Sunday, December 26, 2010

Holiday Reflections

I have so much to be thankful for and I feel it necessary to write it all out, while its on my mind. For those who are hoping for a North Star post can skip this one, but hopefully this post gets you thinking about your own life and the many things we have to be thankful for.

- I will start with family. I just spent three days in Saskatoon with Julie, her parents, her brother, my father and a ton of aunts, uncles, cousins etc. Obviously Mom's absence was felt, but I am so grateful for the family I do have and the great memories we shared together over these past three days. I'm fifteen minutes out of the city and I already miss my Dad. I'm smiling ear-to-ear knowing that Mom was never too far away, and these past few days would have been right up her alley.

- I love that I get to spend my days with a great girl who always keeps me laughing, smiling and guessing. She knows me better than I know myself, and for that I am incredibly grateful. Julie, thank you and I love you.

- To my friends. I'm learning more and more that life isn't about WHAT you have, but who. I wish I could start naming names and bragging about all of you, but you all know who you are. My resolution for 2011 is to keep in better touch, and to those friends that I haven't reached yet, trust me - The call is coming.

- To my work-family at Rawlco Radio. You have helped me through the toughest year of my life and have done so with love and genuine care. Thanks for all of your hard-work, sacrifice and friendship. I am blessed to see you all on a daily-basis.

- To the Battlefords North Stars. To the players, coaches, Board of Directors, Volunteers, parents and fans who I see regularly - Thank you. I live the dream every time I call a game, and write a blog-entry. To all of you who have helped guide my career and have guide my progress, I am forever grateful. I would be a fool if I didn't also thank Martin Smith at Access 7 for the opportunity to further my career with the SJHL This Week and other broadcasts. I don't have the words to express my true appreciation to those who loyally watch the show. Also a big thumbs up To the SJHL for letting me host a weekly radio show. To my fellow SJ broadcasters, I consider you all friends and I always enjoy our conversations and hangouts. Thank you for all of your help, interviews and laughs.

- I am also thankful for many subtle things:

Physical fitness, World Junior Hockey tournaments, PS3, board games, golfing, road-trips, fantasy sports, all genres of music, the Vancouver Canucks and Giants, Toronto Blue Jays, Oregon Ducks, New York Giants, sports-talk radio, home-cooked meals, a good book, movies and coffee to name some.

I hope you all continue to make the most of your holiday. Be good to one another, and I'll see you around. Don't be a stranger.

- Dano

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

To all loyal readers and friends,

I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and best of wishes throughout the holiday season. Be good to one and other and enjoy all of the time you have with family. Thank you all for your loyal readership and friendship. I look forward to many more great memories aNd conversations.


Dan O'Connor
North Star Nation Author

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rollover Claims the Life of Former North Star.

*From CTV Saskatchewan*

20-year-old hockey player Myles Cameron is dead after a single-vehicle rollover near Duck-Lake.

According to the RCMP, Cameron, the passenger, was not wearing a seatbelt when the vehicle rolled just before 1:30 Wednesday morning. Alcohol was involved in the incident, and police say that charges are pending against a male from Duck Lake. The driver is likely to appear in Beardy's Provincial Court on March 2nd, 2011 facing charges of impaired driving causing death, and Criminal negligence causing death. His name and age have not been released as he has yet to be formally

Cameron spent part of last season with the Battlefords North Stars, and this year split time between the Yorkton Terriers and Ochapowace Jr. B Thunder.


Sincere condolences to the Cameron family and the Terriers and Thunder organization respectively.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fortier Does The Trick in 6-3 Stars Win.

Sam Fortier has always been billed as a pass-first player who never shoots enough. Memo to Sam - Shoot more! Sam Fortier scored three goals while Blake Tatchell had a goal and three assists, and the North Stars earned a 6-3 win over the Nipawin Hawks.

The Stars opened the scoring at 1:31 of the first when Kyle Hall fired a wrister by Brody Hoffman. For Hall, it was his 15th goal of the year.

Nipawin responded with a rebound goal from Dan Szerlip and it was 1-1 after one.

Jonothan Ceci scored back-to-back goals for Nipawin early in the second, and the Hawks seemingly had control.

But back came the Stars. Samuel Fortier's first of the game came on a two-on-one feed from Blake Tatchell. Woody Klassen tied the score with a blast from the left-point, and Blake Tatchell buried off a Nipawin turnover and just like that, the Stars took a 4-3 lead into the locker-room after 40 minutes.

Early in the third, the Hawks had their chances, but Kyle Birch made some fine saves and the Stars then responded for their goaltender. Sam Fortier's second was a thing of beauty. Fortier blasted a slap-shot from just inside the Nipawin blueline and the puck squeezed underneath the bar for his second of the night.

A few shifts later, Fortier potted his third of the night off a faceoff victory by Tatchell.

One final Stars highlight came late in the third period when Kyle Birch denied Mathew Spafford on a breakaway.

The Stars outshot Nipawin 38-30 and snapped the Hawk's five-game winning streak.
The Stars are now eight points up on Nipawin, but the Hawks have six in hand.

The Stars victory, coupled with Flin Flon's loss to Kindersley has temporarily tied the two teams for points.


You can expect a 2010 review piece to come within the next few days. It'll be worth the wait, I assure you.

For now, Happy Holidays! Best of the season to you all.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stars - Hawks Preview.

Don't kid yourself. Tonight's matchup between the Battlefords North Stars and Nipawin Hawks is about as 'playoff' as it gets for this point of the season. Heading into tonight, the Nipawin Hawks have won five straight. They trail the Stars by six points in the standings with six games in hand. A Nipawin victory, and they'd be four points back, with six more to play. A Star's victory would give them an eight-point lead, with Nipawin needing at least four wins in their next six to catch them. Add the fact that this is the final Star's game for 2010, and I'd expect the Civic Center to be rocking tonight.

Record: 12-16-3-1


Doug Johnson's team has won five in a row. The latest was 5-2 win last night against Estevan. They're winning at home, on the road, and are finally starting to gel together after a difficult start to the year. Nipawin can beat you with goaltending, with defence, and with timely offense and the Stars can by no means take the Hawks lightly tonight.

Who's Up Front:

The Nipawin Hawks can thank forward Jonothan Ceci for their turnaround. Ceci and linemate Mathew Spafford have been on-fire for Nipawin over their five-game winning streak. Ceci was named the SJHL Player of the Week last week for his contributions, and got off to a great start this week with two goals and a helper in last night's game against Estevan.

Who's on D:

What's even more impressive about Nipawin's streak of wins is the fact that they've been doing so without six regular defenceman in the lineup. Until last night, Doug Johnson was using four defenceman per game. One player who has really stepped up in recent games is Hawk's captain Brant Remenda. The Nipawin product bleeds Hawk's colors according to his coach, and will never wow you offensively, but his play in his own end speaks for itself. Remenda will log a lot of time against the Star's top players tonight, and will have to be effective in order for Nipawin to land win number six.

Who's in Goal:

A tough decision for Doug Johnson tonight. Brody Hoffman won last night's game against Estevan, meaning it could be Stephen Klein's turn tonight against the Stars. Both have factored heavily into Nipawin's latest streak, so either way you can't go wrong.


So much of the talk of late has been about Jonothan Ceci and Mathew Spafford, but Tyler Paslawski has really come on as of late. He skates with Spafford and Ceci on the Nipawin top-line and can burn you if you're not aware of his ability. Keeping Paslawski, Spafford and Ceci off the score-sheet is crucial tonight for the Stars at home.

Record: 16-20-1-1


The Battlefords North Stars are coming off a 6-4 win at home Thursday against Flin Flon. Blake Tatchell had two goals, and Kyle Birch made 42 saves in net for his team. The Stars are playing 'better' hockey as of late, but it hasn't neccessarily shown it in the win-loss column. They are 4-6 in their last 10 games.

Who's Up Front:

Blake Tatchell regained the team lead in scoring with his 19th and 20th goals of the season Thursday. Tatchell now sits at the 50 point mark this season, and is truly enjoying a 'breakout' year in the SJHL. It's strange to think that Tatchell is having this type of success, given the fact that he's been playing with different linemates for the past week or so. He started with Keith Grondin and Colin Phaneuf, and lately has been playing with Samuel Fortier and Tanner Schwab. Bad news for Nipawin, because it doesn't matter who Tatchell is on the ice with, he's known to be effective.

Who's on D:

Defensively the Battlefords North Stars cannot underestimate the Nipawin Hawks. Mathew Spafford, Jon Ceci and Tyler Paslawski are playing as good or better than most top-lines in the SJHL right now. The Stars need to keep things simple in their own end, avoid allowing Nipawin to have odd-man rushes and they need to protect the front of their net. Cris Neurauter is my pick to have a spirited, breakout style of game tonight for the Stars.

Who's in Goal:

After a gastly start to the season, Birch has now moved his overall record to 8-9 on the year. Given his victory Thursday, it seems logical that Kyle gets the call tonight against Nipawin, assuming Ken Pearson goes with the "win and you're in" philosophy.


Colin Phaneuf had a nine-game scoring streak snapped Thursday against the Bombers, and will no doubt want to start a new streak tonight against Nipawin. Phaneuf has been everything as advertised and then some for the Stars this year, and has provided not just offense, but some grit, heart and character too. A goal or two from Phaneuf could go a long way for the Stars in creating some separation between themselves and Nipawin in the standings.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Stars Hold Off Bombers 6-4.

