SJHL Game #47 – Battlefords North Stars at Nipawin Hawks

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 23-16-6-1

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 beat La Ronge 4-2 on Saturday. A recap is here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/north-stars-top-ice-wolves-4-2/

Storylines:

  • Health: We can’t have a blog post about tonight’s game without talking about the health of the North Stars. This season has been a bit of a nightmare with injuries. It started early in preseason when Jake McMillen was banged up. Igor Leonenko and Brock Weston have missed substantial time this season. Now guys like O’Sullivan, Delainey, Saharchuk and Bond are banged up. Jake McMillen didn’t finish the game on Saturday. Not many teams could survive losing all of their top 3 scorers as well as an in game loss of another offensive talent and still win games. The Stars did just that on Saturday. Are they healthier tonight? Will they have an AP in the lineup? Time will tell.
  • Dominance: Over the last 25 meetings between the two teams the North Stars are a pretty outstanding 15-8-0-2 versus Nipawin. That’s a pretty fantastic record considering the Hawks are always a strong team under Doug Johnson’s leadership. The Stars are 7-3-0-2 in Nipawin over that span as well. So it’s a building they won’t mind playing in even though it’s never an easy place to go and the Hawks have a very strong team this season. The Hawks have already won this season’s series with 5 points. The Stars with a win would ensure each team had 2 victories head to head this season.
  • Defense: The North Stars have allowed 7 goals in 3 games versus the Hawks this season. Which would normally be a pretty good total. Allowing just a little over 2 goals a game gives you a great chance to win. But the Stars have scored just 4 times in those 3 games. Joe O’Brien has stopped 96 percent of the shots he’s seen in head to head games this season and has a 1.32 goals against average versus the Stars. In 2 appearances, one start and one relief appearance, Spencer Tremblay has stopped 98 percent of the Nipawin shots and allowed just 1 goal for a 0.54 goals against average.
  • Rolling: The Hawks have won 3 straight. Victories over the North Stars, the Flin Flon Bombers and the Melfort Mustangs. That’s an impressive little run that shows just how strong this team is at the moment. They are strong at both ends of the ice and I think Nipawin will be a very tough team to knock out of the playoffs. Especially if Joe O’Brien is in top form. Tonight is the final game of a 3 game home stand for the Hawks who are looking to go 3 for 3. And they are now in 4th in the league standings and 1 point ahead of Notre Dame and Flin Flon for that spot. All these games down the stretch are huge for these teams.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Spencer Tremblay 2) Brenden Heinrich 1) Otto Mitchell
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Brock Weston
  • Head to Head:
    Nipawin 4 @ Battlefords 2 (Jan 24 2015)
    Nipawin 0 @ Battlefords 1 (OT) (Oct 17 2014)
    Battlefords 1 @ Nipawin 3 (Oct 10 2014)
    Out of Town Scoreboard:
    Humboldt at Kindersley, Estevan at Yorkton

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Defense – The Hawks don’t have a D man with more than 2 goals. Their top point getter from the back end is on 17 points. They don’t have a ton of offense from their defense. The Hawks have 6 guys in double figures in goals. A dominant top line and a good second line. That’s where the offense comes from. That top line was great against the Stars the other night. So they need to be stopped. The Stars defense will have to be strong tonight especially when Dunlop and Spriggs are on the ice.

2) Special Teams – The Stars are missing some key guys out of their lineup and especially on offense. That means that when they gets chances to score on the power play they need to take advantage. The Hawks PK is an area that appears as though it can be exploited. But Nipawin had 3 power play goals against the Stars in their last meeting. So the Stars PK will have to be strong tonight.

3) Energy Line – Kanter, Mitchell and Nachtegaele were outstanding on Saturday against La Ronge. That line has been good for a few games in a row now. They got a lot more ice than they are used to with the Stars down to 9 forward for half the game against the Ice Wolves and they did look a little tired late in the game. They will have to be good again tonight and help set a tone for the Stars.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Erickson – Statchuk
Fransoo – Sych
Vermeulen – Weston

Fountain – McMillen – Heinrich
Nachtegaele – Kanter – Mitchell
Townsend – Havens – Leonenko
Bendall – Hall – O’Sullivan

Scratches: Calverley (susp), Delainey (inj), Saharchuk (inj), Bond (inj)

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