SJHL Game #51 – Battlefords North Stars at Weyburn Red Wings

North Stars 2014-15 Record: 24-19-6-1

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 – 2:45
  • Puck drop – 3:00
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars lost 4-2 to Notre Dame on Thursday night at the Civic Center. The Stars fell behind 4-0 in the first period and were never able to recover.

The Hounds opened the scoring on a 2-on-1 rush. Ian Williams sent the puck across to Sam Aulie and the Hounds forward blasted home a one-timer past Ryan Rewerts. It was still 1-0 thanks to a great save from Rewerts when he went post to post to stop Jared Martin. The Stars had a chance to tie as Matt Havens set up Igor Leonenko in front but Leonenko’s shot fluttered wide.

The Hounds made it 2-0 about 30 seconds later. Martin able to set up Cummings who showed good patience to deke around Rewerts using a team mate as a decoy and sliding the puck home. It was 3-0 later in the frame as Devin Gerun was able to steal a loose puck that bounced past the North Stars D at the Hounds blueline. From about the red line Gerun was in alone on a breakaway and he beat Rewerts through the 5-hole.

The Stars made the goalie switch at that point although I don’t think Rewerts had much blame attached to him for the score. Spencer Tremblay came into the game in relief and was excellent. He was beaten just once on 27 shots.

The Stars almost made it 3-1 but Bryce Hall was robbed by Alexei Thibodeau when Hall was all alone in front. The Hounds 4th goal, and Aulie’s second of the game, appeared to be kicked in. But the ref signalled that the goal counted.

The Hounds played well in the second period and could have added to their lead. But Tremblay was outstanding to keep the score 4-0. In the third the North Stars made a game of it. Matt Havens was the Stars best player Thursday and he hit the scoresheet when he set up Igor Leonenko to make it 4-1. 2:02 later and the Stars were within 2.

It looked like Michael Statchuk poked home a loose puck in the slot area but Nick Fountain was given credit. After the Stars were within 2 goals they had 2 power play but the Hounds regrouped and had a couple good penalty kills and then they were able to see out the game for the victory.

Storylines:

  • Schedule: The North Stars are coming off a very busy portion for their schedule. From January 15th until February 7th the North Stars played 12 games in a 25 day span. And for a large chunk of those games they were without key players due to injury and suspension. It’s not an excuse at all but you do wonder if some guys have been forced into roles they aren’t familiar with and into extra ice time that has led to some fatigue. With just one game last week let’s hope the North Stars are recharged and ready to go down the final stretch of the season. After tomorrow night’s game in Notre Dame the Stars have a 9 day stretch with just one game. This is a part of the schedule just before playoffs that the North Stars can really benefit from.
  • Return: The North Stars will get one player back in the lineup this afternoon for sure. Jake Calverley’s harsh 4 game suspension is over and he is set to return to the lineup. I am not sure of the status of Matt Saharchuk or Reed Delainey but I would imagine the two forwards, and the Stars top two scorers, are getting closer to a return. can you imagine having a health scratch or two? It’s been so long for the North Stars that’s it tough to remember what that’s like. A fully healthy lineup, if they get to that point this season, will give the North Stars a chance to rest guys who need it. It will let them chose a lineup based on who is playing well and the opponent being faced.
  • Standings: The La Ronge Ice Wolves look like they will be putting a little pressure on Estevan for the final playoff spot. Weyburn could be sucked into that battle as well. They have won 2 straight though and look pretty comfortable for a Survivor Series berth at this point. There is a chance that this could be a matchup in a Survivor Series as the North Stars still hold down the 7th seed.
  • Afternoon start: Today is Family Day here in Saskatchewan so the Stars are playing the Wings at 3 this afternoon. A holiday Monday afternoon start? This is the first time I have experienced a game like this in the SJHL. So it will be a bit different. The bus left the Battlefords early this morning and the guys will have to be ready to go a few hours earlier than they are used to. Luckily, it’s the same for both teams, the preparations should be the same just pushed up earlier in the day and it will give the Stars a little extra rest before tomorrow night’s game versus Notre Dame.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Matt Havens 2) Spencer Tremblay 1) Sam Aulie
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Brenden Heinrich
  • Head to Head:
    Battlefords 3 @ Weyburn 2 (Jan 16 2015)
    Battlefords 2 @ Weyburn 3 (Nov 22 2014)
    Weyburn 2 @ Battlefords 3 (Nov 16 2014)
    Weyburn 0 @ Battlefords 1 (SO) (Nov 14 2014)
  • Last 5 Years Head to Head:
    Weyburn – 5-10-0-5
    Battlefords – 15-5-0-0
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: No other games tonight
  • North Stars Upcoming Schedule:
    Feb. 17 at Notre Dame – 8:00 pm @ Duncan McNeil Arena
    Feb. 20 Melfort – 7:30pm @ Civic Center
    Feb. 27 Weyburn – 7:30pm @ Civic Center
    (The Ultra Print pregame show begins 15 minutes prior to each game)

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) First Goal – The North Stars have had a little trouble this season when they give up the first goal of the game. Especially lately when they’ve had some decent first periods only to find themselves behind. I think it’s a key for the North Stars to get a lead early and play with a lead for a while today.

2) 4 lines – The North Stars are still going to be short a few forwards with Delainey and Saharchuk still out but if everyone else is ready to go with Jake Calverley returning from injury then they can once again roll all 4 lines without having to double shift anyone or create lines. Last game Connor Vermeulen was playing forward for a while as the Stars went with 5 D. If they are able to have 18 skaters and use them all then the North Stars will be more fresh come the third period. The Wings are a hard working team and so the Stars will need to be energetic in that final 20 minutes.

3) Saves – The North Stars lately have had their backup come into the game and make a lot of saves. Rewerts in La Ronge and then Tremblay on Thursday were able to give the Stars at least a chance to make the game close and get the goalie pulled late to make it interesting. But they need some saves early from whoever gets the start. Yes, the team must be better in front of their goalie and that needs to happen right from puck drop. But the Stars also need their goalies to be on top of their game as they are capable of being two of the top guys in the league when they are rolling.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Statchuk – Weston
Fransoo – Sych
Erickson – Spagrud ‘AP’

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

Scratches: Vermeulen, Saharchuk, Delainey

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