The Battlefords North Star's padded their lead over Nipawin in the Bauer Conference, and inched closer to Flin Flon in the process after a 6-4 victory over Flin Flon Thursday in North Battleford. Blake Tatchell scored twice (once on a penalty-shot) and Kyle Birch made 42 saves, many of the highlight variety.

The scoring started at 7:42 of the first period on a Star's power-play.
Bomber's d-man Ian McNulty covered the puck with his glove in the crease, which meant penalty-shot. Blake Tatchell was chosen, and he did not disappoint. Tatchell raced in on Musico, made a nifty back-hand deke for his 19th of the season. 1-0 Stars.

Less than a minute later, Flin Flon was awarded a penalty-shot when Deven Stillar was tripped up on a short-handed breakaway. Stillar tried to go forehand on Kyle Birch, and fired wide to Birch's stick-side. In Stillar's defence, the puck was rolling on him.

Late in the first, the Stars increased their lead on a short-handed marker. Deven Stillar turned the puck over at his blueline and Kyle Hall raced in with Tim Rollins on a two-on-one. Hall fed Rollins perfectly, and Rollins re-directed the puck past Musico to give the Stars a 2-0 lead.

Mitch Galbraith scored at 19:04 to give the Stars a 3-0 lead, and in the final seconds Kyle Birch made a stellar save off Dillan McCombie to keep the score 3-0.

Early in the second, Flin Flon found an answer. Jesse Mychan tallied on a power-play at 2:11. Tyler Mah took the point-shot, and Mychan pounced on a rebound. 52 seconds later Dillan McCombie beat Kyle Birch on a brilliant wrist-shot that knocked Birch's water-bottle off the top of the net.

Flin Flon kept at it, and out-played the Stars for a good portion of the second. Flin Flon had a great chance to tie it on a five-on-three power-play, but Kyle Birch and the Star's penalty-killers held their lead.

The Star's resiliency was rewarded late in the second with Blake Tatchell's second of the game. Tatchell received a pass from Luke Hannas, weaved his way through defenders and then deked Musico (backhand) for his 20th of the year.

Early in the third, Luke Hannas intercepted the puck off a P.J. Musico clearing attempt, and buried to make it 5-2. The Bombers wouldn't go away though. Doug McLeod bridged the gap at 4:08, and then Riley Storzuk tipped home an Ian McNulty point-shot at 12:30 to make the score 5-4.

In the late stages of the third period, Kyle Birch made a couple more key stops to keep the game 5-4. After a Flin-Flon timeout, the Stars grabbed possession off the draw, and Samuel Fortier sealed the deal with an empty-netter.

The Flin Flon Bombers outshot the Stars 46-36, and finished the night one of six on the powerplay. The Stars went scoreless on four powerplay opportunities.

The victory improves the Star's record to 16-20-1-1. They trail the fourth-place Bombers by two points in the Bauer Conference, but more importantly they now hold an eight-point lead over Nipawin for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Bauer Conference. The Nipawin Hawks do hold seven games in hand though, but would have to win four of seven just to tie. The Hawks and Stars will meet Saturday night at the North
Battleford Civic Center.

Playoff atmosphere? No question.

Puck drops, 7:30 P.M. Saturday night.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stars - Bombers Preview.

No Ken Pearson, No Tony Oak tonight for the Battlefords North Stars who welcome the Flin Flon Bombers tonight at the Civic Center. The Bombers are 2-0 against the Stars so far this season, and currently hold a four-point edge on the Stars in the Bauer Conference Standings.

Record: 17-14-2-0


Mike Regan's team is 6-3-1-0 in their last 10 games. The Bombers have a great mix of size, skill and goaltending.

Who's Up Front:

After a slow(ish) start to the season, Deven Stillar is really starting to come on for Flin Flon. The 20-year-old leads his team in scoring with 38 points in 28 games and has been one of the most consistent performers for Mike Regan from November onwards. Stillar had a natural hat-trick against the Stars earlier this year, and played well in against the Stars on November 29th, though statistically it wasn't his best outing. Keeping Stillar silenced will be mission number one for the Stars defensively.

Who's on D:

One Flin Flon defenceman that will no doubt be getting a ton of NCAA consideration is Tanner Korchinski. Korchinski is defensively responsible while still maintaining a solid, offensive upside. He has 18 points, and leads his team in defensive scoring. The Stars can't afford to give Korchinski too much open ice, because he has speed to burn.

Who's in Goal:

PJ Musico gives Flin Flon a chance to win every night. He's 15-11 with a save percentage of .919 and a GAA of 2.95. He is 2-0 this season against the Stars. Randy Graham is Musico's back-up. He's 2-5 with a save percentage of .890.


The last time these teams met, the Stars did a much better job at shutting down the top Flin Flon scorers. The problem was though, they had no answer for the grit-factor brought forth by Doug McLeod and Jay Young. Young scored twice and had an assist on Nov. 29th, and is having a really strong second-season for Flin Flon. It is crucial that the Stars match Flin Flon's physical game tonight. If not, they'll have a tough time winning.

Record: 15-20-1-1


The Battlefords North Stars continue to tread water in the Bauer Conference. They are 3-7 in their last 10 games and remain in the fifth spot in the Bauer Conference. The Stars have played more games this season than any other team in the SJHL, which makes things all the more interesting from a standings stand-point. Heading into tonight the Nipawin Hawks trail the Stars by six points, but by the end of the night, the Stars will have played seven more games than Nipawin this year. The only thing the Stars can really do to help their cause is to win their next two games, and put some added pressure on Nipawin.

Who's Up Front:

Rookie forward Kyle Hall continues to impress. He had two goals Tuesday againts Kindersley, and now has 14 on the year. Hall has centered Colin Phaneuf and Keith Grondin in each of the past two games which should only further help him statistically. More importantly it helps spread out the Star's attack.

Who's on D:

Tonight any thoughts of individual success need to be tossed. Defensively the Stars will have to be at their best against Flin Flon. They'll need to make good passes, play physical, and protect the front of their net. Any passengers on the back-end tonight will be exploited.

Who's in Goal:

Graham Hildebrand played Tuesday in the 5-4 loss, meaning it's likely Kyle Birch's turn to try his hand. Both Hildebrand and Birch are 0-1 against Flin Flon this year.


Whether it be Kyle Birch or Graham Hildebrand, the goaltender will need to steal one tonight for the Stars. PJ Musico has established himself as an elite goaltender on the otherside, and tonight it's up to Birch/Hildebrand to show that they belong in the same breath as some of the top goalies. Heading into the 2010-2011 season, the Stars goaltending was the least of anyone's concern. So far neither goaltender has been able to establish any type of consistency. If the Stars want to climb out of fifth, one of these goalies is going to have to put a streak of wins together. Does it start tonight?

You can catch tonight's game live on CJNB/CJNS starting at 7:15 PM.

Pearson and Oak Suspended.

The SJHL has suspended North Star's Coach/GM Ken Pearson and Forward Tony Oak for different incidents that took place Tuesday night against Kindersley.

Pearson is suspended for two games, and fined $500 for receiving his second game misconduct this season along with a gross-misconduct.

Tony Oak is suspended for one game as a result of taking his team's second goaltender interference penalty during the same game.


A Stars-Bombers preview will be posted early this afternoon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stars Drop A Wild One 5-4.

Tuesday night in North Battleford, the Kindersley Klippers and Battlefords North Stars added another chapter into their fierce rivalry. The Klippers escaped with a 5-4 victory, going two for 10 on the powerplay in the process. Special teams, or a lack thereof (for the Stars) was the obvious story in this one.

Through 60 minutes the Klippers received 10 powerplay opportunities. Conversely the North Stars were only given two. Frustrations mounted as the game wore on and finally in the late stages of the third period, enough was enough for Ken Pearson.

With the score 5-3 Kindersley, Star's forward Blake Tatchell was (seemingly) tripped up on a breakaway. No penalty was called. Ken Pearson snapped and emptied his bench of sticks and water bottles. Pearson was promptly ejected and given a gross-misconduct.

The score was 1-1 after one. The Stars opened the scoring 14 seconds in when Tim Rollins tucked in a Travis Cech pass from behind the net. Klipper's captain Andrew Dommett tied the score on a one-timer at 11:51.

The first 16 minutes of the second period belonged to the North Stars. Kyle Hall scored twice, and the Stars led 3-1 with the minutes winding down in the second period. Braedon Adamyk made it 3-2 at 18:52, and shortly thereafter Kindersley received a five-on-three powerplay opportunity that would carry over into the third period.

34 seconds into the third period, Johnny Calkins tied the score, and at 2:08, Ryan Benn fired a wrister by Graham Hildebrand to give the resilient Klippers a 4-3 lead.

After a (valid) Cris Neurauter cross-checking penalty, the Klippers brought the puck across the Star's blueline off the rush. Colin Phaneuf attempted to pursue the puck-carrier, and instead was eliminated from the play by a Kindersley forward who hindered his progress. No call. Seconds later Andrew Dommett scored his second of the game to make it 5-3.

After the goal Colin Phaneuf argued profusely with referee Al Smith to no avail, and Ken Pearson called a timeout to try and calm his troops down. No luck.

At the 14:11 mark, the usually calm Woody Klassen lost it on Smith after he assessed Travis Sparrow with a high-sticking penalty. 1:58 later, Ken Pearson was ejected.

