SJHL Game #50 – Notre Dame Hounds at Battlefords North Stars

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 24-18-6-1

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 La Ronge Ice Wolves beat the North Stars 4-3 on Saturday night. Here is my recap: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/north-stars-fall-4-3-in-la-ronge/

Storylines:

  • Tonight’s Game: From http://www.northstars.caThere will be a volunteer appreciation award presented prior to the game, a raffle set up in the lobby and a puck toss in the second intermission. Milbanke Flowers will have a Valentine’s Day prize package available for one lucky program purchaser and with February being Heart and Stroke Month, there will be a table set up in the lobby for donations and to provide information as well. The Battlefords Initiation Predators will be playing during the first intermission.
  • Standings: The North Stars are going to be in the playoffs. They will almost certainly now end up in a survivor series. In that series they will have home ice advantage. And we likely won’t know who they will face as that will all shake out over the final few games. At this point I think we can kind of put the standings and the playoffs on the back burner. As coach Hasselberg said on the post game show in La Ronge, the Stars aren’t worried about where they finish in the standings. They are simply looking to be at their best when the playoffs start.
  • Identity: I’ve been thinking about it for a few days now and I do wonder if this team is still searching for it’s identity. What kind of team are the North Stars? We know they can be very good in their own end when they are on their game. Their special teams can be a difference maker. They have offensive creativity. They have some guys who work their tail off and can impact the game in different ways. But as a cohesive whole I am still not sure this team knows exactly what it is and what it is they want to be.
  • Consistency: Part of the issue with not having found a strong identity may be that the team is still struggling to be consistent. Whether that’s game to game or within the games themselves. They can look like a top team in the league one minute and struggle mightily the next. Not for the first time I would suggest that if this team can find it’s game for consistent 60 minutes and do that game in and game out they are still capable of being a top team in the SJHL.
  • Health: Not an excuse in any way as the North Stars know, and have shown, they are capable of winning games without some key guys in the lineup. And we saw what they could do in that third period in La Ronge when they looked fantastic. But it will be nice to see the North Stars starting to get healthy again. Hopefully they get back to being close to full strength here soon. It would be ideal to get everyone back and into game shape before heading into the playoffs. Jake Calverley has one game left on his suspension before he is able to return to the lineup.
  • Ice Fishing Derby: The North Stars annual Ice Fishing Derby is this weekend. That’s the reason the Stars only have one game this week. This break comes at a pretty good time as the Stars look to get some key pieces back into the lineup. The North Stars will spend a fun weekend, and a hard working weekend, out on the ice at the lake. The Ice Fishing Derby brings in a lot of money for the hockey team and is always a great event. Let’s hope they get to give away lots of prizes again this year.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Baxter Kanter 2) Bryce Hall 1) Kris Joyce
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: 
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords 2 @ Notre Dame 3 (SO) (Jan 17 2015)
    Battlefords 1 @ Notre Dame 0 (Nov 23 2014)
    Notre Dame 3 @ Battlefords 1 (Nov 1 2014)
  • Last 5 Years Head to Head:
    Battlefords 16-4-0-1
    Notre Dame 5-10-2-4
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: No other games tonight
  • North Stars Upcoming Schedule:
    Feb. 16 at Weyburn – 3:00 pm @ Crescent Point Place
    Feb. 17 at Notre Dame – 8:00 pm @ Duncan McNeil Arena
    Feb. 20 Melfort – 7:30pm @ Civic Center
    (The Ultra Print pregame show begins 15 minutes prior to each game)

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Special Teams – The Hounds, for one of the best teams in the league, aren’t great on the power play and are middle of the pack on the PK. This could be an area where the Stars can take advantage. I know I’ve been talking about this a lot. But again you look at the Hounds and where they could be vulnerable and the PK and PP for the Stars can decide tonight’s game.

2) Net – The North Stars have to get to the net and stay in front. Alexei Thibodeau is the reigning SJHL goaltender of the week. He’s been incredible this season stopping 92 percent of the shots he has faced. He’s third in the league in goals against average. If he sees it then he will stop it.

3) Home – The North Stars have been up and down at home this season. But the Hounds have been struggling on the road of late having a 4-4-0-1 record on the road in their last 9 games away from Wilcox. The Stars have to embrace having home ice advantage as they will have to win games like this at home to have a long playoff run. It’s time to start enjoying playing at home and protecting that home ice.

North Stars Lineup:

Rewerts
Tremblay

Erickson – Statchuk
Sych – Fransoo
Weston – Vermeulen

McMillen – Heinrich – Townsend
Hall – Hvens – Leonenko
Fountain – O’Sullivan – Mitchell
Kanter – Weston

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

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