It’s almost like the impact of a mid-season trade, except it won’t cost the Stars anything. What they get? A guy who is 6’4 and over 200 pounds and with all that skill as well. Leonenko had been looking very sharp in pre-season as well. When Igor gets back on the ice it makes the Stars a bigger and better team.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Kendall Fransoo 2) Brenden Heinrich 1) Ryan Rewerts
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Baxter Kanter
  • Head to Head: North Stars 3 – Terriers 2 (SO) Sept 23rd
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Notre Dame at Melville, Melfort at Humboldt, Nipawin at Weyburn, Flin Flon at La Ronge

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) PK at 5-on-5  – The North Stars PK has been great. And what makes a great penalty kill? Hard work. Determination. Effort. Desire. Wanting it more. If the North Stars bring the essence of that play to their 5-on-5 play then they will win a lot of hockey games. In fact, you can play with that level of “want” on the power play as well and pucks will start flying into the net.

2) Relax – The Stars have played so well on the road and have, at times, struggled at home. They also haven’t really played yet to the level I think they can get to this season. But they are also well above .500 and right up near the top of the league standings. They’ve got speed, skill and grit. Strong D and good goalies. All they need now is to relax and play with confidence. This is a really good team and if/when they realize it, stop gripping the sticks, work hard for a full 60 and have some fun? Look out.

3) Pressure the D – The Terriers appear to still be in the adjustment phase of not having Norrish, Norrish and McMullen on the backend. Those three were a MASSIVE reason that team won the RBC Cup last year. That’s a huge hole in the lineup to have to fill and adjust to and a TON of ice time to fill as well. The North Stars may find success if they can get a lot of pucks in deep and use their speed to really put pressure on the Terriers D.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Tremblay

Statchuk – Vermeulen
Erickson – Keller
Fransoo – Calverley

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

Scratches: Sych, Weston, Nachtegaele, Leonenko

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