SJHL Game #46 – La Ronge Ice Wolves at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 22-16-6-1

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 5-2 to the Melville Millionaires last night here at the Civic Center. The game got off to a slow start. A good rush from Igor Leonenko ended when he was angled into the boards and hit hard in the corner to the right of Melville goalie Josh Bykowski. The plastic clip holding the glass in place broke and there was about a 5 minute delay as repairs were made.

The Stars then got rolling. Jake Calverley had a good scoring chance looking for his first of the season. A short handed rush from Jake McMillen almost resulted in a goal but his bachhand effort was stopped. I thought the game was maybe a little too open for the North Stars liking and Tyson Predinchuk did have two decent chances in the early going as the puck was moving end to end. Brenden Heinrich drew a tripping penalty against Jeff Hubic and the Stars capitalized. Michael Statchuk’s point shot beat Bykowski clean. The goalie was maybe partially screened by Reed Delainey swooping through the high slot after dropping the puck off to Statchuk.

Matt Havens crushed Drew Litwin in open ice to win the San-Berg Collision of the game award. Late in the first the Baxter Kanter line had a fantastic shift. They cycled, hit and harassed the Mills in the Melville zone. Moments later the game was tied. A quick rush for the Millionaires’ Dalton Menke the other way and a shot that may have tipped off Connor Sych’s stick beat Spencer Tremblay. 9 seconds later it was 2-1. A slapper off the stick of Lane Harbor beat Tremblay off the tip of his glove and just like that the great start and the momentum were gone.

Ryan Rewerts entered the game as the Stars looked to right the ship. They did just that early in the second. Every time the Stars needed a response shift they sent out Jake McMillen’s line. And it was working. That line was very good and I thought they could have scored 3 or 4 goals.

Moments after a Stars powerplay expired the game was tied. Igor Leonenko stayed on the ice and the puck came to him. His drag and shot beat Bykowski to make it 2-2 and arguably all 4 goals were relatively preventable.

Less than a minute later the Millionaires had the lead. A 2-on-3 rush for Melville lead to the goal as the Stars failed to pick up the trailer. Harbor was found alone in the slot and his shot beat Rewerts. The Millionaires doubled their lead when they popped home a rebound that landed in behind Rewerts. Reitmeyer got a stick on it before Rewerts could flop on top of the puck for a whistle.

McMillen’s line had another good response shift at that point and drew a penalty. Matt Havens had chances. Brenden Heinrich had a couple chances from the slot area in the second period that just whistled wide on the blocker side. The Stars got some momentum back but couldn’t convert on the scoresheet to reduce the lead.

Bykowski made his best saves of the night in the second. First a paddle down save on Leonenko then a pad stretch save to stop Nick Fountain. Havens had a chance late but his shot hit traffic and bounced right to the floundering Bykowski.

So it was 4-2 going to the third and the Mills started the period on the power play. A chance for the Stars to build momentum with a good PK. But they couldn’t Connor Sych’s clearing attempt from a scramble in front went right to Reed Murray. Sych was simply trying to throw the puck away from pressure and spun and fired right onto the tape of Murray. The kind of play that the Stars have had lately that they need to battle through. That’s bad puck luck. Murray took advantage and it was 5-2.

Baxter Kanter sent Murray to the ice late and Murray was livid. He was screaming and kicking as he went off the ice. Hopefully he is okay. Kanter then drew some penalties against the Millionaires as they went after him a few times. The Stars PP couldn’t convert late despite 3 straight minutes of pressure in the Melville zone with the North Stars net empty.

Lots of glass and out from the Mills and despite chances for each team the game finished 5-2.

Storylines:

  • Kramer Division: All 4 Kramer division teams are in action tonight. The Stars are still looking to reel in the Hounds. The Klippers are battling for the overall league lead with Melfort and the Humboldt Broncos are in action tonight looking to maintain a playoff spot. So all 4 teams on the ice from the Kramer have a lot to play for as well.
  • Momentum: The North Stars have struggled this season at times with momemtum swings. And lately it seems like they have been especially victimized by momentum swings and by not creating, maintaining or absorbing momentum. Whether it’s been an untimely PP goal against. A costly turnover at an in opportune time or missing a chance that would have changed the momentum it’s something the Stars can improve on. It’s Junior hockey so momentum will always play a big role and learning to deal with that can really help a team go a long way.
  • Local Flavour: As we have mentioned many times this is always a fun game especially here at the Civic Center as the Ice Wolves have several players with ties to the Edam area, the midget AAA Stars or the North Stars in various ways. There will be plenty of fans here tonight supporting the Ice Wolves as well as the usual strong crowd for the North Stars.
  • Season Series: The North Stars can win the season series with a win tonight with one game to spare. This is another potential first round Survivor Series playoff matchup. And whenever that’s the case you want to be able to recall good feelings, success and confidence from earlier games against a team come playoff time.
  • Overtime: These teams have met 4 times this season with 3 going past regulation. The Stars have an OT and a SO win under their belts. The Ice Wolves won in OT here at the Civic Center back in October.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Otto Mitchell 2) Brennen Miller 1) Lane Harbor
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Matt Havens
  • Head to Head:
    La Ronge 1 @ Battlefords 2 (Jan 8 2015)
    Battlefords 6 @ La Ronge 5 (SO) (Nov 8 2014)
    La Ronge 4 @ Battlefords 3 (OT) (Oct 14 2014)
    Battlefords 4 @ La Ronge 3 (OT) (Oct 3 2014)
    Out of Town Scoreboard:
    Yorkton at Humbldt, Flin Flon at Notre Dame, Melville at Kindersley

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Be Ready – The Ice Wolves are coming off a very good win on the road in Kindersley. They will be coming into tonight’s game full of confidence and ready to get back out on the ice. The Stars will have to be ready to go. A similar start tonight to what we say last night would be just fine.