A lengthy exchange then took place between Star's assistant-captain Tony Oak and referee Alan Smith. Oak took a goaltender-interference penalty 13 seconds after play had continued and was kicked out. 46 seconds after Oak was kicked out, Cody Folstad was assessed an unsportsmanlike penalty.

Given all of the frustration, the Stars seemed to rally somewhat in the final minutes.

Blake Tatchell scored short-handed to bridge the gap to one, and the Stars had a chance or two in the final minute, but Kindersley netminder Sean Cahill stood his ground.

In the end, it was a well-deserved victory for the Kindersley Klippers. John Calkins had a four-point night, Sean Cahill was strong in goal, and new coach Rockie Zinger earned his first 'official' victory behind an SJHL bench. Zinger's club outshot the Stars 39-35. The Klippers have fought through a ton of adversity in the past 48-hours leading up to Tuesday's game, and managed to stay the course in a pretty hostile

As for the North Stars? Wednesday will be a revealing day. Suspensions are almost certain for Pearson (gross misconduct) and Tony Oak (goaltender inference. Second one of the game.) and they'll need to do their best to move beyond Tuesday's frustration and get set for battle with Flin Flon on Thursday and Nipawin Saturday. The Stars are four points back of Flin Flon and six points ahead of Nipawin in the standings, but have played in six more games. In order to feel any type of comfort heading into 2011, two victories are (almost) essential down the stretch.

Thursday's game will be broadcast live on CJNB/CJNS starting at 7:15.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stars - Klippers Preview.

Do not for one second under-estimate the importance of tonight's game from both sides. The Battlefords North Stars and Kindersley Klippers are two teams that could really use a victory tonight, and as always, I'm expecting a wild, offensive affair between these two teams.

Record: 16-15-2-0


The past 48-hours have been interesting to say the least for the Kindersley Klippers. Yesterday morning it was announced that Larry Wintoneak had been relieved of his coaching and management duties with the Klippers. Assistant Coach Rockie Zinger was given the reigns, and tonight marks his first 'official' game as head-coach and Director of Hockey Operations for the Kindersley Klippers. Kindersley has won two in a row, and are two points away from grabbing third place in the Sherwood Conference.

Who's Up Front:

Andrew Dommett has absolutely feasted on the North Stars over the years, especially at the Civic Center. Let's review some of Dommett's heroics over the years in North Battleford:

- He scored the game-winner on opening-night.
- A four-goal effort in a 7-6 loss at least year's showcase.
- Scored his first SJHL goal in overtime in North Battleford on January 3rd(?) in 2009.

Keeping Andrew Dommett, Braedon Adamyk and Johnny Calkins contained is of the utmost importance for Ken Pearson's team tonight. The goaltending will have to be sharp, and defensively the Stars will need a similar effort to what they got Sunday in Humboldt. Keeping these three off the scoresheet is pivotal for the Stars tonight.

Who's on D:

20-year-old defenceman Jonothan Sonntag might be the most underrated defenceman in the Sherwood Conference. Sonntag can do it all. He leads all Kindersley defenceman in scoring with 16 points, and carries a real mean-streak and an edge to his game. A big game from Sonntag would go a long way for Rockie Zinger's team.

Who's in Goal:

Given the fact that Kindersley hasn't played in awhile, I'd bet on Sean Cahill getting the call in net. Cahill is 3-4 with a GAA of 3.16 and a save percentage of .898.


Three of D Jay McGrath's seven goals this season have come against the Battlefords North Stars. McGrath has slid in nicely to Kindersley's top six and has provided the Klippers with strong play at both ends. A big game from McGrath could equal two points at the end of the night for Kindersley.

Record: 15-19-1-1


The Battlefords North Stars are coming off a dominant 7-2 win in Humboldt. All cylinders were clicking Sunday, and it started from the net on out. Great goaltending, was complimented by solid defence and timely offense. The Stars will need more of the same tonight if they want to create more separation between themselves and the Nipawin Hawks.

Who's Up Front:

Samuel Fortier is playing his best hockey as a North Star. Fortier has goals in two straight games, and is shooting the puck a lot more than he used to. Fortier fit right in on the right side of Blake Tatchell and Tanner Schwab, and if these three can play as well as they did Sunday, Kindersley's 'D' will have their hands full all night.

Who's on D:

Cody Folstad is having a tremendous season for the Battlefords North Stars. Offensively he's chipped in with 24 points, but his greatest strength has been his leadership and his tenacity on the ice. Folstad won't wow anybody with flash, but he quietly goes about his business and has been one of the Star's most consistent players all season. Folstad played Sunday alongside Woody Klassen, and I'd expect those two to get a bulk of the minutes against Kindersley's top forwards tonight.

Who's in Goal:

After his performance Sunday in Humboldt, I would be stunned if Graham Hildebrand did not start tonight against the Klippers. That being said, Kyle Birch did beat Kindersley 5-2 at the Showcase, and maybe Ken Pearson elects to play the percentages. Regardless of who's in goal, they'll be busy tonight. Goaltenders often are when these two teams are involved.


Colin Phaneuf has now overtaken Blake Tatchell for the team lead in scoring. He's also riding an eight-game point-streak. Phaneuf has been everything the Stars had hoped for and then some this season. If Phaneuf can keep his streak alive with a goal or two, the Stars will put themselves in a position to win tonight's game.

Puck drops at 7:30 from the Civic Center. See you there.

Stars - Hounds Photos (Dec. 10)

*All Photos By: Julie Larson*

Sam Fortier Cuts in on Goal. (Look Closely For the Puck.)

Schwab Would Later Score.

Birch Makes the Save.

Klassen Moves the Puck Up Ice.

Stars - Sharks Charity Game Photos.

*All Photos Taken By Julie Larson*

A strong goaltending battle between Cody Folstad and Woody Klassen.

Kyle Birch Chirping With Sam Fortier.

Lots of Chances, No Goals for Yours Truly.

Another Successful Game Is In the Books.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Stars Rout Broncos 7-2

The topsy-turvy season continued Sunday for the Battlefords North Stars. 48 hours removed from a 7-4 loss to Notre Dame, the Stars bounced back with an impressive 7-2 win in Humboldt. Graham Hildebrand made 32 saves while all four lines contributed offensively.

The Stars took the lead just 44 seconds in. Cody Folstad scored on a point-shot that beat Andrew Bodnarchuck blocker-side.

Josh Roach tied it for Humboldt moments later and got a great chance to take the lead on a 1:17 five-on-three. Graham Hildebrand held his ground and made the saves when needed to keep his team tied.

The second period belonged to the Stars. Samuel Fortier, Colin Phaneuf and Luke Hannas all scored and the Stars took a 4-1 lead inro the dressing room after 40.

More of the same in the third. Tanner Schwab, Travis Cech and Colin Phaneuf provided the goals and Humboldt's only response came from Taylor Johnson.

The shots on goal were 42-34. Both teams finished 0-2 on the man advantage.

Up next for the Stars, a Tuesday meeting with the Kindersley Klippers at home.

Stars - Broncos Preview

Tonight the Battlefords North Stars battle the Humboldt Broncos for the fifth time this season. The Stars are 2-2 against Humboldt and are looking to snap a two-game losing streak.


Record: 19-13-0-1 (Second in the Bauer Conference)


The Broncos are 4-6 in their last 10 games. Even amidst their streaky play, the Broncos have maintained second place in the Bauer Conference. They have a ton of offense, and clutch goaltending. When they put it all together they are a very difficult team to beat.

Who's Up Front:

Justin Buzzeo and Jeremy Boyer can take games over when they are at their best. Buzzeo has great vision, and is a solid play-maker, and Boyer is a pure goal scorer. Both have over 20 goals this season. The last time these teams met, the Stars did a great job of shutting down Boyer and Buzzeo - They'll need a similar effort tonight to be successful.

Who's on D:

18-year-old Josh Roach has 27 points in 30 games, and is a solid offensive option for the Broncos on the back-end. There's nothing overly flashy about Roach, but in his case it's a good thing. He quietly goes about his business, protects his own end well, and has consistently provided offense for Dean Brockman's team. Roach is especially dangerous on the power-play.

Who's in Goal:

Andrew Bodnarchuk has played the Stars all four times this season. Does
Dean Brockman call on Matt Hrynkiw tonight? Time will tell I guess.


Former North Star Ward Szucki is having a decent sophmore season in the SJHL. He was bounced around a little bit at the start of the year going From Estevan to Neepawa and then to Humboldt. But now that he's settled, he's starting to show a great skill-set. He's a big bodied forward with a great shot. He's got seven goals and 12 assists this year. The Stars will need to keep Szucki to the outside as much as possible and not allow him and his linemates easy access to the front of the their goal.


Record: 14-19-1-1 (Fifth in the Bauer Conference)


Ken Pearson's team has lost two straight games. The recent loss came Friday night at home against Notre Dame. The Stars currently have a four point lead on Nipawin in the standings, but the Hawks have four games in hand. Two points tonight would be HUGE for the Stars if only to create some more separation and put more pressure on Nipawin.

Who's Up Front:

After a bit of a slow start, Tanner Schwab is starting to put it all together. Schwab scored Friday, and had a performance at the SJHL Showcase. The trio of Tanner Schwab, Tim Rollins and Kyle Hall will need to be effective tonight for the Stars to win. Rollins needs to use his speed to win battles. Hall needs to win face-offs and move the puck well, and Schwab needs to capitalize on his chances when he gets them. If they do, the Stars will have success.

