Sunday, January 31, 2010

Weekend Photos (January 30th and 31st)

*** All Photos Taken By Julie Larson ***

January 30th.

Save of the Year?

One of my Personal Favourites. (Click to Enlarge)

Wall Tips it In!

Klassen Battling.


January 31st

SJHL Player of the Week????

What a Weekend for Szucki!

Klassen vs. Lorenz.

Jesse Removes Some Debris.

Stars Wrap up January With Another Win.

What a month for the Battlefords North Stars!

Sunday night in North Battleford, the North Stars scored five times in the third period, and defeated the Nipawin Hawks 9-4. Chad Filteau and Ward Szucki both scored twice, and the Stars finished January with a fantastic record of 9-2.

Ward Szucki (13) opened the scoring just 14 seconds into the game after pouncing on a Dane Muench rebound and stuffing it by Ryan Kerpan's left pad. The Hawks would quickly tie the game on the power-play when David Skagen converted on a beautiful pass from Matthew Spafford.

The Stars grabbed a 2-1 lead when Chad Filteau (20) skated across the Hawks blueline and blasted a slap-shot by Ryan Kerpan. Shortly thereafter the Hawks would tie it again. This time it was Spafford who received a pass from Jonothan Ceci and roofed it on Graham Hildebrand.

The Stars would take their third and final lead of the hockey game at 13:06 when Ward Szucki (14) scored his second of the game. Szucki's goal was a direct result of Dane Muench's great effort behind the Hawks net to set him up.

Cody Folstad (5) made it 4-2 at 16:33 of the second after Josh Daley did most of the dirty-work and fed him beautifully.

Nipawin hung around when former North Star Skyler Dunser received a breakaway pass from Scott Brkich and somehow finessed the puck through Hildebrand. After forty minutes, the Hawks were making a strong case for themselves and were playing a really inspired, gritty game.

The second period featured a couple of fights, the highlight included a spirited tilt between Woody Klassen and Jeff Lorenz. Klassen took a few good licks, but certainly held is own.

The third period belonged to the home team. Brett Miller (18) scored 1:12 into the third and from there, the wheels came off the Nipawin defence. Shay Neufeld (12) scored 36 seconds later on a softer-looking wrist-shot which somehow found it's way through Ryan Kerpan.

Colin O'Hara pulled Ryan Kerpan in favor of Brody Hoffman, and Hoffman fared no better. Dane Muench (9) scored a greasy, unassisted goal on a rebound from Hoffman at 2:20 of the third.

Josh Daley (20), and Chad Filteau (21) would add goals for the Stars and by the 10:13 mark of the third, the Stars led 9-3.

Matt Guerts scored for Nipawin at 12:03 to make the final score 9-4.

The Stars outshot Nipawin 40 - 29.

Graham Hildebrand earned his fourth straight win, and made some nice saves in the third period to keep Nipawin at bay. The win moves the Stars within six points of the Flin Flon Bombers.

The North Stars now have four days of practice before they take the ice in Estevan on Friday night. The Stars will then head to Weyburn for Saturday and then to Notre Dame on Superbowl Sunday.

All three of those games will be heard on CJNB/CJNS.

Hawks - Stars Preview (January 31)

Tonight's matchup between the Stars and Hawks will be the sixth and final meeting between these two teams during the regular season. The Stars are 3-2 against Nipawin this year, and a victory tonight will give them a season series victory over their Bauer Conference foes.

Record: 19-21-6-1 (Sixth in the Bauer Conference. Four points back of Humboldt in the Bauer Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

Six days ago, the Battlefords North Stars did a fantastic job of keeping one of the best players in the SJHL off the score-sheet. Matt Spafford was held pointless, and often looked frustrated on the ice. Spafford a long with Tanner Dusyk and Alex Leclerc will no doubt be counted upon to perform better tonight, as the Nipawin Hawks look to close the gap between themselves and the Humboldt Broncos.

Who's On D:

Hawk's captain Cory Hodgins had a good game last Tuesday, and will have to be even better tonight on the back end. Hodgins has some offensive upside, and is very reliable in his own zone. A good game from Hodgins defensively should help set up the Hawks nicely at the other end.

Who's in Goal:

Ryan Kerpan was sensational last Tuesday. If not for Kerpan, the 3-1 Stars victory would have been more lopsided. Kerpan has no shortage of confidence, and he's very familiar to the Civic Center. However, don't be surprised if Colin O'Hara throws a bit of a curve-ball and starts Brody Hoffman.


Defensively, the Nipawin Hawks as a whole need to be better than they were on Tuesday night. The guys I'm looking too in particular include: Scott Brkich, Patrick Howey and Brant Remenda. If Nipawin can cut down on the shots on goal against them, they'll be right there with the Stars tonight.

Record: 28-16-1-2 (Second Place in the Bauer Conference. Eight points behind Flin Flon for first.)

Who's Up Front:

Dane Muench is coming off a fantastic game last night. Fantastic in the sense that he didn't score any goals, but he set up three and was dangerous everytime he was on the ice. Muench looked good alongside Blake Tatchell and Ward Szucki last night, and it was good for Szucki to score after a bit of a slump.