2) Momentum – This is a huge key. Get it, keep it, and absorb it when it’s going against you. The North Stars will have chances tonight to learn from what has happened the last few games and we will see how they respond. The North Stars in my experience usually respond very well to adverse situations like this and learn from their mistakes.

3) Fun – After what’s happened the last few games I hope the North Stars can bounce back with a win tonight. These guys deserve some success because I know they are battling and working hard to get through some tough times. Especially with key guys out of the lineup. So hopefully they have some fun tonight and enjoy a win.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Statchuk
Fransoo – Sych
Weston – Vermeulen

Fountain – McMillen – Heinrich
Calverley – Havens – Leonenko
Nachtegaele – Kanter – Mitchell
Hall – Townsend

Scratches: O’Sullivan, Bond, Saharchuk, Delainey

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SJHL Game #45 – Melville Millionaires at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 22-15-6-1

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 in Humboldt 5-0 on Wednesday. The Stars actually came out pretty well in the game and the very first shot from Jordan Townsend almost got by Romanuik who had to look behind him to see if he had made the save. The shots were 6-0 North Stars when the Broncos scored one that got through the arm and the body on Spencer Tremblay. That’s one I am sure the Stars goalie would say he should have stopped.

It was a blow to the Stars momentum but they kept coming and were heavily outshooting the Broncos. But then a turnover in the Stars zone led to Matt Kenney making it 2-0 as he picked the top corner. It was 2-0. The Stars never seemed to recover. A Broncos power play marker made it 3 before a goal with 24.6 seconds left in the opening period ended the Stars hopes. 4-0 after the first. Ryan Rewerts took over starting in the second period and the Stars changed up their D pairs as well. They weren’t able to spark a comeback.

Humboldt got a rolling puck past Rewerts to make it 5-0 and from there it was mostly about whether or not the Stars could break the shutout bid of Romanuik. They weren’t able to do that as the Broncos goalie made 28 saves for his first shutout of the season.

Storylines:

  • Stretch Drive: After the two games at home this weekend the Stars will move into February with just 10 games left on the regular season schedule. They have 12 games left to try and close the gap on teams above them and avoid a Survivor Series playoff versus one of a handful of teams that looks like it will be one of La Ronge, Humboldt, or Yorkton. If the Stars won that series they would be seeded 7th and take on the #2 seed which will likely be Kindersley. That would be fun but I am sure the Stars still have their sights set on moving up and getting in that top 6.
  • Playoff Rematch: The North Stars incredible run to the division title last season meant they went into the playoffs on a lengthy unbeaten streak. They had 1 regulation loss in their final 21 games. A 6 game winning streak going into the post season and then after dropping the first game versus Estevan they won the next 4 straight. And then all of a sudden they were down 3-0 versus Melville in a surprise that I didn’t see coming. It brings back bad memories thinking about it. But that’s what this meeting means this season. You get those memories of that playoff series flooding back.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Gray Marr 2) Matt Kenney 1) Jack Romanuik
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Nick Fountain
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords 2 @ Melville 6 (Dec 5 2014)
    Melville 4 @ Battlefords 1 (Dec 2 2014)
    Battlefords 5 @ Melville 2 (Sep 24 2014)
    Out of Town Scoreboard:
    Yorkton at Notre Dame, La Ronge at Kindersley, Melfort at Nipawin, Flin Flon at Weyburn

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Be Ready – The Stars have fallen behind by 3 and 4 goals in each of the last two first periods. They need to show up in the first period tonight and be ready to go. Melville is a new look team since the deadline and are better than their record indicates. They will be a tough opponent and if the Stars are slow out of the gates the Mills will take advantage.

2) PK – The Stars have given up 4 power play goals against in the last 2 games. That’s after a streak of 24 straight kills over the span of 4 or 5 games. They were up into first in the league on the PK before the blip over the last couple games. The Mills power play is worst in the league so tonight is a chance for the Stars to get back on track.

3) Finish – After the Stars offense seemed to come alive last week they have struggled again the last two games. Looking over my notes from the game in Humboldt though the Stars certainly had chances. They just need to get back that confidence that they can finish their chances.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Statchuk
Fransoo – Sych
Vermeulen – Weston

Fountain – McMillen – Heinrich
Hall – Delainey – Townsend
Calverley – Havens – Leonenko
Nachtegaele – Kanter – Mitchell

Scratches: Saharchuk, O’Sullivan, Bond

SJHL Game #44 – Battlefords North Stars at Humboldt Broncos

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 22-14-6-1

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 – 7:00
  • Puck drop – 7:00
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost on Saturday night at the Civic Center as the Nipawin Hawks grabbed a 4-2 victory. The Stars fell behind in the first period as the Hawks scored twice on the power play and jumped out to a 3-0 lead.

There wasn’t much positive to come out of that first period. But then like a switch was flipped the North Stars came out and were very good the rest of the game. Jake McMillen had a very strong second period to help turn the momentum as the Stars got on the board. Matt Saharchuk stayed hot with his 16th of the season. Bryce Hall picked up an assist to make it 3 points in his last 2 games.

The Hawks at that point had already gone ahead 4-0 thanks to a goal for Reece Forman. That goal came against the run of play. But Saharchuk got the Stars back within 3 heading to the third. From there though the Hawks didn’t let the Stars back in the game. Strong goaltending from Joe O’Brien helped. The Hawks also did a good job in front making sure their goalie could see the shots coming his way.

Igor Leonenko scored a late power play goal for the Stars and they were within 2. They got the net empty again after the goal but couldn’t get any closer and the Hawks grabbed a big 2 points.

It was the second game of parents and billets weekend and the guests of honour were out on the ice before the game. I couldn’t stick around after the game as I was dealing with a pretty bad cold. But it was great seeing all the parents and billets throughout the weekend.

