SJHL – Quarterfinals Game #3 – Battlefords North Stars at Kindersley Klippers

Best of 7 Quarter-final Series – Kindersley Leads Series 2-0

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 lost a heartbreaker in game 2 as Darcy DeRoose scored in double OT to lift the Klippers to a 3-2 win and a 2-0 series lead.

The North Stars played a very good game in game 2 and had a decent start with a chance for Leonenko that was stopped by Evan Weninger and then Michael Statchuk threw a big hit on Marc Dubeau. Moments later it was 1-0 Klippers. Owen LaClare crossed the blue line and ripped a wrist shot past Spencer Tremblay. Connor Vermeulen was stopped as he walked off the wall with a good shot and then Dubeau hit the post at the other end.

‘AP’ defenseman Levi Kleiboer made a nice play in the first to block a pass from Owen LaClare. Nick Fountain got a body check on Shaun MacPherson and got the puck out front. The puck was jammed at before squirting to Jake McMillen. He went to his forehand and roofed the puck to tie the game at 1.

It was 2-1 about two and half minutes later. A shot looked to have deflected off Connor Sych, off the post and in. Devin Case was given credit for the goal.

Matt Saharchuk had a nice chance walking in towards the slot but couldn’t beat Weninger. During 4-on-4 play the Klippers had a double chance that was stopped by Tremblay. First DeRoose was stopped and then the rebound was repelled as well. At the other end Brenden Heinrich’s shot was spit out but Jake McMillen couldn’t control the rebound.

In the second Kleiboer had a shot stopped and Saharchuk’s rebound shot was blocked. Kendall Fransoo hit Carlos Grouchy hard before Saharchuk had a chance to tie. He took the puck to the net and then spun to his forehand as he powered across the crease. His spinning move led to a shot that Weninger stopped. Nick Fountain had a partial chance but didn’t have much speed on a partial breakaway and couldn’t finish. MacPherson and Kanter then caught knees and the Klipper’s captain was down. He was also assessed a kneeing penalty which was served by someone else as MacPherson was helped off the ice.

The Stars power play struggled in the game and Michael Statchuk’s one-timer went wide. The Stars couldn’t convert on a 5-on-3 and it was still 2-1. Weninger made a good stretching pad save on a Brock Weston one-timer as well.

Fountain tied the game late in the second. On a beauty move he faked a wrap around attempt and then from the side of the net cut towards the goal, dragged the puck low and around Weninger’s pad before firing home from the side of the goal.

In the third there was no scoring but that doesn’t mean it was boring. The Saharchuk line had chances but Leonenko fired high. Heinrich had a backhand shot on a power play go just wide. Fountain found Saharchuk who was hooked on his way to the net. The Stars had 5-on-3 for 33 seconds but couldn’t score. Saharchuk’s deflection was stopped by Weninger on a Weston point shot. Townsend went tic-tac-toe with Saharchuk to McMillen but he couldn’t get a shot off on the door step.

Fransoo then made a nice play to out-wait a shot blocker who went down to the ice. Fransoo then shot from the high slot and the puck was loose in the blue paint. The Stars couldn’t find it though and somehow Weninger kept it out.

With Fountain off for tripping, Connor Sych had several really good shot blocks on a Klipper power play late in the third. Leonenko was stopped again with a chance from the slot. Kanter fired high and wide. Spencer Tremblay was quietly great after the second goal and late in the third kept the puck out with good strength to keep his foot against the post. The Stars drew a penalty late that carried over to the first OT period.

The Stars had a couple shots on the power play but couldn’t score. The shots in OT1 were 16-14 as both goalies were outstanding. Leonenko was set up by Townsend and Saharchuk but again shot right at Weninger and was stopped. Townsend had a great back-check to break up a 2-on-1. Not long later LaClare was on a 2-on-1 and Tremblay made the save. Connor Navrot had a chance to pull away but the puck rolled off his stick. He threw it out front but no one was there to try and score.

McMillen set up Heinrich. He dragged and shot but was unable to score. Then with 5:10 left in OT1 the glass broke. So they fixed it quick, and again great work by the rink staff at the Civic Center, and had a flood. The two teams finished the first overtime without scoring and then switched ends to start the second overtime.

Spencer Tremblay had a few good saves and then the Stars chance to win. Igor Leonenko had a chance again and with the puck loose in the slot, after some thought it had gone in already past Weninger, a penalty shot was given. The Klippers had knocked the net off the pegs on purpose. Leonenko though tried to deke and the puck rolled off his stick in close before he could shoot.

Moments later at the other end, DeRoose was able to jam home at the side of the net and as the puck squeaked under Tremblay the Klippers skated off to celebrate taking a 2-0 series lead.