Who's on D:

Jesse Lebreton is making a strong case for himself as a back-to-back winner of SJHL Defenceman of the Week. Last night he scored once, and added an assist on Blake Peake's goal. Lebreton continues to go about his business, and is making a strong case for a possible Player of the Month Award. We've come to expect a lot from Jesse over the past three years, and he hasn't dissapointed.

Who's in Goal:

Graham Hildebrand comes into tonight's game riding a three-game winning streak. 'Hildy's' confidence is at an all-time high right now, and he played extremely well Tuesday night against Nipawin. Also judging from how well Kyle Birch played last night, it looks as if both North Star netminders are starting to get hot at the right time.


My three x-factors tonight are Blake Peake, Josh Daley and Shay Neufeld. This line cycled the puck so well last Tuesday against Nipawin, and were all able to use their speed and strength to their advantage. Another big night from these three, and the Stars look good to wrap up January with a 9-2 record.


Cody, Matt and I are on the air starting at 7:15 tonight with the Sask-Tel Pregame Show. I'm also happy to report that as of tonight, every single North Star's game for the remainder of the season will be on the air (including playoffs).

Enjoy the game tonight. Hopefully tonight's crowd can rival the 1020 of last night!

Stars Win Again at Home (4-3 over Notre Dame).

Saturday night at the Civic Center in front of 1020 fans, the Battlefords North Stars defeated the Notre Dame Hounds 4-3. Dane Muench led the way with three assists, and Kyle Birch made some key stops early to keep the game close.

The game was scoreless after one but the Hounds and Stars traded chances back and forth. Thomas Williams had the best chance of the period, but Kyle Birch denied him point-black and kept it tied.

The Stars opened the scoring at 4:29 of the second period when Mitch Wall (11)deflected home a Dane Muench point-shot on the power-play.

Muench wasn't done. At 11:29 of the second, he set up Jesse Lebreton for his twelth goal of the season.

The Hounds kept coming, but Kyle Birch continued to deny them. Andy Smith, Travis Janke and Trevor Milner all had great chances to score, but were turned down.

The Stars grabbed a 3-0 lead 48 seconds into the third period when Dane Muench (again!) made a super pass to a streaking Ward Szucki, who received the pass, and beat Russell Abbott five-hole for his 12th of the season.

But true to form, the North Stars made it interesting themselves. The Hounds got on the board at 8:53 when Trevor Cameron scored. Blayne Stevenson made it 3-2 at 14:55, and it looked as if momentum had totally turned for the worse.

But Blake Peake answered the bell. Peake scored his 25th goal at 18:19, and scored what would turn out to be the game-winning goal.

The Hounds made it 4-3 late when the Stars failed to clear their own zone, and Andy Smith grabbed a Travis Janke rebound and roofed it.

Kyle Birch made a couple of late saves which kept the Stars on top. After the game during his Hot Stove interview, Kyle Birch jokingly said that he made all of those saves on purpose.

Birch and Muench were easily the two best players on the ice for the Stars who improved to 28-16-1-2 with the win. The Stars trail Flin Flon by eight points in the Bauer Conference standings but have two games in hand on first place Flin Flon.

Up next for the Stars: The Nipawin Hawks, tonight at 7:30. The game will be broadcast tonight on CJNB/CJNS starting at 7:15.


The Melfort Mustangs were also winners on Saturday night, and in the process moved ahead of La Ronge into third spot in the Bauer Conference standings. Both teams have 56 points on the year, but Melfort still has three games in hand.


Tonight's game against the Hawks is a really important one for both teams! At this stage, is there a single game in the SJHL that isn't important? A win for Nipawin tonight would inch them within two points of that final playoff spot in the Bauer Conference, and they'd still have a game in hand on Humboldt.

A desperate hockey team is a dangerous thing, and the Stars are going to have to be careful against Nipawin tonight. I'll post a game preview later tonight before the game.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hounds - Stars Preview - January 30th. (And More..)

30-12-1-4 (Second Place in the Sherwood Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

The Hounds boast two of the best offensive players in the SJHL in Travis Janke (72 pts) and Kyle Ireland (57 pts). These two are seemingly scoring at will right now, and show no signs of slowing down heading down the stretch. The Stars did a great job Tuesday night keeping Matt Spafford off the score sheet, but they'll have to be even better tomorrow. If not, than whoever is in goal is going to be VERY busy.

Who's on D:

Defensively the Hounds are a very underrated team. 20-year-old defenceman Blayne Stevenson anchors a defense-core that isn't terribly offensive, but they're great in their own zone. David Lerner and Carson Grolla are two other d-men who can strike hard at both ends of the ice.

Who's in Goal:

Matthew Smidt and Russell Abbott have proven to be a very reliable tandem for coach Darren Evjen. Both have a GAA under three, and their save percentages are almost exactly the same. Whowever gets the call gives the Hounds a great chance to win.


Tough call here, but the likely x-factor is 17-year-old rookie Trevor Cameron. Cameron is third in team scoring with 40 points, and has been under the radar of several pro scouts already. Cameron can do it all, and has proven to be a fantastic weapon for the Hounds this season. If the Stars can stop Cameron, and neturalize Janke and Ireland, then they'll have a good chance.