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Storylines:

  • Player of the Week: Matt Saharchuk is a great choice for the SJHL’s player of the week award. Matt had 7 points last week in 3 games played. Saharchuk had a goal in each of the Stars 3 games as they grabbed two wins. After a 10 game pointless drought it’s great to see Saharchuk back in a big way and his chemistry with Bryce Hall has been coming along nicely. For the season now Saharchuk has 16 goals and 20 assists for 36 points in 43 games played. He is one of just 2 North Stars who have played in every game this season. For more: http://www.northstars.ca/news_article/show/471564?referrer_id=631316-news
  • Assistant GM: The Stars have hired an assistant GM and Director of Player Development. It’s kind of an old story now having happened over a week ago. But I hadn’t had a chance to talk about it yet. The Stars have brought in Randy Buffie. With plenty of experience as an owner and a scout Buffie has plenty of contacts throughout the hockey word. He will take a little of the load off the shoulders of head coach and GM Kevin Hasselberg. I met Randy a few weeks ago when he was in the Battlefords and he’s a man with a great passion for the sport and he will only help the North Stars put strong teams on the ice in the future. For more here is the story: http://www.northstars.ca/news_article/show/467928?referrer_id=631316
  • Final Meeting: The North Stars can clinch the season series with Humboldt with just a point from tonight’s game. The Stars have 3 wins and an OT loss while Humboldt has 2 wins and an OT loss. The teams could finish tied with 7 points if the Broncos win in regulation. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen! With Weyburn beating Notre Dame last night the North Stare remain 5 points back of second place in the Kramer Division with the Stars and Hounds having played the same number of games. They sill have meetings with each other left on the schedule as well.
  • Bottle Drive: The North Stars spent some time early this weekend collecting bottles and cans for recycling and donating the proceeds to the fund raising effort for the new BTEC building. With help from NorSask, among others, the Stars raised more than 9,000 dollars for the BTEC building when they auctioned off their players earlier this season. The team spent Monday afternoon going around the community and collecting donations. Thank you to all who helped out and to the North Stars for always being such a positive part of the local community.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Matt Saharchuk 2) Kris Spriggs 1) Garrett Dunlop
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Kendall Fransoo
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords 2 @ Humboldt 1 (OT) (Jan 21 2015)
    Humboldt 4 @ Battlefords 3 (Jan 13 2015)
    Battlefords 5 @ Humboldt 2 (Dec 14 2014)
    Humboldt 2 @ Battlefords 4 (Nov 25 2014)
    Humboldt 4 @ Battlefords 3 (OT) (Nov 12 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Flin Flon at Estevan, Weyburn at Melville

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Traffic – The Stars didn’t do a very good job of getting traffic to the front of the Nipawin net and in this league you have to have traffic to score goals. You aren’t going to be beat SJHL goalies clean very often. Come playoff time the team that protects the front of their net the best will have a great chance to win. The Stars will have to get better at getting to the net and staying there.

2) Confidence – The North Stars have been getting great offensive production from Matt Saharchuk with help from Bryce Hall and Jordan Townsend. Igor Leonenko has 3 goals since his return to the lineup. Those are three or four guys that have confidence right now and that’s something the Stars need more of at this point. They will always be a team that has to work really hard and play really well to win games but they also need to have the confidence that they are a great team.

3) Faceoffs – I may have pointed this out already recently and used it as a key. But to me it’s been pretty stark the last few games. When the Stars win more faceoffs than they lose they win the hockey game. And vice versa. it’s just an eye-test thing though as I don’t have the stats to back it up. Nipawin scored a hat full of power play goals and it felt like they won the faceoff to start each power play and were immediately set up. If the Stars win draws they will win games.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Statchuk
Sych – Fransoo
Weston – Vermeulen

Hall – Saharchuk – Townsend
Calverley – Havens – Leonenko
Fountain – McMillen – Heinrich
Nachtegaele – Kanter – Mitchell

Scratches: Delainey, O’Sullivan, Bond

SJHL Game #43 – Nipawin Hawks at Battleford North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 22-13-6-1

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 – 7:30
  • Puck drop – 7:15
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

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Last game recap: – The offense came alive for the North Stars as they beat the Estevan Bruins 6-3. The Bruins though actually opened the scoring after a decent start from the road team. It was Ryan Duret who opened the scoring as he was able to reach out with one hand on his stick and get a little piece of a centering pass. That deflection took the puck through the 5 hole on Spencer Tremblay to open the scoring.

The Stars looked dangerous though and it felt like there would be plenty of goals in the game. Tyler Gutenberg also looked a little shaky in net as well. And it was his mistake that let the Stars tie the game. Gutenberg went behind the net to play the puck and let it for his D. But they were no where to be found so Matt Saharchuk swooped in, picked up the puck and scored with a quick wrap around on his back hand before Gutenberg could get back in the net.

The Stars made it 2-1 on their first power play and it took just 17 seconds. Jake Erickson slid a pass over to Igor Leonenko at the top of the right faceoff circle. Igor’s one timer was tipped at the side of the net by Jake McMillen and the Stars had a lead after 20.

The Bruins tied the game in the second as they got a power play marker. The Stars failed to pick up Keegan Allison and he walked off the wall to snap a shot into the top corner.

The North Stars didn’t wait long to get their lead back though. A little under 2 minutes later Jake McMillen scored his second of the game. He found a puck at the side of the net and as he was falling he was able to stretch out, reach with his stick and then hook the puck out wide and then around Gutenberg. Later in the frame Matt Saharchuk and Bryce Hall teamed up to find Jordan Townsend in the slot area and his one timer blasted past Gutenberg for a nice tic-tac-toe goal.

There was a fight in the second period as Connor Sych got into it with Mahlon Head after a late hit in the neutral zone. It was a great, spirited fight that Sych won and his bench was really fired up about it.

The North Stars lead was trimmed in the third as the Bruins score to make it 4-3. A Charles Manley point shot through traffic got past Tremblay who never saw the shot. But the Stars responded 31 seconds later. Again the Stars were able to free up a puck down low for Townsend to skate onto. He circled off the boards and into the slot area before firing past Gutenberg for Townsend’s second of the game. Late on the Stars Bryce Hall, who earlier had picked up his first assist, scored his first ever goal in Junior A hockey. A loose puck off the end boards came to Hall and he put his stick between his legs to flip the puck past Gutenberg. It was all smiles on the Stars bench as Hall got his first as a North Star.