The final score in two overtimes was 3-2. Afterwards the talk was about that being one of the best games at the Civic Center in recent memory. I have seen some good ones and that one was up there but the North Stars came out on the wrong end.

Storylines:

  • Rivalry: These two teams will be meeting tonight for the 13th time this season including pre-season, regular season and now playoff games. They don’t like each other. That dislike was evident early in the season and has only grown since. There were a lot of penalties. A lot of scrums and more last game. It’s only going to get more intense and more interesting as the games move along.
  • Swing Game: The North Stars win tonight at it’s a 2-1 series with the Stars having a chance to tie the series on home ice tomorrow night. If they lose tonight they will face elimination tomorrow night at home. Talk about a swing in the series depending on which way it goes in Kindersley this evening.
  • Road Games: The North Stars won the 3 of 4 games in Kindersley in the regular season. So they will know that they can win on the road. They will have to win in Kindersley a couple times to win the series. But they can’t worry about that tonight or where they stand in the series. They simply have to try and win the hockey game tonight. Having confidence that they can win in Kindersley should help.
  • Special Teams: The North Stars power play has not been good so far in the series. And that’s really a big difference in the games especially last game. The Stars had chances in the third and into OT to win the game on the power play and couldn’t get it done. They also had a lot of scoring chances on both the power play and during 5-on-5 play that they didn’t convert. Moving the puck, working hard and finishing chances will get the Stars a lot of goals including on the PP.
  • Injuries: It wouldn’t be another North Stars game without some more injury news. Tune into the pregame show today or check the blog later for lineups. The Stars may be getting a player back in the lineup but they have lost another key guy to injury. It appears this injury run of bad luck is going to continue so the Stars will just have to find a way to continue to battle through the adversity.

Other Notes:

  • Last game’s Canadian Tire 3 Stars: 3) Nick Fountain 2) Evan Weninger 1) Spencer Tremblay
  • Last game’s San-Berg Collision Collision of the Game: Kendall Fransoo
  • Regular Season Head to Head:
    Battlefords 6 @ Kindersley 5 (SO) (Mar 3 2015)
    Kindersley 2 @ Battlefords 3 (Dec 10 2014)
    Kindersley 4 @ Battlefords 3 (Oct 30 2014)
    Battlefords 4 @ Kindersley 3 (Oct 21 2014)
    Kindersley 3 @ Battlefords 2 (OT) (Oct 7 2014)
    Battlefords 2 @ Kindersley 1 (SO) (Sep 27 2014)
    Battlefords 3 @ Kindersley 4 (OT) (Sep 20 2014)
    Kindersley 5 @ Battlefords 2 (Sep 19 2014)
  • Out of Town Scoreboard: Notre Dame at Flin Flon
  • Playoff Schedule:
    Game #1 – Kindersley 9 – Battlefords 0
    Game #2 – Kindersley 3 – Battlefords 2 (2OT)
    Game #3 – Mar. 17th – 7:30pm @ West Central Events Center
    Game #4 – Mar. 18th – 7:30pm @ Civic Center
    Game #5 – Mar. 20th – 7:30pm @ West Central Events Center (if necessary)
    Game #6 – Mar. 22nd – 7:30pm @ Civic Center (if necessary)
    Game #7 – Mar. 24th – 7:30pm @ West Central Events Center (if necessary)
    (The Ultra Print pregame show begins 15 minutes prior to each game)

Some Keys for the Stars:

1) Power Play – If the North Stars get power plays then they have to find a way to score on the man advantage. That’s the bottom line. On the road especially. And against a goalie as good as Weninger. There must be goals on the power play or at the very least lots of shots and chances and momentum to be gained.

2) Discipline – The Stars and Klippers got pretty heated in game number 2 and the Klippers will sometimes lose their cool. The North Stars can take advantage if they can stay disciplined and continue to rile up the Klippers at the same time.

3) Presence – The Stars have to get more bodies to the net and get in the face of Evan Weninger. Spencer Tremblay was good in game 2 and showed he can go toe-to-toe with Weninger. So the Stars know they’ve got that in their own zone. At the other end they need to get to the net and get deflections, rebounds and jam plays. That presence in front of the Kindersley net and a presence in front protecting Tremblay will be key.

North Stars Lineup:

Tremblay
Rewerts

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

Fountain – Saharchuk – Leonenko
Havens – McMillen – Heinrich
Kanter – Mitchell – Nachtegaele
Vermeulen – Townsend – Weston

Scratches: Hall, Delainey, Erickson, O’Sullivan, Bendall ‘AP’

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