SJHL Game #28 – Battlefords North Stars at Melville Millionaires

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 15-7-5-0

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 to Melville 4-1 at the Civic Center on Tuesday. The Stars outshot the Mills in the first period but I thought the Melville forwards had the best chances of the period. There was a crossbar hit and a guy wide open in front that fired high over the net. Ryan Rewerts at times looked like he was fighting the puck a bit in that opening frame as well. And in the end the Mills had a 1-0 lead to play with. On a power play a cross ice feed found Ben Mack and he got his shot around Ryne Keller and into the net past a diving Rewerts.

The second period was a strong effort from Melville as they pumped 13 shots on Rewerts and scored another goal. It could have been worse. That goal came on the first shift of the second period. Tyler Krekelwich was just called up from Tisdale and will spend the rest of the season with the Millionaires. He was found alone out front and calmly shifted the puck to the backhand and skid it into the net. Rewerts had been coming out to challenge a shot and couldn’t adjust in time as Krekelwich made the nice deke move. That made it 2-0 Millionaires but from there Rewerts was able to shut the door including making a great glove save in the second period.

The Stars got within a goal later in the frame. The McMillen, Havens, O’Sullivan line was the Stars most dangerous offensively and they got the goal. O’Sullivan popping the puck home after great work by the whole line to control the puck down low.

In the third the Stars actually had the territorial play in their favour and spent a lot of time controlling the wall, winning puck battles and cycling the puck. They didn’t get as much to the goal as they would have liked though and couldn’t get to Troy Trembley in the Melville goal.

The line of Kanter, Nachtegaele and Mitchell did some good thing for the Stars and Nachtegaele had several chances offensively to get pucks to the net. Coach Hasselberg was also happy with Matt Saharchuk after the game as well. But the Stars need to get a little more from a few more players as they are a team that needs everyone pulling in the same direction and contributing.

Storylines:

  • Defenseman of the Month: Jake Erickson was named the SJHL’s Defenseman of the Month for November. During the previous month Erickson posted 2 goals and 5 assists for 7 points in 12 games. The Stars went 7-3-2 in the month as the Minnesota native logged big minutes alongside Connor Sych for most of the month. That pair has started to really gel nicely. For more on Erickson’s award check out SJHL.ca or go to the North Stars site here: http://www.northstars.ca/news_article/show/453496?referrer_id=618157 
  • Back to Back: This will be the second straight game for the North Stars against the Millionaires. But the Mills played on Wednesday in Kindersley. They lost 2-1 in OT. But to get 3 out of 4 points from that trip is an excellent result. There season has been a little stop start but that might be the spark they needed. They will be confident and playing well for tonight’s game.
  • Early Season: The North Stars came out of the gates a bit slow this season with a pair of games, and losses, against Kindersley. They then went on the road to Melville and Yorkton and picked up 2 wins to get their season fired up. They come into tonight’s game going through a bit of a rough patch. Hopefully, they can use this trip to get out of that rough stretch just like early in the season.
  • Halfway Point: Hard to believe I am writing this already but tonight is game number 28 on the season. After tonight we will be halfway to game number 56 and the end of the regular season. Where has the time gone so far? This season is absolutely flying by. A win tonight would put the Stars on pace for 74 points. They won the division last year with 75 points but that might not be enough to win it this season. They are off to a great start.
  • Team Building: The North Stars will be staying at a different lodging this weekend in Yorkton. It’s a lodge that offers a chance to get the guys a little more isolated and closer together. They will get to spend some time together as a group off the ice as well as on it. These little team building things throughout the season are always key because later in the season there isn’t time to do as much but when the games really matter that team unit is tested and needs to be strong.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Logan Nachtegaele 2) Matt Havens 1) Ben Mack
  • Last game’s Sanberg Collision Collision of the Game: Jackson Bond
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords North Stars 5 – Melville Millionaires 2 – Sep. 24th 2014
    Melville Millionaires 4 – Battlefords North Stars 1 – Dec. 2nd 2014
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Kindersley at Flin Flon, Yorkton at Nipawin, Estevan at Melfort

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Slot – That’s the area that the Mills defend in their own zone as well as anyone in the league. The Stars have to get puck sand bodies to the front of the net and get tips and rebounds. Melville will give you shots from the outside and at times the Stars will be able to control the play around the outside. But they have to get to the net.

2) Cuts – The Stars had success when they moved their feet and changed directions. Get the D moving and then turn quickly the other direction. The Stars have speed to burn and when they make those cuts and stop/starts the other team has a hard time adjusting in time. Melville didn’t handle it well last time but were able to recover before the Stars made them pay. That’s an area the Stars can try to exploit even more tonight.

3) Gritty The Stars are a speed team with skill and the offense will get going again soon. But they can also be a team that plays with edge and grit. They weren’t as physical as they can be during the game on Tuesday. Hits, blocked shots, penalty killing, and other areas where grit matters are areas the Stars need to utilize more in order to grind out a couple of road wins.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Sych
Statchuk – Vermeulen
Fransoo – Calverley

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

Scratches: Mitchell, Weston, Leonenko

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