So two goals for McMillen and Townsend who both got out for the last shift of the game as they were looking for a hat trick goal. I think Bryce Hall may get added to a scoring play to end up with a 3 point night to join Matt Saharchuk who was the Canadian Tire 3 Stars #1 Star for the second straight game.

Storylines:

  • Parents and Billets Weekend: Tonight is the night that the parents get honoured on the ice with the billet parents as well. It’s a big night with the pregame preparations being a little disrupted But it’s always great to see the parents out on the ice and being saluted by the fans. It’s also a great weekend for the players. With a Kramer Auction Sales Shootout Showdown after the game as well there should be plenty more fun at the Civic Center tonight.
  • Rolling: The Stars have won 3 in a row and 4 of their last 5 with a total of 9 points from their last 5 games played. That little role has brought them right back into the mix for a playoff spot that would avoid a survivor series. December was a bit of a rough month for the North Stars but they’ve started to make up the ground they lost during that adverse period thanks to the current hot streak.
  • Skill: The North Stars scored some pretty nice goals last night. And in recent games they’ve shown flashes of that highly skilled hockey team that we know they can be full time. Whether it’s Igor Leonenko on a breakaway making a goalie look foolish or Bryce Hall scoring from between his legs there have been some slick goals recently. And it feels like the Stars are being more inventive and trying to be more creative and attack minded in the attacking zone. That’s good to see and it will lead to plenty of goals.
  • Standings: A big game tonight in the standings and the battle for playoff spots. The Hawks are 4 points ahead of the North Stars and the two teams have played the same number of games. Right now the Stars would be in 7th and go into a survivor series. And if the playoffs started today that series would be against Humboldt. If the North Stars can move up a spot into 6th? A first round matchup with the 3 seed which would be the winner of the Sherwood division. Get into 4th or 5th and you are looking at a first round series with the likes of Nipawin, Flin Flon or Notre Dame.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Jake McMillen 2) Jordan Townsend 1) Matt Saharchuk
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Jake Calverley
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords 1 at Nipawin 3 (Oct 10th 2014)
    Nipawin 0 at Battlefords 1 (Oct 17th 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Notre Dame at Melville, Yorkton at Flin Flon, Estevan at La Ronge

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Adjust – The Hawks play a very different style than the Bruins and tonight’s game will likely look and feel different than last night’s. There won’t be as much end to end action and there likely won’t be as many chances for the Stars. That means they will have to adjust quickly to the different style of game. And they will need to capitalize on their chances when they do come.

2) Confidence – The Stars are playing well and starting to get on a bit of a roll. They scored 6 goals last night on home ice. It was, overall, a really enjoyable evening. The Stars should be able to take confidence from that experience and the recent results into tonight’s game. Bryce Hall is a young man who does not lack confidence and that’s almost cockiness is something the Stars need.

3) Cycle – The Stars scored a couple of really nice goals last night that were set up by or came from a good cycle down low. They won the puck, controlled the wall and then started exchanging nifty little passes that became goals on a couple of occasions. They don’t strike people as a team that would be great off the cycle because they are a little smaller and so quick and good off the rush. When they add in the cycle game down low they become really tough to defend. If they can do that again tonight the Hawks might struggle to contain the Stars.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Tremblay

Erickson – Statchuk
Fransoo – Sych
Weston – Vermeulen

Hall – Saharchuk – Townsend
Fountain – McMillen – Heinrich
Calverley – Havens – Leonenko
Nachtegaele – Kanter – Mitchell

Scratches: Delainey, O’Sullivan, Bond

SJHL Game #42 – Estevan Bruins at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 21-13-6-1

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 – 7:00
  • Puck drop – 6:45
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars beat the Broncos in Humboldt on Wednesday, 2-1 in overtime. The Broncos actually opened the scoring in the first period when Spencer Tremblay deflected a dump in towards the corner. But before the Stars could react Jon Brumwell was on hand to step into a slapshot and blast the loose puck past Tremblay as he tried to get across to his post. That made it 1-0 relatively early in the game.

The Stars responded on their power play. That’s a unit that is now up to 11th in the league and no longer last. They are clicking at around 22 percent in the last 4 or 5 games with the man advantage. In the first period with the Stars down a goal the Broncos took a penalty. The Stars then scored. Brenden Heinrich sliding a puck up to the right point area for Michael Statchuk to blast past Jack Romanuik. It was Statchuk’s first goal since October 10th and his 4th of the season.

In the second period the Broncos thought that they had scored. The puck did cross the line and perhaps was in the net just before the net came off the pegs. But the referee thought the net was dislodged and blew the whistle and immediately waived off the goal. The Broncos were feeling hard done by and you can’t blame them for that.

Neither team could score in the second or third period and then game went to overtime. And the North Stars won it with less than a second to go. After an offensive zone faceoff win for the Stars a point shot was stopped and Matt Saharchuk was on hand to fight the puck across the line. Saharchuk ended up with a goal and an assist in the game. He’s not got 3 points in his last 3 games after an 8 game drought. Getting Matt going will be huge for the Stars.

There was bad news though as Jackson Bond left the game in the third and did not return.

I thought the Stars defense was outstanding with Brock Weston really stepping up to fill big minutes with Connor Sych given the night off. Jake Calverley and Connor Vermeulen were singled out as well by coach Hasselberg. The whole D unit is playing well and that’s helped the Stars allow just 5 goals against in the last 4 games. The goalies have also been excellent with Spencer Tremblay having stopped 70 of the last 71 shots he’s faced and allowing just 1 goal against in 2 games since returning to the lineup.

I also thought the Stars did a great job blocking shots, winning faceoffs, and winning puck battles. the little things that add up to wins.