Record: 27-16-1-2 (Second Place in the Bauer Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

Depth has been a real strength for the North Stars all season long, and it will have to continue to be their strength if they want to make a real run at a league title. Brett Miller has seemed to have found his scoring touch, and will once again be one of the 'go-to' guys tomorrow night. His linemates Mitch Wall and Chad Filteau should be able to match the Ireland, Janke threat. At least on paper.

Who's on D:

Since Grant Fahnhorst arrived in the Battlefords, they're 7-1. A coincidence? I think not. Fahnhorst has provided a ton of defensive stability to the Star's back-end, and has even provided a little bit of offence recently. Fahnhorst's main role though is to shut-down the opposition, and no doubt he'll see a lot of time on the ice against Janke, Cameron and Ireland. A solid game from Fahnhorst and his D-Partner Coleman Brodbin will go a long way in allowing the Stars to keep their home winning streak alive.

Who's in Goal:

This won't be decided until tomorrow in the morning. I'll leave this one alone for now.


The North Star's penalty-killers. Wall, Oak, Neufeld, Peake, Filteau, Tomac. The Hounds are so deep up front, and if given too many chances on the power-play they'll burn you. A strong effort from the PK, and the Stars are looking good.


It's an important weekend for the Stars. If they can win both games, plus get some help from teams facing Flin Flon, it's not impossible for the Stars to still make a run at first place in the division. Heading into the weekend, the Stars are eight points back of the Bombers with a game in hand. A long shot? Yes. Impossible? No. The Stars have two games left against Flin Flon before the playoffs, and if they can bridge the gap to within four points before that road trip, we'll be in for some exciting hockey in mid-February.


The La Ronge Ice Wolves are in some trouble. A one-point road-swing has opened a door for the Melfort Mustangs.

The Ice Wolves are currently one-point back of the Stars for second in the Bauer Conference, but have played six more games. The Wolves lead the Mustangs by four points for third place, but Melfort has played five fewer games.

If the Mustangs can win just two of their games in hand on the Ice Wolves, they'll find themselves in third.

Granted a lot of hockey remains this season, but after all of the hype about a possible Stars/Wolves playoff series, wouldn't it be something to see the Stars and Mustangs go head-to-head?

I love this time of year because it puts all sorts of different scenarios into perspective.

I leave you with this question:

Would you rather face Melfort or La Ronge in the first round? Share your reasons in the comment section below. Lets get a debate going here. If we reach five comments on this entry, I'll more than happily share my thoughts publically as well.

Hope to see you at the rink this weekend. Lets fill the place!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Stars Return to Second Place with Win over Nipawin.

Tuesday night at the North Battleford Civic Center, the Battlefords North Stars defeated the Nipawin Hawks 3-1. Blake Peake scored twice, while Brett Miller added a single for the Stars.

Early on it was the Ryan Kerpan show. The Nipawin netminder (and former North Star) made a TON of key saves, and for awhile it looked as if the Stars wouldn't be able to beat him. Enter Blake Peake(22), who one-timed a Josh Daley pass through Kerpan at 12:16 of the first period.

The Stars out-shot the Hawks 15-9 in the first period, and at least 10 of those shots were quality chances.

The Stars increased their lead at 6:32 of the second period on Blake Peake's(23) second of the night. Peake grabbed a Shay Neufeld rebound and lifted a backhand over Kerpan to give the Stars a 2-0 lead.

The Hawks would inch within one late in the second thanks to a nifty two-on-one play setup by Jonothan Ceci. Ceci threw a nice pass to Jeff Lorenz, who then skated in two-on-one with Matt Guerts. Stars defenceman Grant Fahnhorst did his best to sprawl onto the ice and intercept the pass, but the puck slid underneath him to Guerts, who deked Hildebrand to make it 2-1.

The third period did not get off to a good start for the Stars. Nathan Tomac and Josh Daley took early penalties, and the Stars were then dinged for too many men on the ice. But Nipawin couldn't seem to get set up.

The Stars weathered the storm, and then grabbed a 3-1 lead off a terrible turnover from Kyle Brkich. Brkich threw the puck right up the middle, onto the stick of Grant Fahnhorst, who then sent a low shot towards the net. Brett Miller grabbed the puck, and roofed a backhand for his 17th goal of the season.

In the end, the Stars outshot Nipawin 41-23, and went 1-4 on the powerplay. Nipawin went 0-7 on the man-advantage.

Stars netminder Graham Hildebrand grabbed his third straight victory and lowers his already impressive GAA and save percentage.

With the Stars victory and the Ice Wolves losing 8-2 in Humboldt, the Stars sit alone in second place in the Bauer Conference with four games still in hand on La Ronge.

Up next for the Stars, a Saturday night battle with the Notre Dame Hounds.


Personal thoughts:

It was a great night at the Civic Center. The crowed seeme bigger for a Tuesday, and the Stars made very few mistakes.

All four lines provided great pressure down low in Nipawin territory, and the Nipawin defence at times seemed unwilling and unmotivated to get dirty with the Stars in the corners. There wasn't a single passenger on the Star's bench tonight.

The Stars did a fantastic job tonight of holding the Spafford, Leclerc, Dusyk line off the score sheet. Before the game, I highlighted the statistics of Spafford and Leclerc, and they had an enormously difficult time getting going tonight.

I'm looking forward to the next Hawks-Stars matchup on Sunday night.

Hawks - Stars Preview (Jan 26)

First though, a couple of table topics:

- Congratulations to Jesse Lebreton for winning SJHL defenceman of the week.

