SJHL Playoffs Game #1 – Estevan Bruins at Battlefords North Stars

Best of 5 Wildcard Series – Game 1

North Stars 2014-15 Regular Season Record: 28-20-6-2

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 – 7:30pm
  • Puck drop – 7:15pm
  • Twitter.com/NorthStarsVoice

Last game recap: – The North Stars beat Kindersley in a shootout. The recap is here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/stars-beat-klippers-to-wrap-up-regular-season/

Storylines:

  • Tonight’s Festivities: From NorthStars.ca – “Friday at the Civic Centre will be Kinsmen Telemiracle night at the Civic Centre, as their will be a donation table set up. Donations collected will be added to the total raised by Reed Delainey with this year’s Miracle Mission. For every point Delainey scored this season $10 from CJV Carpet, $10 from L & M Wood Residue and $10 from P & E Logging will be donated to Telemiracle.”
  • Crowd: Playoff hockey at the Civic Center. It’s amazing. The fans really come out to support the team and make a lot of noise. The Stars last year were getting crowds of 1,300-1,400 people. My first year when they faced Humboldt in the North Final there were crowds of well over 2,000. I hope that a lot of people will turn up this weekend. Playoffs can be make or break for a Junior A hockey program and a time to make some money that will help the team in years to come. I know it’s a Wildcard round and that might not draw as many people but it’s a Friday night, the weather is getting nice, there isn’t much else going on tonight in town and so….why not check out what should be a great game?
  • Home Ice: It wasn’t much of an advantage at times this season for the North Stars. But that part of the season is over. This is essentially a whole new season. And what happened in the regular season? It doesn’t really matter at this point. It tells us who gets home ice and that’s about it. Once the puck drop’s tonight and the game is underway all that matters is tonight. The North Stars have always been strong away from the Civic Center. If they get off to a good start at home tonight they could be a team no one wants to face in the post-season.
  • Rematch: These two teams met in the post-season last year with the North Stars winning the best of 7 series in 5 games. The Bruins had won a Wildcard series versus Flin Flon to get to the series versus the Stars. So this is the second straight year these teams will go head to head and the second straight year the Bruins are in the wildcard series. There are just 7 players on the North Stars roster who were involved in that playoff series last year.
  • Health: The North Stars have been banged up all year long and that trend continues into the post-season. They really could have used some time off before getting the playoffs started. But they don’t get that luxury. There are a few guys who should return to the lineup tonight. But there are also a few who could miss out as well. What can you do though? Get the guys on the ice that are ready to play and go to battle with those guys. There’s no reason this team can’t compete with any team in the league even if they have to call up an affiliate or two. They’ve shown that all season. Hopefully at some point though we see a full strength lineup as I would love to see what they could do.
  • Special Teams: The Estevan Bruins had a very good power play in the regular season. Their PK struggled. The Stars power play was near the bottom of the league and their PK was in the top 3. So it will be an interesting battle. A good penalty kill taking on a good power play and a penalty kill that struggled at times against a power play that struggled at times. The Stars PP was better in the second half of the season though and could be a big key for the team. Generally in the playoffs you get less chances on the power play so those chances become even more crucial. The team that capitalizes on those opportunities has a great chance to win a series.
  • OT: The North Stars went to overtime more than any other team in the regular season. They went to OT or beyond with Estevan twice. Don’t be surprised if there is extra hockey played in this series.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Nick Fountain 2) Igor Leonenko 1) Jake McMillen
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Baxter Kanter
  • Head to Head:
    Estevan 3 @ Battlefords 6 (Jan 23 2015)
    Battlefords 1 @ Estevan 0 (SO) (Jan 18 2015)
    Battlefords 4 @ Estevan 5 (OT) (Nov 21 2014)
    Estevan 2 @ Battlefords 9 (Oct 18 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Weyburn at Humboldt
  • North Stars Upcoming Playoffs Schedule:
    Game #2 – Mar. 7th Estevan – 7:30pm @ Civic Center
    Game #3 – Mar. 9th Estevan – 7:30pm @ Affinity Place
    Game #4 – Mar. 10th Estevan – 7:30pm @ Affinity Place (if necessary)
    Game #5 – Mar. 12th Estevan – 7:30pm @ Civic Center (if necessary)
    (The Ultra Print pregame show begins 15 minutes prior to each game)

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Impose – The Bruins style of play is quite a bit different from the North Stars style. It’s important that the North Stars impose their style of game on the Bruins and don’t get caught up in playing a more wide open run and gun style game.

2) Hit – The Stars aren’t the biggest team in the league but they can hit. Kanter’s line will be a big key. Leonenko being physical will go a long way. Brenden Heinrich can crush guys. The Stars have shown in the past that they can wear teams down in the post-season. As coach Atcheynum used to say, hits thrown in game 1 are like deposits in the bank that you can cash in on later in the series.

3) Finish – The Stars lately have been finishing their chances at a pretty high rate. They have guys going into the post-season with confidence who are playing well and scoring. There’s no reason that can’t continue. The key is when you get a chance that you finish that chance. In the playoffs that’s even more important because chances tend to be fewer and farther between.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Statchuk – Weston
Fransoo – Sych
Calverley – Vermeulen

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

Scratches: Erickson, O’Sullivan

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