Storylines:

  • Parents and Billets Weekend: This is always a special weekend with lots of family and friends in town for the players who aren’t from the area as well as the ones who are. The North Stars get to thank and honour those who make big sacrifices for this team. Where would the Stars be without parents of players and the billets who become their second families during the season? It’s always great to see them all out on the ice together and to get a chance to talk to them around the rink. There will be a silent auction throughout the weekend and other events. Check out the North Stars website for more.
  • Injuries: The North Stars have been hit hard this season by the injury bug. Igor Leonenko and Brock Weston were out long term. Other guys have missed time with more minor injuries. Now Brady O’Sullivan, Reed Delainey and Jackson Bond are all banged up. It gives other guys a chance to step up and shine in bigger roles. But it would really be nice if this team could be 100% healthy for once just to see what kind of role they could get on. The Star may need to dress 7 D tonight and have one of them play forward. Or perhaps call up an ‘AP’.
  • Special Teams: Seems to be a feature now that we talk about at length every game. But it’s tough to ignore. The Stars have killed 21 straight penalties and their PK is now tops in the league by a percentage point over Kindersley. The Stars gave up 6 power play goals against in their first 4 games. Since then? 15 power play goals against in 37 games. That’s off the charts good. Their power play is also starting to come together as we’ve discussed. Ryan Rewerts and Spencer Tremblay have both been playing great. Dominant goalies and special teams? Pretty good formula for success.
  • Overtime: Remember at the start of the year when the North Stars couldn’t seem to avoid overtime? It actually became kind of a running joke. There was a sense that every game would find a way to get to overtime. Well the Stars have now been to overtime in 3 straight games. And they were a second away from 3 straight shootouts before Matt Saharchuk scored the winner versus Humboldt. Let’s see if the Stars can avoid OT this evening.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Brock Weston 2) Spencer Tremblay 1) Matt Saharchuk
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Otto Mitchell
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords 1 @ Estevan 0 (SO) (Jan 18 2015)
    Battlefords 4 @ Estevan 5 (OT) (Nov 21 2014)
    Estevan 2 @ Battlefords 9 (Oct 18 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: No other games

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Be ready – The Bruins are just 4 points back of first place in their division. They are coming off a shootout loss to the Stars and a shootout win over Notre Dame. They are playing pretty good hockey of late and they are in the hunt for home ice advantage in a survivor series or maybe even winning their division. The North Stars will have to once again be ready for a stiff test from the Bruins.

2) Little Things – The Stars shot blocking has improved of late. As is usually the case with any hockey team, when they win a majority of the faceoffs they win the hockey game. Their puck management continues to improve. A lot of the little things that the North Stars need to do well that will add up to wins have improved of late. That needs to continue.

3) Early Lead – The Estevan Bruins are 1-11-1-2 when they trail after the first period of play. The Stars are 7-0-1-0 when they are leading after the first period. So the math is pretty simple. If the Stars get off to a quick start and can play with a lead after the first 20 minutes they have a great chance to win the game.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Statchuk – Erickson
Fransoo – Sych
Weston – Vermeulen

Fountain – McMillen – Heinrich
Hall – Saharchuk – Townsend
Calverley – Havens – Leonenko
Nachtegaele – Kanter – Mitchell

Scratches: Delainey, OSullivan, Bond

SJHL Game #41 – Battlefords North Stars at Humboldt Broncos

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 20-13-6-1

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 – 7:00
  • Puck drop – 6:45
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars beat Estevan 1-0 in a shootout as Spencer Tremblay returned to the lineup and guided his team to victory. Read more here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/north-stars-grab-5-of-6-points-down-south/

Storylines:

  • CJHL Prospects Game: Team West beat Team East by a score of 3-2 last night with a late winning goal for West to wrap up the game. I thought Connor Sych was very solid from what I saw of the game. He seemed composed and I don’t remember him being on the ice for a really quality scoring chance against. He tied up a guy in front in the second period to prevent a chance. He ahd a few shots and hits as well. All in all I thought he was solid and his team was excellent throughout.
  • Defenseman of the Week: Jake Erickson is the SJHL’s Defenseman of the Week. Erickson posted 3 assists in 4 games as the Stars lost just once in regulation. The Minnesota native was also key to the North Stars killing 16 straight penalties as well as the 1-0 win over Estevan on Sunday in which Erickson and Michael Statchuk were excellent together while playing big minutes for the third straight game.
  • Goalies: I wouldn’t want to be the one person charged with selecting starting goalies for the North Stars. Spencer Tremblay likely starts tonight as he is coming off a 44 saves shutout that included stopping all 4 Bruins in the shootout. Ryan Rewerts is coming off back to back games in which he allowed just 2 goals each and stopped a total of 65 shots. He is now second in the league with a .930 save percentage and first in that stat among rookies. He’s 5th in the league in goals against average and second for rookies. No matter what the North Stars have a chance to win every night thanks to their goaltending.
  • Elgar Peterson: The legendary figure in Humboldt has an arena named after him and now he is being inducted into the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame in the grass roots category. That will take place later this year in Humboldt as that community hosts the induction ceremony that also features the 2002-03 Humboldt Broncos team.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Matt Havens 2) Tyler Fuhr 1) Spencer Tremblay
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Jake Calverley
  • Head to Head:
    Humboldt 4 @ Battlefords 3 (Jan 13 2015)
    Battlefords 5 @ Humboldt 2 (Dec 14 2014)
    Humboldt 2 @ Battlefords 4 (Nov 25 2014)
    Humboldt 4 @ Battlefords 3 (OT) (Nov 12 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: No other games

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Step Up – The North Stars could be without a couple of key players again tonight as they have a few guys banged up. That means that there will be more offensive opportunities for guys who may not get those chances. The line of Bond, Havens and Leonenko was excellent all weekend and Matt Saharchuk appears to be coming out of a bit of a slump. Bryce Hall will get chances as well. Who will step up offensively for the Stars?

