SJHL Playoffs Game #3 – Battlefords North Stars at Estevan Bruins

Best of 5 Wildcard Series – Series tied 1-1

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

Last game recap: – The North Stars took game 2 on home ice to even the series at a game a piece. The recap is here: https://northstarsbeacon.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/north-stars-even-series/

Storylines:

  • Players of the Week: The SJHL Player of the week awards were handed out this morning. The North Stars picked up three awards. Nick Fountain was named Player of the Week, Connor Sych the Defenseman of the Week, and Bryce Hall Rookie of the Week. Thanks in part to the strong play of those three the North Stars beat Kindersley and picked up a win in game 2 over Estevan. Congratulations to all three and let’s hope there are plenty more awards to come.
  • Game 3: I couldn’t find data on the importance of winning a game 3 in a 5 game series but I think it’s pretty clear that tonight’s game is huge. I did find a paper that concluded that the team with fewer home games in a series winning an important game at home early in that series drastically increases their chances of winning the series. Now it’s a best of 5 and game 3 isn’t really early in the series but it is the Bruins first home game. At the end of the day, the Bruins want to try and win this series at home. To do that they must win tonight. A North Stars win at least guarantees a home ice game 5 if necessary. And you play all season to try and have those big games played on your ice surface in front of your fans. All of this is simply to say that game 3 is a massive game. But I think we all already knew that.
  • Road: The North Stars were the second best road team in the SJHL in the regular season. Their 17 road wins were second only to Melfort. Some of their notable road wins include beating Melfort, Notre Dame, Flin Flon, and Kindersley a couple times on their home ice. The Stars also won in Estevan this season. So they will be comfortable that their game, their preparation and their structure can and does succeed away from home.
  • Affiliates: The North Stars are still without Jake Erickson and Brady O’Sullivan. There are a couple other guys who are banged up and may not be able to go tonight. So there are a handful of affiliate players on the trip with the Stars and they made need to play important minutes in a playoff game. The North Stars will be confident though as these ‘AP’ players have come up a few times this year and shown that they can play at this level and aren’t intimidated. If called upon? They will perform.
  • Travel: The Estevan Bruins came to the Battlefords and won game 1. And now the North Stars make the almost 700km trip to Estevan on the day of a game. Earlier this season the Stars made the same trip and won. The key? Getting rest as much as possible on the bus, getting mentally ready on the way to the rink and then having a good pregame including a strong warmup.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Baxter Kanter 2) Nick Fountain 1) Spencer Tremblay
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Baxter Kanter
  • Regular Season 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 #4 – Mar. 10th Estevan – 7:30pm @ Affinity Place
    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) Transition – My memory of games against the Bruins here in Estevan from the past few seasons are of Estevan being very aggressive with their transition and with their break out. Pushing bodies up ice and making very long passes to generate offense. That is something the North Stars will have to be ready to counteract.

2) Discipline – This series really started to heat up in game 2. And I do think that suits the North Stars just fine. They seem to really enjoy playing in that heat. But they also have to be smart. The fine line is to get your opponent off of their game while staying on yours. Play with emotion but don’t let emotions play you. The Bruins have a very god power play as well so that’s another good reason for the Stars to maintain that discipline. .

3) Tremblay – The Stars goalie has been great so far this series and that is going to need to continue. The Stars are missing some offensive weapons and have struggled to score so far in this series. But for the better part of 2 games Tremblay has been unbeatable. He’s actually given up more goals than his play has suggested he would. He was unlucky to give up a goal in game 2. And didn’t deserve to lost game 1. He’s going to be a huge key over the next few days and especially tonight.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

Statchuk – Spagrud ‘AP’
Sych – Fransoo
Calvery – Kleiboer ‘AP’

Fountain – Saharchuk – Vermeulen
Kanter – Mitchell – Nachtegaele
Heinrich – McMillen – Hall
Leonenko – Townsend – Bendall ‘AP’

Scratches: Erickson, O’Sullivan, Delainey, Havens, Weston

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