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)

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