2) Out shoot the Broncos – The North Stars are 10-5-5 when they have more shots than their opponent. 10-7-0-1 when they don’t. Interestingly the Broncos are 10-10 when they are out-shot but strangely are 5-10-3 when they have more shots. Add it all up and the Stars put themselves in a good chance to win if they win the shot counter.

3) O from the D – With the North Stars likely missing a couple of key scorers and secondary scoring always being so key for any team the Stars will need to get offense from the backend. Jake Erickson had 3 assists last week. Connor Sych scored a goal against Notre Dame. Michael Statchuk was involved in the scoring against Humboldt last week with an assist. If the Stars get offensive contributions from the defense they will have a great chance to win the hockey game.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Statchuk
Fransoo – Weston
Calverley – Vermeulen

Fountain – McMillen – Heinrich
Bond – Havens – Leonenko
Hall – Saharchuk – Townsend
Mitchell – Kanter – Nachtegaele

Scratches: Delainey, O’Sullivan, Sych

North Stars grab 5 of 6 points down south

The Battlefords North Stars gutted out a 1-0 win in a shootout last night in Estevan to take 2 wins and a shootout loss back to the Battlefords from their southern swing.

The first period last night was not very good for the North Stars. They seemed to be struggling with the puck and there were a few too many turnovers. They looked a little sluggish. All in all it wasn’t very good. They got to the intermission in a tie game thanks to Spencer Tremblay. Making his return to the lineup after missing two games Tremblay was outstanding. Save after save in the first to keep his team in it.

The shots were more even in the second period as was the game but both Tremblay and Tyler Fuhr at the other end of the ice were making every save. The Stars power play which has been so good of late struggled against the SJHL’s bottom penalty killing unit and it was scoreless going to the third.

The Stars PK was tested twice in the first 5 minutes of the third period. And they stood tall. But I do think the guys who kill penalties ended up fatigued later in the period. 3 games in 3 days and OT the night before and then a lot of ice time for key PK guys. I think that meant that later in the period the Stars were hanging on a bit. But Tremblay turned aside 12 shots in the final period and 5 more in OT to help guide the Stars to a shootout.

In the shootout the goalies were again on top. Fuhr and Tremblay stopped each of the first 3 shooters for each team. The Bruins then sent out Keegan Allison, their top scoring forward, and he was stopped by the Stars keeper. Matt Havens then won the game with a slick little fake shot followed by a backhand through the 5-hole of Fuhr.

Both goalies end up with shutouts and for Tremblay that’s his 4th of the season. He came back and helped steal 2 points for his team. With how Ryan Rewerts played the two nights before I am really glad I don’t have to decide which goalie to play every night. That’s a decision best left to the Stars coaching staff. It was also nice to see Havens finish off a very strong weekend with the game winning goal. And to see the Stars win a game with Jake Calverley playing forward plus with Brady O’Sullivan and Reed Delainey out injured.

All in all when you factor in all the adversity and the tough schedule it was a fantastic gutty performance to get 5 of 6 points from the weekend.

SJHL: Game #40 – Battlefords North Stars at Estevan Bruins

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 19-13-6-1

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 – 6:00
  • Puck drop – 5:45
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost last night on Hockey Day in Saskatchewan in Carnduff, 3-2 the final score in a shootout.

The Notre Dame Hounds opened the scoring with a short handed goal scored by Sam Aulie. Aulie was in a lone on a breakaway short handed and was able to beat Ryan Rewerts with a back hand shot along the ice. The Stars responded 1:09 later, on the same power play, when Connor Sych fired home his third of the year and the game was tied. The shots in the first were 12-11 Hounds and the game had a pretty good flow. Good entertainment.

In the second the Hounds took another lead. Carter Hichiki had a good burst up the right wing and powered towards goal. Kobe Kindrachuk came in and banged the puck past Rewerts. Once again the Stars responded within 2 minutes. Matt Havens firing home after being set up in front. A low shot along the ice that beat Thibodeau. Jackson Bond and Nick Fountain were given credit for the assists.

The Stars lost Brady O’Sullivan late in the first and Kendall Fransoo, after a fight, late in the second. So they had a few guys really step up to play extra shifts and take extra ice. Nick Fountain had a good game controlling the wall down low. The Bond, Havens, and Leonenko line was the North Stars best.

There was no scoring in the third as the two teams battled and the two goalies went head to head. Ryan Rewerts made close to 40 saves in the game as he was once again excellent for the North Stars. But the Stars out-chanced the Hounds and feel like they should have won the game with the chances they created. Especially after a power play in overtime that couldn’t convert. The Stars PP is improving but there are still areas to work on including cutting out the short handed chances against. After Aulie’s shorty in the first the Hounds had two short handed break aways in the second period that were stopped by Rewerts.

In the end the Hounds got the only goal of the shootout to get the extra point. The Stars will now look to beat Estevan and claim 5 out of a possible 6 points from this weekend road trip down south.

Storylines:

  • 3 in 3: The Stars wrap up their southern swing tonight. This has typically been a game in Notre Dame but this trip the weekend ends in Estevan. That means the Stars won’t have to cover extra ice like they often to in Notre Dame with their Olympic sized ice. The Stars also have a few healthy bodies they can bring into the game tonight for fresh legs and energy. Generally the goalie has to make a few key saves in this game and the Stars usually find a way to dig deep and gut out a great effort. That will likely be the case again tonight.
  • Playoff Rematch: These two teams went head to head last year in the post-season. The Stars won that series in 5 games. So far this season each team has a win with the Stars grabbing a 9-2 victory in the first meeting and the Bruins taking a 5-4 win in OT last time the North Stars were in Estevan. I don’t remember a lot of bad blood from earlier meetings despite the playoff history. There hasn’t been a major penalty called in the two games between these two teams so far this season.
  • Special: I don’t want to keep harping on the special teams but tonight’s match up is very interesting. The Stars improving power play goes up against the SJHL’s worst penalty kill. The Bruins are at just 75.4 percent efficiency when it comes to killing penalties. They do have 4 shorthanded goals for as well. This matchup between the Stars PP and the Bruins PK could be fascinating to watch in tonight’s game.
  • Goalies: Rewerts has been excellent this weekend. But he has played back to back games. Will he have the energy for 3 in 3? Is Spencer Tremblay healthy and ready to go tonight? Will Taryn Kotchorek get his first ever Junior start? The North Stars are spoiled for choice when it comes to quality goaltenders. It will be interesting to find out which one gets the start this evening.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Alexei Thibodeau 2) Matt Havens 1) Ryan Rewerts
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Jake McMillen
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords 4 @ Estevan 5 (OT) (Nov 21 2014)
    Estevan 2 @ Battlefords 9 (Oct 18 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: No other games