Who's on D:

Cody Folstad, Woody Klassen and Travis Sparrow are three defenceman that need to bring their best efforts tonight. All three will need to set the physical tone, and make it tough on the likes of Buzzeo and Boyer to find time and space on the ice. If the Stars can win the physical battle tonight, they'll have a great shot at winning the game.

Who's in Goal:

No clarification yet, but given the fact that Kyle Birch lost Friday night to Notre Dame, I'd expect to see Graham Hildebrand get the call in goal for Ken Pearson's team tonight.


Special teams are always key, but they are especially magnified when Humboldt is involved. If the Stars can keep the Humboldt power-play off the ice, they'll be fine. It's when Buzzeo, Boyer and Roach get extra room and time on the ice that they become especially difficult to contain. If the Stars can score once or twice on the power-play and limit Humboldt's chances, they have a great shot at winning tonight.

Game time: 6:00 on CJNB/CJNS.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Stars - Hounds Preview

After six days without a game, the Battlefords North Stars will welcome the Notre Dame Hounds to the Civic Center tonight at 7:30. It'll be the second meeting of the season between these teams, with the Hounds taking the first one back in October at home.

The Stars haven't played since Saturday's 5-4 loss to La Ronge. They have five games remaining, four of which are at home. Here is a preview for tonight's game:


Record: 10-17-1-3


Kevin White's team are winless in their last six games and 2-7-1-0 in their last 10. They are coming off a 5-2 loss last night against the Kindersley Klippers. The Hounds have solid goaltending, and an underrated core of d men. Their big problem has been finding consistent offense. Only the Nipawin Hawks have scored less than Notre Dame.

Who's Up Front:

The Hounds do have some weapons up front that can make you pay for being lazy. Trevor Cameron leads the Hounds with 27 points in 30 games. He's shifty, quick and plays with an edge. Teammate Todd Christian leads the team with 15 goals and forwards David Lerner and Patrick Thompson Gale can also bury the puck when they get the chance.

Who's on D:

The Hounds may have the best kept secret in the SJHL on their blueline. James Howden is a gamer. He has 22 points in 30 games, and brings the total package to the blueline. He's big, a solid puck-mover, and he can quarterback a power-play. If I had to pick my favourite non-North Star defenceman in the league, it would likely be Howden.

Who's in Goal:

Russell Abbott got the start last night in Kindersley and lost, meaning Matthew Smidt will likely get the call tonight for the Hounds. Goaltending is arguably the greatest strength of the Hounds, though Abbott's numbers are better than Smidt's at this point. Smidt is 4-9-0-1 with a save percentage of .852 and a GAA of 3.96. Abbott is 6-8-0-2 with a .900 save percentage and a 2.91 GAA.


Former Midget AAA Star Cody Ito has 12 points in 17 games for the Hounds. He's another player who's talents often go overlooked. If Ito can find some time and space, he will be awfully difficult for the North Star defenders to contain.


Record: 14-18-1-1


The Battlefords North Stars are 4-6 in their last 10 games, and continue to hover in the fifth spot in the Bauer Conference. With the Hawks playing well beneath them (with five games in hand), victories are crucial at this point for Ken Pearson's team.

Who's Up Front:

The Battlefords North Star's forwards definitely impressed at the SJHL Showcase last weekend. They forwards managed nine goals in two games, and have regained some of their swagger which may have eluded them earlier last week against Yorkton and Melville. Keith Grondin reached the 20-goal mark at the Showcase, and continues to be a big time power-play threat. If not for Marc-Andre Carre in La Ronge, Grondin would lead the SJHL in power-play goals.

Who's on D:

Offensively, the Star's defensive-core continues to put up numbers. Woody Klassen, Brody Luhning, Cris Neurauter and Cody Folstad are ranked four through eight respectively in team scoring, and while the stats don't neccessarily show it -The overall defensive play has improved in the past three games. If the Stars can continue to put up numbers from the back end while keeping pucks out of their own zone, the victories will start coming in bunches.

Who's in Goal:

Tough call for Ken Pearson tonight. Both Graham Hildebrand and Kyle Birch had a strong showing at the SJHL Showcase. Hildebrand deserved better against the Ice Wolves, and maybe made the save of the season off of Marc-Andre Carre in the third period. That being said, Kyle Birch beat Kindersley on the Friday and it may be his turn in the rotation.


Luke Hannas and Mitch Galbraith will be playing their first home games as members of the North Stars. Both have size and skill, and have the ability to contribute in a number of ways. I look for both of these guys to throw their weight around, get the crowd going, and possibly contribute offensively to some degree. If they do, then the Stars have a great shot at victory.


With five games remaining for the Stars in 2010, is it unrealistic to think that they could win four or five of them? Their only road game goes Sunday in Humboldt, and then they'll play home games against Kindersley, Flin Flon and Nipawin. It may be a tall order, but I certainly think it's a realistic possibility for the Stars, and if they could somehow start 2011 with a record that is flirting with .500 I'm sure that would bode well for them moving forward.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stars to Welcome Team Sweden

Team Sweden is coming to the Battlefords.

The SJHL announced yesterday that the Swedish National Under 17 team will play four exhibition games against SJHL teams starting December 29th.

The Battlefords North Stars welcome the Swedes to the Civic Center on Monday, January 3rd at 7:30.

The Swedes are off to Flin Flon on the 29th, La Ronge on the 30th, Humboldt on the 1st.

Some of the Swedish players that have played on the under 17 team in the past include Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Victor Hedman. Phoenix Coyotes defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Washington Capitals forward Niklas Backstrom.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Stars and Sharks Team Up for Charity.

Tonight the Battlefords North Stars and Midget AAA Sharks will take a break from their normal routine, and will team up for charity.

The Sharks and Stars, a long with a few other guests will take part in a mixed Charity Game tonight at the Battleford Arena. I couldn't play in last year's game due to another commitment, but this year I'm all in. All of my gear still fits, my skates are sharp and all I need is some

The game goes at 6:00, and admission is free with a non-perishable canned food item. Even if you can't stay for the whole game, donations will still be accepted.

We'll see you tonight, and please - No laughing.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stars Drop A Thriller to La Ronge

Saturday afternoon the Battlefords North Stars and La Ronge Ice Wolves treated fans in Weyburn to an exciting display of first-class competitive hockey. Unfortunately for the Stars, the end result stings greatly as the Wolves won it 5-4.

The first period belonged to the Ice Wolve's special teams. Marc-Andre scored twice, including an end-to-ender that had everybody's jaws dropped. Tanner Schwab had the lone tally for the Stars.

The Stars bounced back in a big way in period two. Colin Phaneuf scored short-handed and on the power-play and Tanner Schwab chipped in his second of the game, and the Stars skated to the lockeroom up 4-3.

Early in the third, the Stars nearly went up 5-3 but Tony Oak was denied by Adam Bartko from in close.

Halfway through the third, Graham Hildebrand made an absolutely glorious save on Marc-Andre Carre from point-blank range, but seconds later after the following faceoff Travis Eggum tied the score at 4.

Exactly five minutes later the Wolves grabbed the game's final goal. Aaron Enns buried one off his own rebound on a wrap-around to make the score 5-4.

With that, the Stars wrap up the Showcase with a 1-1 record. The Stars don't play next until Friday at home against Notre Dame.

The Stars return home from a lengthy road-trip with a record of 14-18-1-1.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stars Impress in a 5-2 Victory Over Kindersley.

That's more like it.

Friday night in Kindersley the Battlefords North Stars put forth a gritty, resilient effort and defeated Kindersley 5-2. Keith Grondin scored twice on the power-play and Boyd Wakelin notched a goal and an assist.

Kindersley drew first blood early in the first when Taylor Wasden beat Kyle Birch from in close. Both teams had chances, but Kindersley definitely had the better period.
Period two was a different story.
Boyd Wakelin grabbed a Kindersley turnover at the blueline and deked Sean Cahill to tie the game.

Mid-way through the period, Kyle Hall took a double-minor penalty which swayed momentum back to the Klippers. Some good shots, but no goals for Kindersley, and when Hall returned to the ice, he helped set up Colin Phaneuf's 13th of the year.

Early in the third Jonothan Sonntag of Kindersley was booted for a check to the head of Travis Cech. The Stars went to the power-play and made the Klippers pay. Keith Grondin's 20th of the year came seconds later and then Tony Oak finished a Boyd Wakelin pass to give the Stars a 4-1 lead at the mid-way point of the third.

Keith Grondin made it 5-1 with another power-play marker and kindersley's D Jay McGrath scored late to make the final score 5-2.

The Stars finished two-for-six on the power-play and killed all five penalties that they took.

Kyle Birch faced 31 shots and stopped 29 of them to earn his seventh win.

Tomorrow at 2:00 the Stars go head-to-head with the La Ronge Ice Wolves.
The SJHL Showcase is officially underway from Weyburn. As I type this, we are leaving Yorkton and I imagine that we will arrive in Weyburn in about two-and-a-half hours.

I love (almost) everything about the Showcase, and I truly hope that fans and parents take advantage of the opportunity.

There has been a TON of chatter on the blog recently, and I first want to start by saying thank you to those who stop by here and read on a daily basis. Your comments, feedback and readership are all appreciated big time.


A relatively quiet December 1 for the Stars but obviously the Shayne Morrissey trade has a lot of folks talking.