- Sadly, the Puck N' Funny Event which was scheduled for this Friday has been cancelled by the team. The ticket sales were not going well, and we needed at least 400 seats sold to gain a profit. I'm not sure of the exact figures, but I know that heading into this week we were not even close. It's great dissapointing, given the fact that it would have been a great fundraiser for the team, and those commedians are always hilarious.

- It was a close finish, but Nathan Tomac beat Woody Klassen by four votes to be the North Star Nation's winner of the Unsung Hero vote. (Bare in mind, that that poll likely has NOTHING to do with the year-end award.) Aren't polls fun?

- Due to an uploading error, the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix didn't air last night, and to any of you (Dad) who were dissapointed in the accidental re-run, I sincerely apologize.

Now lets get down to business. We have a pretty important hockey game tonight, and I feel it neccessary to preview it!

Record: 19-19-6-1 (Sixth Place in the Bauer Conference. Two back of Humboldt for the final playoff spot.)

Who's Up Front:

One of the best stories of the year (in my opinion of course) has to be Matthew Spafford (90). The former North Star listed player has had a fantastic season as a 19-year-old in this league. Spafford leads the team with 55 points (21 goals) and is a consistent threat whenever he's on the ice. What's even more impressive about Spafford is the fact that he's been able to accomplish this success playing with a ton of different line combinations. Spafford is easily the biggest offensively threat on this team, but that doesn't mean that they don't have other weapons that can burn you.

Who's on D:

Scott Brkich (90) has very quietly had himself a great season. He's only got two goals, but his 23 assists is incredible. Add the fact that he's big, and dependable, and Colin O'Hara has a tremendous asset on his hands.

Who's in Goal:

In all likelihood we're going to see former North Star netminder Ryan Kerpan between the pipes tonight for Nipawin. If memory serves correctly I don't think that Kerpan has ever lost to the North Stars when he's faced them. Kerpan has beaten the Stars twice already this year, and seems to really 'get up' for games against his former squad.


Former North Star's forward Alexander Leclerc continues to have himself a fantastic final season in the SJHL. Leclerc is second in the team in scoring with 37 points, and has drawn rave reviews from his head-coach and his teammates. Leclerc was one of the more popular players when he played here, and Ken Pearson has made it no secret that trading 'Peps' was one of the toughest trades he's had to make this year. If Leclerc can have a big night, the Hawks will have a great chance at victory.

26-16-1-2 (Tied for second in the Bauer Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

It's great to see the line of Chad Filteau, Mitch Wall and Brett Miller starting to catch fire. Last weekend in La Ronge, all three players scored goals, were by far the most consistent line during the road-trip. If they can continue to thrive together and develop some chemistry, it could be a long night for Kerpan and the Hawks.

Who's on D:

Who else but Jesse Lebreton? The reigning SJHL Defenceman of the Week is coming off a five-point week, and in my opinion he could have had a few more. He's proving to everybody that he's one of the best all-around blueliners in the league, and just continues to get better with age.

Who's in Goal:

Graham Hildebrand gets the go for the Stars tonight. Graham will be seeking his third straight victory, and will be looking to improve upon some already excellent numbers this season.


It has not been an easy week for forward Josh Daley. Daley was battling a big case of the flu during the Northern road-trip, and admittedly wasn't himself. He struggled Saturday night to keep up with his linemates, but knowing Josh, I'm sure that he'll bounce right back tonight and have a great game against Nipawin. Daley has proven to be one of the most consistent players in the league this year, and a big night from him and the Stars may be alone in second place when all is said and done tonight.

Enjoy the game tonight, and don't be a stranger!


Monday, January 25, 2010

O'Hara and NHLer Jordan Hendry on Sports Fix Tonight!

Tune in tonight at 8:00 on CJNB/CJNS or to hear a lengthy interview with former Battlefords North Star defenceman Jordan Hendry who is now enjoying his third season in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Tonight I'll also be talking with the head-coach and GM of the Nipawin Hawks, Colin O'Hara. O'Hara's Hawks are here twice this week to face the North Stars, and we'll recap what has been a crazy season in Nipawin for coach Colin.

***Photo Taken from Nipawin Hawks Website at***

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stars Split with Wolves Up North.

The Battlefords North Star's six-game winning streak was snapped last night by a hungry Ice Wolves team.

Saturday night in Air Ronge, the Battlefords North Stars dropped a 4-2 decision to the La Ronge Ice Wolves, and are once again tied with them for second place in the Bauer Conference standings.

Liam Brennan scored short-handed for the Wolves 1:55 into the game, and never really looked back. On their very next shot, the Wolves made it 2-0 thanks to Mike Alexander.

Early in the second period the Stars drew within one thanks to a power-play tally from captain Mitch Wall (9). On their very next shift, the Wall, Filteau, Miller line sniped again. This time it was Filteau, who skated across the blue-line and wired a slap-shot past Adam Bartko.

For the third straight time, the Wolves had let a two-goal lead slip away against the North Stars. This time though, the Wolves would reverse the trend.

39 seconds after Filteau's goal, Aaron DeCorby scored somewhat of a controversial goal to make it 3-2 Wolves. It looked like Kyle Birch had the puck covered up, but because there was a delayed penalty, the referee didn't feel like Birch had total control. A scrum around the net ensued, and DeCorby managed to scoop it into the net for his 24th goal of the year.