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Finish – The North Stars had chances last night. Nick Fountain on a 2-on-1 with Townsend. Heinrich in front set up by McMillen. Jake Erickson alone in the slot. There were chances to score that the Stars didn’t capitalize on. They have the ability to create shots and create goals and once they start to finish those chances and a high rate of efficiency they will win a lot of games.

2) Limit Allison – The Bruins have scored the least number of goals so far this season in the SJHL. But Keegan Allison is close to a point a game with 30 points in 34 games. The Stars can key on Allison and if they shut him down the Bruins could have a tough time generating offense.

3) Control – There have been a few games the last few years between the Stars and Bruins that have had some interesting twists and turns. There’s just something about games here in Estevan as well. Something strange often happens. So the North Stars will have to remain in control at all times. Of their game and their emotions.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Statchuk
Fransoo – Sych
Vermeulen – Weston

Saharchuk – Hall – Townsend
Fountain – McMillen – Heinrich
Bond – Havens – Leonenko
Calverley – Kanter – Nachtegaele

Scratches: Delainey, O’Sullivan, Mitchell, Kotchorek (AP)

SJHL Game #39 – Battlefords North Stars at Notre Dame Hounds – Carnduff

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 19-13-6-0

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 Weyburn last night thanks in part to three of the nicest goals they’ve scored all year. The first period was probably slightly in favour of the Wings but Ryan Rewerts was excellent making 10 saves. Twice he was able to make back to back pad saves stopping the first shot and the rebound. Those two double saves really stood out in that opening frame.

In the second the Stars got on the board. On the power play. Which earlier in the season would have seemed amazing. Now? It seems normal for this good and getting better Stars power play. Matt Havens off the bench took a feed from Connor Sych and then relayed the puck rink wide to Jake Erickson who was sneaking in off the point. Jake reached to settle the puck and then went back door to Jake McMillen for a tap in.

The Stars then found themselves behind. The Wings score a little over a minute later to tie the game on a jam play at the side of the net. Midway through the second period Matt Eng was in the slot all alone and a bouncing puck ricocheted right to him. He spun and fired a rolling puck over the shoulder of Rewerts to make it 201. The Stars responded almost right away. Jordan Townsend fired a great pass to spring Igor Leonenko and he was away. Igor went with a Datsyukian style goal. cutting across the goalie and then sliding the puck home with his stick trailing behind him. One handed, back hand and as slick as it gets. That made it 2-2 heading to the third.

The previous two games between the Stars and Wings finished 3-2 and I did wonder if this game would end that way as well. Jackson Bond was into it with Jeremy Lagler at the end of the second period and it looked like Lagler wanted to go as they came out of the penalty boxes early in the third. Bond chose to play hockey instead and set up the game winner. He and Havens did a bit of a criss-cross as they entered Weyburn ice. Bond fired to Leonenko on the right wing allowing Igor to power around the D, cut right out front and with hardly a flick of the wrist the puck was roofed over the glove of Jack Burgart. Rewerts stood tall all night and ended up making 29 saves to make those 3 goals standup for the win.

Bond had a late chance to set up Matt Saharchuk for an empty netter but didn’t see his teammate and went for goal himself. He hit the post. The Stars then iced the puck and the Wings, with their net empty, had a late faceoff in Stars ice. But the Stars scrambled the puck away to win.

Brenden Heinrich celebrated from the stands as he was ejected for fighting along with Lagler. Heinrich was able to win the fight and maybe spark his team to victory. Igor’s game winner came less than 2 minutes after the fight.

A late high sticking call went against Brock Weston. The Wings have the SJHL’s top power play. But the Stars PK was in charge all night and that late Wings PP effort was repelled thanks in part to a couple of key saves from Rewerts.

The North Stars PK won their battle, the PP won theirs and the Stars won the hockey game.

Storylines:

  • Hockey Day: This is Hockey Day in Saskatchewan and tonight’s game between the Stars caps off an exciting day of action at the Carnduff arena. There will be/has been a Midget AAA Female and a Midget AAA Male game prior to the Stars taking on the Hounds. Plus some Peewee and Atom action as well. This community is really embracing this day and these teams. And Jake McMillen. He’s a local. Raised in Carrievale which is 12 KMs down highway 18 Jake went to school and played hockey here. His jersey was auctioned off yesterday and went for 7,000 dollars. Just slightly less than the money spent on a Dave ‘Tiger’ Williams jersey. The players have to focus on trying to win the hockey game and get the two points which are important in the standings. As a broadcaster I get to take in a little more of the overall experience and let me tell you it has been an excellent experience already. There will be a dinner for the players after the game tonight and I might slip down to the Cabaret later on to take in the whole day. As part of the day a few of the North Stars and coaches Hasselberg and Johnson were on the ice today with local Carnduff minor hockey players putting on a clinic. The smiles on those kids faces. Priceless.