Shayne was not dealt because of homesickness. As some of the comment-makers pointed out in the previous post, Shayne loved the Battlefords. The problem for Shayne was inconsistency and the fact that (in the eyes of the coaches) the other 18 year olds were higher on the depth chart.

I liked Shayne as a person and I wish him the best. Cudos to his family and friends for their kind remarks on the blog.


Its an important weekend for the Stars. They have two difficult opponents and they'll need to be at their best if they want to win.

From a confidence stand-point, a victory or two this weekend would set the Stars up nicely for the rest of December. If the Stars can finish 2010 at .500 that would be a great feat. But, that means that sooner than later the Stars need a winning-streak.

The Stars need to approach these next two games with an edge.

In their last meeting, KIndersley came back from a 5-2 gap to beat the Stars 6-5.

The last time the Stars faced La Ronge, it was an ugly 8-1 loss in Stanley Mission.


Lately I've been getting a Lot of "What is wrong with the Stars" type of questions. For what it's worth, the only thing that I can pin-point is the fact that sometimes the 'compete' level is not where it needs to be. It seems to come and go in extremes. When the Stars want to compete, they are a scary team. When they take short-cuts, they get exposed.

The puzzling part about this team is the fact that all of the right ingredients seem to be here.

Talent? Blake Tatchell, Colin Phaneuf.

Grit? Tony Oak, Travis Cech, Luke Hannas.

Youth? Tanner Schwab, Kyle Hall.

Skill on D? Woody Klassen, Brody Luhning, Chris Neurauter.

Sjze on D? Cody Folstad, Travis Sparrow.

Goaltending? Graham Hildebrand.and Kyle Birch.

The standings often speak for themselves, yet I can't find a notable weakness with this team anymore. Ken Pearson has added size, skill to the blueline, and age. Now is the time where the Stars need to show the fans, the coaches and each other that they are playing for keeps.

It starts with tonights game with Kindersley.

As always your thoughts are encouraged. Hope you can catch some or all of the game tonight. It goes live starting at 4:15.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mils Sink the Stars.

A much better effort, but the result no different for the Battlefords North Stars who lost 5-2 in Melville Wednesday. Lucas Froese potted two for Melville and Alex Sirard earned the victory against his former team in goal.

The Stars opened the scoring at 2:33 of the first when Luke Hannas potted his first as a North Star. Lucas Froese tied it at around the mid-way point on a power-play and the teams skated into the dressing room tied 1-1.

The only goal of the second stanza came after the five minute mark when Mike Desjarlais snuck one past Kyle Birch. The Stars stuck with it and had their chances, but simply could not finish.

The persistence paid off for the Stars after the seven minute mark of the third. Ken Pearson juggled the lines up front, and Colin Phaneuf tipped a point-shot past Alex Sirard and the game was tied at two.

Shortly thereafter the Stars got called for a holding penalty and it cost them. Michael Rogochewsky buried on a rebound and Melville regained their lead that they would not relinquish. The Star's coaching staff was livid after this goal, because seconds earlier there was an apparent offside that was ignored.

*From my corner broadcast booth, I had ZERO way of determining whether it was offside or not.*

Justin Hollinger ripped a shot by Kyle Birch stick-side to make it 4-2 and Lucas Froese iced it with an empty-netter.

The Stars finished the game zero for seven on the power-play, though that total is a tad misleading due to the fact that three of those powerplays didn't last a full two minutes.

The loss puts the Stars at 13-17-1-1 heading into Showcase Weekend in Weyburn.

Next up: The Kindersley Klippers Friday night at 5:00.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Neurauter Receives Monthly Honor From the SJHL.

Great news for the Star's captain. Here's the story from

DEFENCEMAN OF THE MONTH – Chris Neurauter (Battlefords)

The 1990 born blueliner from Red Deer came to the Battlefords in an early season trade with Estevan and the move has paid off for the Stars. Neurauter had 11 points in 14 games for the Stars while providing a solid presence on the Stars blueline.

HONORABLE MENTION:  Tanner Korchinski (Flin Flon), Casey Rogers (Kindersley), Byron Sorensen (La Ronge)

For those interested:

PLAYER OF THE MONTH – Travis Eggum (La Ronge)

The 1990 born forward from Saskatoon was on fire in November. Eggum had 30 points (13 goals-17 points) in 12 games to help the defending league champions roar into first place in the Bauer Conference. In his last 4 games, Eggum has eight goals and eight assists. His 27 goals are the best in the league and he is tied for second in league scoring with 51 points.

HONORABLE MENTION: Doug Lindensmith (La Ronge), Brayden Metz (Melville), Taylor Duzan (Kindersley)

GOALTENDER OF THE MONTH –  Devin Peters (Yorkton)

The 1990 born goalie from St. Andrews, Manitoba had a great month for the Terriers who have a healthy lead atop the Sherwood Conference. In 10 games, Peters went 7-2-1 posting a goals against average of 2.58.

HONORABLE MENTION: Adam Bartko (La Ronge), Charles Corsi (Melfort)

  ROOKIE OF THE MONTH – Davis Vandane (Yorkton)

Davis Vandane was one of the top defencemen in the Saskatchewan Midget Triple A league last season for the hometown Yorkton Harvest, and he is quickly becoming one of the top young blueliners in the SJHL. After getting sent to the Terriers from the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, the 1992 born defenceman from Yorkton who is 6’4 and 200 pounds helped make an already good Yorkton team better. Vandane had four goals and eight assists in 12 games this month.

Terriers 7 Stars 4

Tuesday night in Yorkton, the Terriers scored three unanswered goals in a 3:44 span of the second period and beat the Stars by a 7-4 margin.

In a tale of two different halves, the Stars and Terriers appeared poised to play a nail-biter. It was 1-1 after 30 minutes. Clark Breitcreuz and Kyle Hall swapped goals.

On a Star's power-play the puck was turned over and the Terriers raced back on a two-on-one. Craig Eisenhut outwaited the defense and slid a pass across to Blaine Tendler who buried.

Moments later the Terriers tallied again when Riley Paterson and Nathan Murray combined to make it 3-1. They weren't done.

Davis Vandane had a point-shot tipped home by Alex Lamontagne and the Terriers skated to the locker-room with a 4-1 lead.

The third period was once again, full of offense. Tanne Schwab made it 4-2 with a dandy wrist-shot from the high-slot, but Yorkton promptly bounced back to make it 5-2.

Boyd Wakelin made things closer for the Stars when he banged home His own rebound to make it 5-3.

That is the closest the Stars would get. Rob Ciolfi and Clark Breitcreuz tallied for the Terriers, and a late Blake Tatchell power-play goal wrapped up the game's scoring.

The Stars finished one for six on the man-advantage and were outshot 39-25. Tuesday's game marked the North Star's debut for forward Luke Hannas who skated on a line with Samuel Fortier and Travis Cech.

After the game, Ken Pearson hinted that Tony Oak and Mitch Galbraith would draw into the lineup for Wednesday's game with Melville.

The Stars will face the Millionaires tonight at 7:30. You can catch the broadcast tonight starting at 7:15.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Luhning on the Sports-Fix Tonight.

A couple of things that I want to hit on today:

First off, I want to let you know that Star's defenceman Brody Luhning will be a guest on the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix tonight at 8 PM. Luhning is enjoying a fine rookie campaign with the Stars, and was recently named to the CJHL Top Prospects Game coming up in Dauphin next week. Even better for Luhning is the fact that his teammates and good friend Kyle Hall was also invited. Together Luhning and I will discuss next week, and as well talk about his transition to the Battlefords from Swift Current.

My second guest will be La Ronge play-by-play man, Daniel Fink. Fink is in his first year as the Wolve's broadcaster, and so far (by all accounts) is doing a bang-up job. Together we'll discuss the Bauer Conference's top team, and we'll preview the SJHL Showcase matchup between the Stars and the La Ronge Ice Wolves for Saturday.


The month of November saw some peaks and valleys for the Stars, but overall I think the team has to be feeling pretty good about themselves as November winds down. They have created some separation between themselves and Nipawin, and are one lengthy winning streak away from challenging the teams ahead of them in the standings. What hurts the Stars right now is the number of games they've played in comparison to some of the others. Only Yorkton has played in more games than the Stars.

Some November highlights included:

- The 6-5, OT victory over Estevan when Woody Klassen scored with .8 seconds to go.
- The 7-4 victory at home against Humboldt.
- Hall and Luhning being named to the Top Prospect's Game.
- Keith Grondin, and Brody Luhning receiving Player of the Week Awards through the SJHL.

At the end of the day, the Stars are close to being a .500 hockey team, and can hopefully build off of that fact heading into this week and some tough matchups.


A lot of fans have have asked me what the situation was like in Flin Flon Saturday, and I did my best to answer them in my prior post.

The bottom line is this:

Flin Flon is a GREAT place to watch and call a hockey-game. One of my favourites, in fact. If each SJHL market had that type of passion, we'd be in tremendous shape. That being said, there is definitely another side to the equation, and it not only goes for Flin Flon, but the entire SJHL as a whole.

If you pay for your ticket, you are absolutely entitled to cheer, boo and heckle to your heart's content. But certainly I think a line needs to be drawn when a small minority of fans start using vulgar language and they themselves take attention away from the game. I've seen this type of behavior all over the SJHL, but Saturday in Flin Flon things were definitely magnified. Fans need to be reminded that these games are generally filled with families, and the game has no place for fans bullying the players and filling the arena with loud and constant profanity. Security needs to do their part to make sure that their hockey environments are suitable for all-comers.