The teams then continued to trade chances, but overall the Ice Wolves were the more consistent squad.

Ben Findlay scored in the middle of the third period to give the home team 4-2 lead that they would not relinquish.

Things got heated towards the end of the contest, as several fights took place. The highlight fight was Brody Malek and Dustin Stevenson's tilt, which saw both combatants land several nice blows.

The season series now ends between the Stars and the Wolves with the Stars winning it with four wins. The teams are now dead-even in the standings with 55 points, but the Stars do hold four games in hand on their northern rivals.

Up next for the Stars, a Tuesday battle with the Nipawin Hawks at the Civic Center. The puck drops at 7:30.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Six Straight for the Stars

Friday night in La Ronge, the Battlefords North Stars came back from a 3-1 defecit to defeat the Ice Wolves 6-5 and moved into sole possession of second place in the Bauer Conference.

The Stars opened the scoring at 4:58 of the first period when Dominic Perrault (4) followed up a Mitch Wall shot, and banged home a rebound.

The Ice Wolves would tie the score late in the first thanks to a wrist-shot through traffic from Taylor Pillar. Just over a minute later Mike Alexander beat Graham Hildebrand from the right point and La Ronge took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

Early in the second, the Ice Wolves struck again. Leo Lecourciere threw a saucer pass to Liam Brennan who knocked the pass out of the air, and then shoveled the puck underneath Hildebrand to give the home team a 3-1 lead.

The Stars made it 3-2 thanks to Mitch Wall's ninth goal of the year. Moments later Jesse Lebreton (11) tied the score at three.

The Stars took the lead with 4:50 left in the frame. Grant Fahnhorst (1) grabbed his first goal in the SJHL after sneaking his point shot past Joel Danyluk.

Early in the third period, Woody Klassen 6) scored a gorgeous 'spinoramma' type of goal to give the Stars a 5-3 lead.

Doug Lindensmith would score with roughly five minutes left for La Ronge to make it a 5-4 game, but Brett Miller scored moments later to give the Stars their two-goal lead back.

Aaron DeCorby made things interesting with his second of the game with 41 seconds to go, but Graham Hildebrand shut the door in the final 41 seconds, and the Stars earned their sixth straight win.

With the victory, the Stars took over second place in the Bauer Conference, and still have four games in hand on the Ice Wolves.

The Stars won the game without the benefit of a single power-play. The Ice Wolves went 0-1 on their man-advantage.

Up next for the Stars? The Same Ice Wolves tonight! A win for the Stars would give them a tremendous edge moving forward into the home-stretch of the season.

Catch the Sask-Tel Pregame Show tonight at 7:15.


A fantastic game last night at the Mel. The Stars showed some great perseverance, and are currently in the midst of their longest winning streak in three years.

The Stars and Ice Wolves match up really well, and I can't help but think that these two teams may meet in the post-season.

Both teams have speed, skill and good goaltending, but the Stars have a really good chance to damage the phsyche of the Wolves with a victory tonight.

Tonight's game is the final regular season meeting of the year between the clubs, and a win for the Stars would give them a 5-1 record against La Ronge during the regular season.

Either way the Stars win the regular season series, but I can't even begin to imagine how fun the bus ride home will be if the Stars can get four points this weekend.

I guess time will tell. Hope you enjoy the call tonight, and thanks (as always) for reading and listening.



Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tomac, Perrault, Szucki "Chill Out and Read" At McKitrick.

Wednesday afternoon in North Battleford, North Star's forwards Ward Szucki, Nathan Tomac and defenceman Dominic Perrault spent the afternoon at McKitrick School "Chilling Out and Reading."

"Chill Out and Read Week" is an annual event held at the school which promotes reading, and the three North Star's high-fived a lot of youngsters and read some stories from famed author Robert Munch.

I accompanied the three boys to the school and snapped some pics.

'Dom' was a Hit with the Kids!

Nathan Tomac Got the Comfy Couch.

Szucki Reads to Some Well Behaved Youngsters.

Fans and parents should feel very proud of these three. They represented the organization very well, and made the most of their opportunity to spend time with local youth.

The players gave away some North Star tickets and tattoos to the kids as well. Great job fellas!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

January 19th Photos

*** All Photos Taken By Julie Larson ***

A big night for Chad Filteau.

Szucki Goes At It With Badura.

Oak Shows some Mercy on Denton King.

Birch with the Save of the Game.

Stars Win Their Fifth Straight, 7-1 over Melfort.

A forgetful night for the Mustangs, yet a memorable one for Star's forwards Blake Peake and Chad Filteau. Peake netted a hat-trick and Filteau scored his first two as a North Star in a 7-1 victory for the Stars over the visiting Melfort Mustangs.

Woody Klassen (5) opened the scoring at 13:50 of the first period on a point-shot that went through the legs of Mustang's D-Man Lee Christiensen and goaltender Chris Ward.

Late in the first period, the Stars got into penalty trouble, and Kyle Birch at one point was using Cody Folstad's hockey-stick to defend a 5-3 Melfort power-play, but the 'Stangs were unable to capitalize and the period ended with the Stars up 1-0.