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  • Divisional Game: The North Stars aren’t going to catch Kindersley for first in the Kramer. And catching Notre Dame for second will be tough. They are 7 points back with the same number of games played. But they face Notre Dame 4 more times head to head. And the Hounds have 6 games left against top teams (Kindersley, Melfort, Nipawin and Flin Flon). So they’ve got a tough schedule. It’s an uphill climb but if the Stars win tonight? 5 points back with 17 games left? It’s a big game in the standings. There’s also Flin Flon and Nipawin to worry about as the Stars try to avoid a Survivor Series.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Matt Havens 2) Ryan Rewerts 1) Igor Leonenko
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Brenden Heinrich
  • Head to Head: Battlefords 1 @ Notre Dame 0 (Nov 23 2014) Notre Dame 3 @ Battlefords 1 (Nov 1 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: La Ronge at Nipawin, Humboldt at Melfort, Flin Flon at Kindersley

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Settle – Tonight’s game is being played in a rink that neither team will be familiar with and in these neutral sight games the team that settles in quickest can have an advantage. The glass is low. The roof is low. The ice surface may be a little smaller. It’s a little like La Ronge here in Carnduff, although I would argue a much nicer rink here, and the style of game will reflect a La Ronge type game. The ice is reportedly hard and quick but there will also likely be a lot of whistles. Lots to get used to and whichever team adjusts first should get off to a great start.

2) Close – The North Stars are 15-4-6 in games decided by a single goal. So keep it close and the Stars have a great chance to win. The Hounds play a style that would be on the defensive side of the spectrum and tonight’s game in Carnduff may have a bit slower pace due to whistles. The Stars can’t afford to get frustrated and they need to know that if the game is close they are a team with the experience in those games that should allow them to pull out the win.

3) Embrace the day – It has already been an incredible day for the Stars and seeing them out on the ice with the young local Carnduff minor hockey players this morning was special. Those young players had massive smiles on their faces as they got to skate with the North Stars and learn from them. For me, that has already made this day worthwhile. Embrace the specialness of the day, the excitement of the crowd and have a good time.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Kotchorek

Statchuk – Erickson
Fransoo – Sych
Weston – Vermeulen

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

Scratches: Tremblay, Calverley, Nachtegaele, Hall

SJHL Game #38 – Battlefords North Stars at Weyburn Red Wings

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 18-13-6-0

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 at home to Humboldt. The recap is here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/stars-fall-on-home-ice/

Storylines:

  • Trouble in Weyburn: The president of the Weyburn Red Wings went to the press yesterday to discuss the team’s financial troubles. You can read more at Discover Weyburn (www.discoverweyburn.com). The Red Wings are as much as 180,000 dollars in debt and the team may be forced to fold after this season. That would be terrible as the Wings are a founding member of the SJHL and have been around for over 50 years. Hopefully the team and the community of Weyburn can rally together to save the team. My first year with the North Stars the team had a great year, a couple rounds of playoffs and cost cutting measures worked. The team went from in the red to in the black. And it was a significant swing. The Stars went from just under 70 thousand dollars in the whole to over 37 thousand dollars in the black.  It can be done and with the help of the community there is a chance that Weyburn can save the Wings.
  • Kid in the Hall: The North Stars have added Bryce Hall to the roster and he will be a North Star for the rest of the season. The young forward almost made the team out of training camp. Hall was leading the Swift Current Leagionaires in scoring this season. But Swift is not a very good team in the SMAAAHL and will not be making the playoffs. I think bringing Hall up now makes a lot of sense. He will get to know the SJHL as a 17 year old. He’ll learn and develop under a really quality coaching staff and from some pretty good players. And he’s a talented offensive player who will be at his best when he has really good players surrounding him. His older brother Kyle played for the Stars and is now doing very well in NCAA Div 3 for SUNY Plattsburgh. And it’s nice having the Hall family back in the North Stars fold full time.
  • Southern Sun: The North Stars depart for 3 games in 3 days including a Hockey Day in Saskatchewan game on Saturday against the Notre Dame Hounds. It starts tonight in Weyburn. This is always a trip that helps to bring a team together and they learn a lot about themselves and their team mates over the course of the three games.
  • Goalies: Spencer Tremblay left Tuesday’s game versus Humboldt after the first period. I am not sure on his status just yet. But if he isn’t able to go then the Stars will have to rely to Ryan Rewerts in net. Nothing wrong with that though as the rookie tender has been solid whenever he’s been called upon this season. 3 in 3 can be tough and a young goalie may not be used to that busy of a schedule. But the Stars have been through/are going through plenty of adversity. It’s just a test that they will work through and be better for when they come out the other side.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Brady O’Sullivan 2) Matthew Kenney 1) Reed Delainey
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Igor Leonenko
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords 1 – Weyburn 0 (SO) (Nov 14 2014)
    Battlefords 3 – Weyburn 2 (Nov 16 2014)
    Weyburn 3 – Battlefords 2 (Nov 22 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Nipawin at La Ronge, Melfort at Humboldt, Flin Flon at Kindersley, Estevan at Melville

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Work – This will be a difficult game for the Stars as the Red Wings are a better team than their record indicates. They got off to a terrible start but have a legitimate shot at winning their division. They may be the hardest working team in the SJHL and they’ve added just enough skill to be very dangerous. The Stars simply have to outwork the Wings for a full 60.

2) PPG – The Wings have allowed 18 power play goals against in 18 home games this season. Their home PK is 10th in the league out of 12 teams. The Stars powerplay, shorthanded goals aside, has looked great of late. Braeden Johnson has done a fantastic job with that unit and that’s an area the Stars can look to exploit tonight.

3) Fun – It has been such a tough stretch for the North Stars. They haven’t been winning as much as they would like. There has been adversity, a trade of their captain, injuries, illness and more. Maybe now is a good time to get out on the road, relax a little and just get back to basics. And hopefully have fun. Earlier in the year it seemed like the Stars were a pretty easy going group that was just having a good time and they were winning. Maybe that’s just my memory playing tricks on me but I don’t see any reason why the Stars can’t have a good time and that good time, fun hockey leading to wins.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Kotchorek

Erickson – Statchuk
Weston – Vermeulen
Sych – Fransoo

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

Scratches: Hall, Calverley, Nachtegaele, Tremblay