On the other side, the players need to expect these types of things from time to time, and under no circumstances should a player take their frustrations out on the fans. Again I maintain that the Star's seemed (from my vantage point at least) to handle themselves with dignity and class after the game on Saturday, and I'd say 90 percent of the Flin Flon faithful did the same.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bombers Top the Stars 5-3.

Another wild one at the Whitney. The Battlefords North Stars surrendered four goals in the first period and ended up losing 5-3 to Flin Flon. Jay Young had a three-point night for Flin Flon, and goaltender PJ Musico was solid when called upon in the second and third.

Jay Young opened the scoring early in the first when he put home a Doug McCloud rebound over the left pad of Kyle Birch. The Bombers would then make it 2-0 on a sharp-angled shot from Eric Millisor that beat Birch over his right shoulder.

Later in the first, Deven Stillar tallied on the power-play, and Jay Young followed with his second of the period.

The Stars found some life in the second when Blake Tatchell tucked home a Keith Grondin pass on the power-play. That was it for offense in the second, but certainly there was no lack of entertainment.

Moments after the Tatchell goal, Shayne Morrissey got a penalty for boarding Beau Stewart into the boards. Bombers fedenceman David Roper took exception and charged after Morrissey. Travis Sparrow entered the fray trying to assist his fallen teammate and ended up receiving a game misconduct.

The Flin Flon fans then started to make their presence known, and the area behind the North Star's bench became a sanction of cheering, taunting and in some cases: extreme profanity.

Cris Neurauter made it a 4-2 game early in the third on a power-play off a shot from the left-point. The Stars continued to press until a costly turnover outside of their own blueline provided Flin Flon with a two-on-one and Jay Young found Brant Weldon for his first goal in the SJHL.

Brody Luhning would get the Stars back within two on a point-shot from the right side. That was it for offense.

Tempers started to flare at the end of the third.

There were a couple of near-fights in the final minute, but nothing official.

Bomber's coach Mike Reagan was booted with seven seconds to go for arguing with officials, and then the fans took their cue and made life very difficult for the North Stars as they skated towards the lockerroom.

A majority of the pestering from the Flin Flon faithful could be described as competitive, spirited heckling. However there were also some instances where fans used extreme vulgarity to taunt the Stars, and some took a step further and challenged the Star's (players and coaches) physically.

Security was eventually able to quell the crowd and things simmered to a halt without incident. .

With the loss, the Stars fall to 13-15-1-1 and remain in fifth place in the Bauer conference. The Stars return home for two nights, and are then back on the road Tuesday through Saturday.

Next up, the Yorkton Terriers on Tuesday night.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stars - Bombers Preview.

Tonight the Battlefords North Stars finish off a three-game road swing at the Whitney Forum in Flin Flin. Its the first time the Stars have played in Flin Flon since February 13th; an unforgettable game for all involved. Only one point separates these two rivals and once again fans can expect a good one tonight!


Record: 14-11-1-0


Mike Regan's team has won five straight and are starting to really come together. Last night at home, the Bombers spanked Notre Dame 8-2.

Who's Up Front:

Six days ago in North Battleford, Deven Stillar was a one-man wrecking crew for Flin Flon. Stillar scored three times for the Bombers in their 4-1 win against the Stars. Stillar has 32 points in 24 games and leads his team in scoring.

Who's on D:

Both Tanner Korchinski and David Roper are in the midst of solid seasons in Flin Flon. Korchinski leads the D in scoring with 15 points while David Roper is one back of him. The Bomber D-core moves the puck well and they are not afraid to block shots.

Who's in Goal:

PJ Musico is the reigning SJHL goaltender of the week and was lights out against the Stars last Sunday. He is 12-8 with a .915 save percentage and a GAA of 3.24. Of course Mike Regan could decide to go with Randy Graham who is 1-4 with an .899 save percentage and a 4.08 GAA.


The crowd. Few crowds can match the intensity of the Whitney Forum. The fans are passionate, knowledgeable and relentless. If the Bombers can build some early momentum and get the crowd going, they can definitely be a factor in the result. From a players stand-point, Andrew Johnston is a guy who can break free and be a force, and it will be up to the Stars to not only block out the crowd, but also to neutralize Johnston and co.


Record: 13-14-1-1


The Stars got back on track last night with a 4-2 victory in Nipawin. Special teams were once again a key, and will have to be again tonight. A .500 record is on the line for the Black and White tonight.

Who's up Front:

Colin Phaneuf returned to the lineup last night and made a big impact scoring a goal and adding an assist. He a long with Blake Tatchell and Keith Grondin were not at their best last Sunday and will no doubt want to prove themselves tonight in a tough rink against a good team. Keith Grondin is one goal away from his 20th.

Who's on D:

When the Stars D stay within themselves they are brilliant. One through six they were very good last night and will have to be again tonight. Travis Sparrow, Cody Folstad and Woody Klassen will need to play physical and will need to take away the time and space from the likes of Stillar. A strong game from the D will be crucial.

Who's in Goal:

You win and you stay in. Kyle Birch will go again tonight for the Stars. Flin Flon has always been tough on Kyle. If memory serves correctly he has never beaten the Bombers away from home. Will tonight be the night?

X Factor:

Nothing changes from last night. The grinders need to set the physical tone. The Star's first goal last night was a direct result of the Wakelin, Newton, Franks trio out-working their opponents. If the Forwards one though 12 can play another grimy road-game, they could very well be a 500 hockey team by the end of the night.

Stars Clip the Hawks 4-2.

Friday night in Nipawin, the Battlefords North Stars took full advantage of their power-plays and killed seven penalties in a 4-2 victory over the Nipawin Hawks.

Blake Tatchell and Colin Phaneuf both scored on five-on-three opportunities and the penalty-kill was flawless. The Stars finished two for six on the man-advantage while killing all seven power-plays against.

The game was scoreless after one and early in the second, Nipawin drew first blood. Eli Litchenwald out home a Mathew Spafford rebound to earn his 14th of the year. It wouldn't take the Stars long to respond.
The trio of Boyd Wakelin, Robbie Newton and Dan Franks were rewarded for their hard work down low when Franks out home the rebound off a Cris Neurauter point-shot.

Tempers started to flair mid-way through the game when Tim Rollins dropped the gloves with Hawks captain Brant Remenda. The game featured lots of hacking and post-whistle scrums.

Late in the second (19:15), the Stars were given a five-on-three power-play and took the lead when Colin Phaneuf one-timed a Keith Grondin pass by Brody Hoffman.
Halfway through the third period, the Stars were given another five-on-three and again made no mistake. Blake Tatchell put home is 15th of the season on a rebound. Brody Luhning took the initial shot from the right point which hand-cuffed Hoffman.

The Hawks responded a few moments later when Mathew Spafford buried a rebound of his own.

Back came the Stars though and Keith Grondin pounced on a Colin Phaneuf rebound and shovelled his 19th of the year past Brody Hoffman.

The Hawks were given a late five-on-three power-play of their own, but the
Star's PK held their ground. The Stars had two short-handed breakaways throughout the game, but neither Samuel Fortier or Tanner Schwab were able to capitalize.

Kyle Birch was solid in goal and made a number of nice saves, especially early.

The victory improves the Star's record to 13-14-1-1 and gives them 28 points on the season. The Stars are now off to Flin Flon for a big divisional match-up with the Bombers who have won five straight.

A game preview will be posted shortly.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stars - Hawks Preview.

After a humbling 8-1 setback last night against La Ronge, the Stars have a chance for some quick redemption. Tonight the Stars visit 'The Cage' in Nipawin for the first time this year, and a big battle with the Hawks awaits. Eight points seperate these teams in the standings, but the Hawks do have four games in hand. A victory for the Stars would no doubt help their confidence heading into Flin Flon tomorrow, and it would also create some more seperation in the division. While not a 'must-win' by any means, tonight's battle in Nipawin should give us a clear idea of where the psyche of this team is at right now.


Record: 7-13-3-1


Doug Johnson's team is 3-6-0-1 in their last 10. They are coming off a 4-0 loss at home to the Notre Dame Hounds last night, and will no doubt be looking for some measure of vengeance after a lopsided loss to the Stars earlier this month.

Who's Up Front:

20-year-old forward Mathew Spafford is the undisputed offensive leader of the Hawks. He's a great skater, with tremendous vision, and he has the type of talent to win a game on his own. He has 25 points in 24 games and will no doubt be a source of concern for Ken Pearson's team tonight.

Who's on D:

Hawk's D-Man Brant Remenda was named SJHL Defenceman of the Week last week for some strong play in his own end. Remenda has really blossomed as a 20-year-old in this league. Statistically his two-assists don't really speak to his capabilities. Remenda will definitely be a 'go-to guy' for Doug Johnson tonight.

Who's in Goal:

Former Midget AAA Star Brody Hoffman has a record of 7-10-1 and has been a real gamer for the Hawks. Hoffman is a big-bodied netminder who can be extremely difficult to beat when he's on top of his game. The last time he faced the Stars, he didn't get didn't get a lot of help, and was yanked early in the second period in favor of Stephen Klein. I'd expect Hoffman to get the call tonight given the game's importance, but Johnson could very well decide go with Klein, who is still searching for his first win in the SJHL.