The second period was all Battlefords. Blake Peake (20) scored his first of the game at 2:49 of the frame on a breakaway. Brody Malek (7) scored his third goal in three games at 11:49. Then Chad Filteau (18) and Blake Peake (21) added goals within the next three minutes to put the Stars up 5-0 after 40 minutes.

Halfway through the third, Blake Hietela scored for Melfort on a power-play, but Peake (22) and Filteau (19) would add scores for the Stars, and the game ended with a 7-1 final.

The Stars finished 3-7 on the power-play, and netminder Kyle Birch made 34 saves in the victory.

The win for the Stars moves them into a second-place tie with the La Ronge Ice Wolves. As luck would have it, the Stars are in La Ronge this weekend for a back-to-back series which could very well decide which of the two teams gets home-ice advantage in the playoffs.

This weekend is going to be incredibly exciting, hope you're able to be a part of it somehow.

Mustangs - Stars Preview

Record: 21-16-2-4 (Fourth in the Bauer Conference. Three Points Behind the North Stars.)

Who's Up Front:

Now that Devon Stillar has departed the Mustangs, they seem better. I know, what a weird concept. But rather than having one 'go too guy' the Mustangs now need to win by committee, and that approach is just fine with their current group. Forward's like Todd Chinova, Blake Hietela and Brant Harris are all gamers and can all be difference makers. Todd Chinova in particular has looked good against the Stars this year.

Who's on D:

Darrell Mann has made a couple of additions that have already had a great impact on the Mustangs. Joe Babey and Josh Martin have both stepped in and provided some solid support for the likes of Harrison Tribble and Lee Christiensen. For me, the player to watch is Harrison Tribble. He's the power-play glue now that Stillar is gone, and if the Stars don't stay disciplined it could be a long night.

Who's in Goal:

Chris Ward was excellent in his last appearance against the Stars, and the popular belief would be that he would get the start tonight. Ward's numbers are good: A save percentage of .914% and a GAA of 2.73.


Tonight's x-factors comes from North Star music man Neil Gamble. For the Mustang's he's choosing Gary Childerhose, and why not? He's the reigning SJHL Player of the Week, and has a real nose for the net. If the Stars can't contain him, they're in trouble.

Record: 24-15-1-2 (Third Place in the Bauer Conference. Two Points behind La Ronge for second.)

Who's Up Front:

The hottest line for the Battlefords North Stars is the line featuring Blake Tatchell, Dane Muench and Brody Malek. Muench and Malek scored on Saturday, and that trio were also on the ice for Woody Klassen's goal in the third period. The Stars are going to need solid contributions from these three again, a long with steady offense from the others. The early word is that Josh Daley is out of the lineup tonight due to a cold, so everybody else is going to need to 'sack up' and make up for his offence.

Who's on D:

Brody Malek's game-tying goal on Saturday was a direct result of a fantastic body-check thrown by Dominic Perrault. Perrault is one of those high-risk, high-reward type of players and when he's on, he's great. If Perrault can continue to execute big plays in his own zone, the rest will follow.

Who's in Goal

Kyle Birch gets the call tonight for the Stars. He played very well on Saturday night, and will look for his fourth victory in a row. With Birch starting tonight, that leads me to believe that Hildebrand will get the call Friday night in La Ronge.


Tonight's x-factor is again a choice of Neil Gamble, and he chose Chad Filteau. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Chad's first game is done and over with, and now he can just put his head down and play. A big night from Filteau could be the difference in a divisional game like this.

CJNB/CJNS won't be carrying the game tonight, but if you do want to check out the game from out-of-town - CK 750 in Melfort is carrying the station. You can get the link via the Melfort Mustang's website. I'll be doing color with Darryl tonight.

Enjoy the game!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January 16 Photos

*** All Photos Taken By Julie Larson ***

Brett Miller Cuts Through the Middle.

Birch Makes the Save.

Muench Scores a Gorgeous Goal!

Stars Complete the Comeback.

Stars Come Back To Beat the Wolves 4-3

It was a playoff atmosphere at the N.B. Civic Center.

Saturday night at the Civic Center, the Battlefords North Stars and La Ronge Ice Wolves gave the local fans something to remember for a long time.

The Stars came back from a 3-1 defecit and defeated the Ice Wolves 4-3 in a shoot-out.

The game did not start well for the Stars. They fell down 2-0 early in the first (goals by DeCorby and Conacher) and seemed slow, sloppy and un-inspired.

Things quickly changed at the start of the second. Dane Muench (8) scored one of the prettiest goals I have ever seen when he dragged the puck through the Wolve's D-man, and then roofed one by Joel Danyluk to make it 2-1.

The Stars nearly tied it on the next shift when Blake Tatchell had a point-blank chance and just missed on a low wrist shot.The Stars had their legs going again, and seemed poised to tie the score.

But then The Wolves scored a 'funny' one late in the second. Dayton Fossum took a wrist-shot off a faceoff which careened off Kyle Birch, off the back-glass, then back off Birch again and into the net.

Five minutes into the third, the Stars bridged the gap.Again it was Blake Tatchell, Dane Muench and Brody Malek who did the dirty-work and Woody Klassen (4) finished off the play with a gorgeous point-shot that found it's way through.

The Stars would rely on the Muench, Tatchell, Malek line once more in the late stages of the third period.

