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:
  • Ultra Print Pregame Show – 7:00
  • Puck drop – 7:00

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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  • 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:
  • 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:
  • 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:


Erickson – Statchuk
Sych – Fransoo
Weston – Vermeulen

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

Scratches: Delainey, O’Sullivan, Bond

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