Eli Lichtenwald is having a fine rookie season in Nipawin. He is second in team scoring, and is firing at a point-per-game pace. The 18-year-old is an authentic power-forward who can also skate and read the play very well. He leads the team in goal-scoring with 13. The sky is the limit for him, and the Stars will need to silence him if they want to find success tonight at The Cage.


Record: 12-14-1-1


Very little went right for the North Stars last night in Stanley Mission. They key for Ken Pearson's team tonight? A short memory. Forget about the blowout, and focus on the task at hand. The Stars have still won four of their last six, and given their recent success it is easier to justify last night's performance as simply an off-night.

Who's Up Front:

Colin Phaneuf sat out last night's game after having some dental-work (root canals) done earlier in the week. Ken Pearson said yesterday that Phaneuf 'should' be good to go for tonight and if so, he'll big a welcomed addition to the Stars lineup. Phaneuf is second in team scoring with 35 points and can be a real 'spark-plug' for the Stars when they seem to be lacking emotion. A big night from Phaneuf and his linemates Blake Tatchell and Keith Grondin could go a long way for the Stars on the road tonight.

Who's on D:

I look at tonight's game as a real opportunity for the Star's collective core of defenceman to proove themselves. Anybody who watches this team with regularity knows that the six regular defencemen (when at their best) can play at an extremely high-level. When they veer away from the simple play is when they get into trouble. It all comes down to 'picking one's moments' a little better. I am all for defenceman pinching in and keeping pucks alive in the offensive-zone, but it has to be in the right circumstance. There is not one particular defenceman that I am going to focus on tonight. If they Stars win, it will be thanks to the efforts of all six or seven back there.

Who's in Goal:

After an 8-1 loss last night for Graham Hildebrand, it would make sense that it's Kyle Birch's turn. If it is Birch that gets the nod, he's won his last three starts, and is one win away from a .500 record on the season. Given his struggles at the start of the season, I'd call that a pretty good accomplishment. Birch is 5-6 with an .870 save percentage and a GAA of 4.80.


The absense of Tony Oak in the lineup has left the Stars lacking in the size department. Tonight it will be important for the likes of Samuel Fortier and Robbie Newton to make their presence known physically. After last week's 3-2 win in Melfort, Blair Atcheynum pointed out that "In his two best games, Robbie has fought." If the Stars can dictate the physical tone of this game, they'll find success. Robbie Newton and Samuel Fortier need to be the two that really initate that tonight.

You can catch tonight's game live on CJNB/CJNS starting at 7:15 with the Sask-Tel Pregame Show. Talk to you soon!

Any thoughts?

Ice Wolves 8 - Stars 1

Thursday night in Stanley Mission the Battlefords North Stars fell 8-1 to the defendinn champs from La Ronge. Travis Eggum scored four goals while his linemates Marc-Andre Carre and Doug Lindensmith also had big nights offensively.

The Stars opened the scoring mid-way through the first period when Travis Cech potted one from the slot.

Moments later Travis Eggum tied it, and then Doug Lindensmith made it 2-1 Ice Wolves.

The Wolves scored early in the second on a power-play (Carre) and added two more (Eggum and Herauf) in the first 3:26, and before you knew it, the score was 5-1.Eggum added one more in the second to complete the hat-trick and La Ronge led 6-1 after two.

Eggum added a fourth in the third and
Phil Cliché scored with 17 seconds left to make it an 8-1 final.

The victory moves La Ronge into first place in the Bauer Conference. The Stars remain in fifth with a record of 12-14-1-1.

The Stars are off to Nipawin for a big four-pointer against Nipawin. The Hawks trail the Stars by eight points in the Bauer Conference but they do have four games in hand.

You can expect a preview posted on the blog sometime this afternoon.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Great News for Two North Stars.

The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) announced today the roster for Team West at the 2010 CJHL Prospects Game. The sixth annual CJHL Prospects Game will be played on December 7-8 at Credit Union Place in Dauphin, Man.

Team West is composed of players from the CJHL's five western leagues, which include the British Columbia Hockey League, Alberta Junior Hockey League, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Manitoba Junior Hockey League and Superior International Junior Hockey League.Player selection is a joint initiative of the CJHL and NHL Central Scouting.

Team West includes eight players from the BCHL, four from the SJHL, four from the MJHL, three from the AJHL and one from the SIJHL.

Team East and Team West will each consist of two goaltenders, six defensemen and twelve forwards.

The roster for Team East will be announced on Friday, November 26.The CJHL Prospects Game was created to showcase the top 40 NHL draft eligible players in the CJHL.

The event includes a two-game, total goal series between Team East and Team West, which is well attended by local hockey fans, NHL scouts, and representatives from Canadian and American colleges and universities.


Jan Obernesser* AJHL, Brooks

Jason Kasdorf* MJHL, Portage


Sam Jardine* AJHL,

Luke Madill AJHL, Drayton Valley

Josh Roach SJHL, Humboldt

** Brody Luhning SJHL, Battlefords **

Eric Walker* BCHL, Trail

Michael King* BCHL, Westside


Mitch VanTeeling, MJHL Dauphin

TJ Constant MJHL, OCN

Aaron Hadley BCHL, Vernon

Destry Straight* BCHL, Coquitlam

Shane Gingera MJHL, Winnipeg Saints

Sam Mellor* BCHL, Trail

Mitchell Deacon* BCHL, Coquitlam

Madison Dias BCHL, Victoria

Lucas Froese SJHL, Melville

** Kyle Hall SJHL, Battlefords **

Joey Baker* BCHL, Trail

Austin Adduono SIJHL, Wisconsin*

Earlier this month, 19 players from the Canadian Junior Hockey League were identified on the NHL Central Scouting "Players to Watch" list for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Nine players on the Team West roster were amongst those recognized.Five alumni of the CJHL Prospects Game have been selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, including Kyle Turris (BCHL), Riley Nash (BCHL), Beau Bennett (BCHL), Joe Colborne (AJHL) and Dylan Olsen (AJHL). Eleven Canadian Junior Hockey League players were selected in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.The 2010 CJHL Prospects Event will be hosted by the Dauphin Kings Junior A Hockey Team and Destination! Dauphin.

Game 1 of the series will played at Credit Union Place on Tuesday, December 7 at 7 p.m. CT, with Game 2 to follow on Wednesday, December 8 at 7 p.m. CT.

A two-game ticket package will be available for only $20 (adults), or single-game tickets can be purchased for $12 (adults) and $5 (students). Scout packages, which include tickets to both games and lounge access with snacks and non-alcohol beverages, will be available for $30. Game tickets and VIP packages are available at Dauphin Kings home games and the CUP North Ticket Office.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Recent North Star Photos.

*All Photos By: Julie Larson (*

Stars Dawn Pink Jerseys for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Kyle Hall Would Later Score.

The Star's Convert.

Chris Neurauter Moves the Puck Out Against Flin Flon.

Blake Tatchell Takes it For A Skate.

Birch Denies a Humboldt Shooter.

Tanner Schwab Completes the Gordie Howe Hat-Trick.

Stars Celebrate One of Their Seven Goals.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


One month removed from a humbling 11-1 loss in Humboldt, the Stars bounced back with a 7-4 victory over the Humboldt Broncos. Kyle Hall scored three goals and Tanner Schwab had a Gordie Howe Hat-Trick for the Stars.

Hall opened the scoring at the nine minute mark of the opening frame. Hall banged home a rebound off a Cody Folstad point-shot. Humboldt would tie it on a nifty effort from Justin Buzzeo. Buzzeo was initially denied on a breakaway by Kyle Birch, but he grabbed his own rebound, and worked his way back into the goal-mouth area and scored.

At the end of 20 minutes, the Stars were outshooting Humboldt 17-12 and had lots to feel good about.

Early in the second period, momentum shifted into Humboldt's favor. Nick Keller scored on a power-play which gave Humboldt a 2-1 lead. Seconds before Keller scored, Star's netminder Kyle Birch was badly interfered with, but did not get a call. 61 seconds later the Broncos made it 3-1 on a nice finish from Taylor Johnson.

The Stars bent, but did not break. Tanner Schwab scored a greasy one 64 seconds later to make it 3-2, and Kyle Hall's second of the night came on a power-play at 16:14 to tie the score.

Heading into the third period, it seemed like we were in for another back-and-forth affair. Only one team got the memo.

The Stars made it 4-3 early in the third on a Woody Klassen shot from the high-slot. Travis Cech added another one to the Star's total 1:12 later to give the Stars a 5-3 lead. Blake Tatchell's 14th of the season came 1:09 after that one and all of a sudden it was 6-3. Kyle Hall's third of the goal came at 5:19 to make it 7-3.

Another third period highlight included Tanner Schwab fighting Logan Sproule to complete his Gordie Howe Hat-Trick.

The Broncos made it 7-4 on a late power-play goal from Adam Zbitniff.

Kyle Birch made several big stops for the Stars and earned his third straight victory in the process. He stopped 32 of 36 shots faced. Andrew Bodnarchuk had a tough night on the other side, stopping 33 of 40 shots.

The Star's power-play finished one for four, while Humboldt tallied twice on five opportunities.

The Stars improve their record to 12-13-1-1 while Humboldt falls to 16-9-0-1.

Up next for the Stars, a three game road-swing which sends them to Stanley Mission Thursday night for a battle with Bob Beatty and the La Ronge Ice Wolves. Friday the Stars are in Nipawin, and then they'll wrap up their trip Saturday in Flin Flon.

Friday and Saturday's game will be broadcast live on CJNB/CJNS.