Dominic Perrault threw a timely body-check in his own zone which forced a turnover, which brought the Stars back in the other direction.

After a great sequence of passing, Brody Malek found himself all alone in front of the net and buried his second chance on Danyluk to tie the game at 3.

The Stars were then given a power-play late in the game but were unable to take advantage. Tempers were starting to flare as Tony Oak and Dustin Stevenson were getting in each others face. Fans were loud, and helped push the Stars over the edge.

Overtime solved nothing and the shootout was needed.

In round two Brett Miller scored for the Stars, but Fustin Stevenson scored immediately afterwards for La Ronge.

Rounds three, four and five solved nothing. Then Shay Nuefeld took the ice for the Stars. On his first shoot-out attempt of the year, Nuefeld buried one over the left shoulder of Danyluk.

Kyle Birch made an impressive pad save on the following Ice Wolve attempt, and the victory was sealed.

The win gives the Stars 24 on the year and moves them within two points of the Wolves in the Bauer Conference standings.

Up next for the Stars, a battle with the Melfort Mustangs on Tuesday night at 7:30 from the Civic Center.

*** Pictures will be posted later. ***

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Stars and Wolves Preview.

Are you ready for the most important game of the season to date?

RECORD: 23-16-3-3 (2nd Place Bauer Conference.)

Who's Up Front:

As far as the Ice Wolves are concerned, nothing has changed. Doug Lindensmith and Ben Findlay are still two of the top point-producers in the SJHL. Doug Lindensmith has scored 21 goals this year, and always seems to save his best for when the North Stars are involved. If Lindensmith has a big night, the Ice Wolves will likely find success.

Who's on D:

Mike Alexander has been an incredible find for Bob Beatty and the Ice Wolves. He leads all defencemen with 45 points in 45 games. He is DEADLY on the power-play and holds his own in his own zone too. Factor in Kirk Moore, Colton MacPhearson and Dustin Stevenson, and the Ice Wolves may have the best top-four defencemen in the league.

Who's in Goal:

Either way you slice it, you're going to get a battle. North Battleford's Adam Bartko has had a tremendous season in La Ronge, and could be considered the favourite to start tonight simply based on the fact that he's from here. But Joel Danyluk has proven to be an extremely solid acquisition as well by the Wolves.


Former Estevan Bruin's forward Liam Brennan has joined the Ice Wolves and has looked excellent. Brennan has recorded 8 points in five games since joining La Ronge from Estevan. Brennan has found a niche on a line with Travis Eggum and Aaron Enns. If the BEE line gets going, the Stars could be in for a long night.

Record: 23-15-1-2 (3rd Place Bauer Conference)

Who's Up Front:

Last night it was Blake Tatchell and Dane Muench who led the way offensively for the Stars. These two younger forwards both chimed in with goals, and both were of the highlight reel variety. Muench's breakwaay goal would proove to be the difference, and if these two can continue to play well at both ends of the ice, the Stars will be able to match the Ice Wolves lines one through four.

Who's on D:

The North Stars MUST be physical tonight of they want to win. Tonight I look to Coleman Brodbin and Grant Fahnhorst to shut-down the top line of the Ice Wolves. A good night from these two defensively will go a longway in ensuring success for the Stars in the win column.

Who's in Goal:

Barring some unforseen circumstances, Kyle Birch will go tonight for the Stars.


North Star's forward Tony Oak is my pick tonight. Oak scored the OT winner against La Ronge the last time they were at the Civic Center, and his toughness will be a tremendous asset tonight if the Stars are going to find success.

Only three points seperate these two teams heading into the game tonight. A win for the Stars and they're only one point back with four games in hand.

You'd better be fired up.

January 15th Pictures

*** All Photos Taken By Julie Larson ***

Stars Prepare for Battle.

Klassen Ponders His Next Move.

Hildebrand Shuts the Door.

Muench Scores the Game Winner.

Three in a Row.

Stars Hold Off Terriers 3-2

Friday night at the North Battleford Civic Center, the Battlefords North Stars scored three goals in the second period, and defeated Yorkton 3-2. The victory moves the Stars within three points of the La Ronge Ice Wolves with four games still in hand.

The Stars fell behind 1-0 early in the second period as rookie defenceman Austin Bouhris opened the scoring for Yorkton.

Mid-way through the second period, the Stars tied it thanks to a fantastic goal from Blake Tatchell(7) at 10:09 of the second period. Two minutes later Josh Daley notched his 19th goal of the year, and the Stars had a 2-1 lead.

Late in the second, Dane Muench (7) forced a turnover and scored a gorgeous break-away goal to give his team a 3-1 lead.

The Terriers made it interesting early in the third on a power-play when Jordan Menke scored 1:53 in on a power-play. The Terriers then continued to bring on the pressure, outshooting the Stars 9-2 in the final 20.

Graham Hildebrand finally got enough goal support, and made several key stops in the second and third period and the Stars earned their third straight victory.

Over 800 strong came out to support the Stars in their pink jerseys. Those jerseys are being auctioned off today. Last year the Stars raised over $2000 towards breast cancer research, and this year they're hoping to do even better than that.

Tonight's game with the La Ronge Ice Wolves is incredibly important. A win for the Stars, and they're only one point back of the Wolves for second place in the division with four games still in hand.

