SJHL Game #19 – Humboldt Broncos at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 11-4-3-0

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 beat La Ronge 6-5 in a shootout. The full recap lives here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2014/11/08/north-stars-win-6-5-in-a-shootout-at-the-mel/

Storylines:

  • Broncos: First time this season that the North Stars will take on the Humboldt Broncos. The teams did meet in the pre-season but that was a LONG time ago. The Broncos went through some tough times at the start of the season as they worked to find the right mix. Lately though they have been very good. 7-3 in their last 10 good. They are last in the Kramer Division at the moment. But that’s nothing to sneeze at with the strength of this division. The Broncos and Stars have some history that always makes the games between the two teams fun. Plus it is going to be interesting to see how the Broncos look now that their new coach Ryan Smith has had some time to settle in behind the bench. Of course it will also be strange to not see coach Dean Brockman behind the bench with the Broncos.
  • 45: The North Stars have killed off 45 straights penalties. We are now a couple days short of a full month of games played without giving up a goal on the PK. Despite being second in the league on the PK it would be tough to argue that the North Stars are anything less than the best right now when it comes to killing penalties. The PK unit deserves a lot of credit but so do the goalies.
  • Player of the Week: There were no North Stars in the player of the week awards this week. The Stars have had just two this year. Jordan Townsend won rookie of the week early in the season. And Connor Vermeulen took a defenseman of the week award a couple weeks ago. The Stars have two of the top 5 rookie scorers. Several defensemen playing big minutes and playing very well. Two scorers in the top 10 in the league. And a goalie that allowed 7 goals last week in close to three full games, won all 3 and stopped over 93% of the shots he faced. But in the end no awards for the Stars. That’s fine as there are 12 teams in the league and lots of them are playing well. There are lots of great players. I think it also shows the North Stars are very deep and balanced. They aren’t relying on a handful of players every week.
  • Rankings: The CJHL Top 20 features three SJHL teams. Kindersley is up to 5th in the country. Melfort comes in at number 20. Notre Dame is an honourable mention. The North Stars do not appear on the list but a strong week this week could see them return to the list. In the SJHL’s Power Rankings the Stars are 4th and behind those three teams that appear in the CJHL’s top 20.
  • Healthy?: The Stars have been pretty banged up so far this year. Long term injuries to Igor Leonenko and Brock Weston. Logan Nachtegaele has been out for a couple weeks as well. But he’s close to returning and may be in the lineup tonight. Igor is back with the team and rehabbing. I see Weston at the gym all the time working hard to be ready when he’s cleared to return. There were some beat up guys in La Ronge with illness a factor as well. But those guys with little bumps and bruises have had a little time to heal. With Fountain and Fransoo suspended for one more game it will be interesting to see how the Stars lineup looks tonight.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Connor Vermeulen 2) Jordan Townsend 1) Matt Saharchuk
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Baxter Kanter
  • Head to Head: First meeting of season
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Kindersley at Melville, Flin Flon at Melfort
  • Shootout Winner: Jake McMillen is 2-2 in the shootout this year. Both of those goals have been shootout winners. Brenden Heinrich is 1-1 and his was a winner as well. Matt Havens also has a shootout winning goal. He is 1-3 this year.

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Both Ends  – It seems to me that when the North Stars score a lot of goals they let in a bunch as well. When they allow a few goals they seem let in few. They have a lot of 4-3 wins and 4-3 losses. One goal games where they scores are high and where the scores are low. 1-0 over Nipawin, 2-1 over Yorkton are two wins that spring to mind at that end of the spectrum. It’s early and part of a process as the season progresses but if the Stars could marry the D that keeps scores low with the O that sees the Stars score seemingly at will at times they’d be poised for a very long winning streak.

2) Discipline: The North Stars PK streak is impressive no doubt. But in the last 9 games they are averaging a little over 5 power plays against per game. That’s a little higher than they would like to see. Humboldt’s PP is 3rd in the league. The Stars will be confident they can kill any penalty they take. But they won’t want to keep giving teams too many opportunities.

3) Area Passes – This is something I have noticed the Stars doing more and more this season as they get comfortable with each other and with the system. With their speed they have chances to get to pucks other team’s may not be able to get to. It’s a real weapon that they can use this season. Put the puck into an area and let a teammate skate onto the puck.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Tremblay

Statchuk – Vermeulen
Erickson – Keller
Calverley – Sych

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

Scratches: Weston, Leonenko, Fountain (susp), Fransoo (susp)

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