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.