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

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