The Stars have traded goaltender Alex Sirard to Melville for future considerations.


Well North Star Nation - How did that one look and feel? Any predictions for the road-trip?

Stars - Broncos Preview.

The North Stars have one final home-game in November before heading out on the road for three games in three nights. Tonight they'll welcome the Humboldt Broncos to town. It'll be the fourth meeting of the year between these two teams, and the Stars are 1-1-1-0 against Humboldt this year. The last time these teams met though was October 23rd when Humboldt beat the Stars 11-1 in Humboldt.

Record: 16-8-0-1


The Humboldt Broncos are coming off a mixed weekend. Friday night at home, the Broncos beat Estevan 9-4 at home, but followed that up with a 3-2 loss to Flin Flon on Saturday. The Broncos now only hold a one-point lead on La Ronge in the Bauer Conference, and are only two points ahead of Melfort as well.

Who's Up Front:

The Killer B's of Humboldt have established themselves as the toughest, most consistent line in the entire SJHL. Justin Buzzeo (45 points) and Jeremy Boyer (37) points are one and three respectively in the SJHL Scoring Race. Spencer Braaten has 27 points in 25 games, and has complimented Boyer and Buzzeo exceptionally well since joining that line on a full-time basis. As these three go, the Broncos seem to go. A big night from these three tonight would go along way in helping Humboldt win.

Who's on D:

18-year-old defenceman Josh Roach has tallied 23 points on the season, and is the undisputed offensive-leader of Humboldt's blue-line. Roach is steady at both ends of the ice, and will likely log a lot of ice-time against the Star's top players. The rest of Humboldt's 'D' are not overly intimidating offensively, but they boast some solid defensive options with Gabe Minville, Kenton Valliant and Tanner Clark.

Who's in Goal:

Hard to say who Dean Brockman will chose to go with tonight. Andrew Bodnarchuk is the clear number one, and has a solid record of 10-5-0-1. The 18-year-old Matt Hyrnkiw is 6-3 and gives Brockman a solid backup option. So far in three games, Bodnarchuk has played them all for Humboldt against the Stars.


Former North Star forward Ward Szucki will play his first game at the North Battleford Civic Center since a summer trade sent him to Estevan. Szucki has solid sophomore season in the SJHL and has 17-points through 20 games.

Record: 11-13-1-1


The Battlefords North Stars had a four game winning streak come to an end Sunday at the hands of the Flin Flon Bombers. Tonight the Stars welcome the Broncos for the second time this season.

Who's Up Front:

Keith Grondin is the SJHL Player of the Week and has four goals in his last four games. Grondin has thrived all season playing alongside Colin Phaneuf, and Blake Tatchell and these three will need to be at their best tonight against one of the top teams in the SJHL. This came may ultimately come down to Grondin's line vs. Buzzeo's line and which can bring the better effort.

Who's on D:

Woody Klassen now leads all SJHL defenceman in scoring with 24 points in 26 games. Klassen will be charged with playing a physical, and dependable game against Humboldt. A few big checks from Woody Klassen would go along way in helping the Stars find success. It would also help the crowd get into it.

Who's in Goal:

Graham Hildebrand started Sunday against Flin Flon and lost. Meaning my money is on Kyle Birch tonight. Birch has won his last two games, and will no doubt want another shot at Humboldt after a tough outing on the 23rd of October. Ken Pearson may opt to go with Hildebrand though, who beat Humboldt in Humboldt earlier in the season, and was dominant in doing so.


Defensively the Stars cannot afford to make mistakes tonight. Ken Pearson said that Saturday's win against Weyburn was the team's best defensive effort of the year. They'll need to draw on the strengths of that game, and bring a similar effort. If the Stars can keep the Bronco's top guns off the score sheet, they stand an excellent chance to win the game. If defensive miscues are made, then a victory becomes a lot tougher.

Grondin Named P.O.W. And More.

Battlefords North Stars forward Keith Grondin has been named the Sherwood SJHL Player of the Week. Grondin scored four goals in four games, and added two assists to his total. He was a key contributor in the three North Star victories scoring in all three games. Grondin leads the Stars in goals with 18, and is tied with Woody Klassen for fourth in team scoring.


Last night on the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix I spoke with North Star's 20-year-old forward Colin Phaneuf. Phaneuf has really thrived in the Battlefords playing on a line with Blake Tatchell and Keith Grondin, and is certainly a candidate for the team's M.V.P. award at this point of the season.

If you missed the interview, you missed a good one. Phaneuf is a very well spoken individual, and has had a different career then most. He started in Winnipeg as a 16 and 17-year-old playing for none other than Ken Pearson. After a successful season as a 16-year-old, Phaneuf suffered his first of a lengthy string of injuries that would ultimate bring him to the point of questioning whether he'd ever play the game again.

"I tried staying as positive as possible," said Phaneuf. "There were definitely some days where I felt like I wouldn't play again. But thankfully that's not the case, and I'm here now."

Phaneuf added this his recent off-season got off to a tough start. He said, "To be honest, the only coach I heard from was Kenny (Pearson). All of the other coaches figured I was done playing. Me and Kenny kept in touch the whole time that I was injured, and I called him, we chatted and the rest is history."

A truly compelling interview, and I think it's great that Phaneuf has landed on his feet and is healthy, and happy in the Battlefords.


A Humboldt - Battlefords preview will be posted shortly.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stars Streak Snapped by Flin Flon.

Deven Stillar could not be stopped Sunday afternoon at the North Battleford Civic Center. The Flin Flon forward tallied three goals, and led the Bombers to a 4-1 victory over the Battlefords North Stars.

After a scoreless first period, Stillar scored on a power-play 52 seconds into the second period to give his team a 1-0 edge. Stillar's second came at 15:27 after a point-shot from Tanner Korchinski was re directed to Stillar who was waiting in the high-slot. He completed the hat trick at 6-:53 of the third period on a break-away.

Chris Neurauter grabbed the Star's lone goal at 10:11 on a power-play.

Jesse Mychan scored into an empty-net with 61 seconds left to complete the scoring.

The Stars did not lose for lack of chances. They fired 35 shots on Bomber's netminder P.J. Musico. In addition they hit at least two goal-posts and fired a few shots wide from close-range. With the victory, the Bombers improve to 12 11-1-0 and return to fourth in the Bauer Conference. The Stars fall to 11-13-1-1 and are alone in fifth.

Up next for the Stars, a meeting at home against the Humboldt Broncos. Puck drops 7:30 Tuesday night form the North Battleford Civic Center.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bombers - Stars Preview.

Two teams with two winning streaks go head-to-head at the Civic Center this afternoon. The Stars and Bombers have built up quite a rivalry over the years, and today's matchup will be the first of six this season.

Record: 11-11-1-0


A week removed from a terrible loss at home to La Ronge, the Flin Flon Bombers have won two straight games. Friday night the won in La Ronge, and followed it up with a 3-2 victory in Humboldt yesterday. Mike Regan's team trails the Stars in the Bauer Conference by one point, and if the season were to end today, it would be Flin Flon facing the North Stars in the post-season.

Who's Up Front:

The Bombers have a ton of skill up front, and can come at you in waves. Ryan Fox leads the way with 27 points in 23 games. Deven Stillar sits second in team scoring with 23 points in 21 games and Andrew Johnston is another offensive threat that cannot go ignored.

Who's on D:

Defensively the Bombers are coming around. Offensively they are led by Tanner Korchinski who has 13 points in 21 games. Second year defenceman David Roper is having a solid season as well at both ends of the ice. Roper has 10 points for Mike Regan's club.

Who's in Goal:

PJ Musico started for Flin Flon yesterday and won in Humboldt. Does that earn him another start this afternoon? Or does Mike Regan go with Randy Graham? Musico is 11-8 while Graham is 0-4.


Historically Deven Stillar has been VERY good against the Battlefords North Stars. The 20-year-old is averaging more than a point per game this season and could be due for a breakout game today in the Battlefords.

Record: 11-12-1-1


After losing their first seven games of the season, the Battlefords North Stars have now put themselves into a situation where they can be a .500 hockey team again at the end of this weekend. They have won four straight, and are scoring lots while improving their overall defensive game.

Who's Up Front:

Not one particular player stood out offensively in yesterday's win against Weyburn. Nobody had more than a single point. But Flin Flon will certainly need to key in on the usual three. Blake Tatchell, Colin Phaneuf and Keith Grondin are on fire right now. Grondin scored another power-play goal in last night's game, and could be poised to do the same today if Flin Flon doesn't stay disciplined.

Who's on D:

The North Star's core of defence has to be feeling pretty good about themselves. They kept a strong Weyburn team in check with only 26 shots against and two goals. Offensively they made their contributions as well. This afternoon I look for another strong outing from captain Chris Neurauter who continues to put up close to a point per game.

Who's in Goal:

Given the fact that it's Parents Weekend I would highly suspect that either Graham Hildebrand or Alex Sirard will get the call in goal today. Kyle Birch played last night and won, so he'll likely get today's game off. Hildebrand's last victory came Thursday night against Estevan. Sirard's last win came two Sundays ago against Melfort.


Physicality. The Bombers have played two games already this weekend and will no doubt be feeling some effects of fatigue. If the Stars can use their size and wear down Flin Flon physically, they could be a .500 hockey team when all is said and done.

I realize that the football game is on TV this afternoon, but this team has been playing awfully well as of late, and they deserve your fanship today. Hope to see you there!