What I guess I'm trying to say is, is that if you're going to attend just one game this year, tonight's game is probably a good one to consider.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Terriers / Stars Preview

Tonight, the Battlefords North Stars are dawning their pink jerseys in support of breast cancer research. Afterwards, the jerseys are going to be auctioned off, and all proceeds will go towards the Pink Warrior Foundation. Tonight's game is an important one for the Stars who could move within three points of La Ronge with a victory tonight.

Record: 19-20-3-0

Who's Up Front:

The Terriers added three 20-year-old forwards at the deadline and all are expected to make an impact in Yorkton down the stretch. Fans in the Battlefords may recognize the name Kyle Miller. Miller played Midget AAA in the Battlefords alongside Mitch Wall, and is a grinder with some offensive upside. I look at a guy like Miller to have a big night in a sort-of homecoming in the Battlefords.

Who's on D:

While the Terriers may lack some finish up front, their d-core is one of the best in the league. 17-year-old Austin Bouhris can do it all. He's got 17 points on the year, all while playing sound defensively in his own zone.

Who's in Goal:

It's another strong area of strength for the Dogs. Devin Peters and Luke Boechler are a strong tandem, who both boast impressive numbers. Given his appearance in the All-Star game last night, one would think that Devin Peters would get the start tonight, but choosing the starting goaltenders is always a crap-shoot.


Terrier's forward Torey Stott always plays well against the North Stars. He also happens to lead the team in scoring. A big night from Stott would go a long way in helping Yorkton get a win at the Civic Center.

Record: 22-15-1-2

Who's Up Front:

North Star fans MUST be excited about the prospect of watching the likes of Brett Miller and Mitch Wall return to the lineup. Wall hasn't played since December 4th due to a broken jaw, and Miller has missed a similar amount of time since his stint in the Western Hockey League with Chilliwack. The return of these two give the North Star's offence two more valuable weapons. I look for these two to make an impact tonight.

Who's on D:

Woody Klassen and Jesse Lebreton have a great battle going on for the team's scoring lead among defenceman. Heading into tonight's game Lebreton has a one-point edge on Klassen with 22 points. Look for both of these players to make an impact at both ends of the ice tonight.

Who's in Goal:

EDIT: Just got word that Graham Hildebrand will be getting the start for the Stars tonight.


I know I'm not alone when I say that i'm stoked for Chad Filteau's debut in a North Star uniform. Filteau will likely serve as the centerman between Wall and Miller, and I know that these three are capable of great things.

Enjoy the game tonight. Any and all predictions are welcome.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Olympic Torch Passes Through North Battleford.

Tuesday afternoon, thousands gathered throughout the Battlefords to watch the 2010 Olympic Flame pass through. I had the privilege of watching the festivities go down from the Civic Center on 'Media Row.'

I could tell you about it, but I think I'd rather show you.

***All photos taken by Julie Larson except the first one***

Julie with one of the mascots!

Fiona Smith-Bell's family is out in full support.

Some Really Cool Stage Art.

Fiona Lights the Cauldron!

The Relay Continues!


I've been fighting a cold all day, and initially I wasn't too stoked on the idea of being out in the cold for a few hours this afternoon - But after witnessing the festivities, I came away totally wowed, totally impressed and really fired up for the upcoming Olympics.

Did you take in the event? What did you think?

Monday, January 11, 2010

David Lawrence Leaves the Team.

Sad news out of North Star Nation today. One day after the SJHL trade deadline, the North Stars have announced that 20-year-old forward David Lawrence (Calgary, AB) has left the team for personal reasons.

"We want to thank David for his brief time here, and we wish him all the best in the future," said North Star's coach and GM Ken Pearson this evening.

Lawrence's departure leaves the North Stars with 13 forwards, seven defencemen and two goaltenders heading down the stretch.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stars Acquire Chad Filteau from Estevan.

**Photo courtesy of the Estevan Bruins website.**

The Battlefords North Stars have officially put themselves into championship contention.

The Battlefords North Stars have acquired F Chad Filteau (89) and F/D Kyle Hall (92 - Midget AAA with Tisdale) in exchange for F - Ryan Andersen (90), F - Justin Waskewitch (92), the SJHL rights to D - Koltyn Miller (91) and future considerations.

In Filteau, the Stars acquire a 20-year-old forward who provides speed, skill and experience. Filteau has scored 16 goals this year, and has also added 28 assists for 44 points. His numbers would likely be more impressive had it not been for a shoulder injury that he suffered earlier in the season.

Parting with Andersen and Waskewitch was likely not an easy thing for Ken Pearson to do. Andersen was in the midst of a breakout season with the Stars and has tallied 25 points so far this year. His speed, strength and aggressiveness will no doubt be a great benefit to Kerry Biette's program in Estevan.

Waskewitch is incredibly skilled, and will likely be an offensive force for the next several years of his junior hockey career. He's scored five goals this year for the Stars in a limited role.

Filteau will be arriving in the Battlefords tomorrow (Sunday) and will practice with his teammates for the first time on Monday.

Photos From January 8

*** All Photos Taken By Julie Larson ***

Congrats Graham! Player of the Month.

Another solid game for Kyle.

Lawrence Had a strong night.

Great Shot of Tatchell's Goal.