Monday, November 29, 2010

Luhning on the Sports-Fix Tonight.

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

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

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


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

Some November highlights included:

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

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


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

The bottom line is this:

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

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

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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bombers Top the Stars 5-3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tempers started to flare at the end of the third.

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

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

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

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

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

Next up, the Yorkton Terriers on Tuesday night.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stars - Bombers Preview.

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


Record: 14-11-1-0


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

Who's Up Front:

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

Who's on D:

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

Who's in Goal:

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


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


Record: 13-14-1-1


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

Who's up Front:

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

Who's on D:

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

Who's in Goal:

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

X Factor:

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

Stars Clip the Hawks 4-2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A game preview will be posted shortly.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Stars - Hawks Preview.

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


Record: 7-13-3-1


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

Who's Up Front:

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

Who's on D:

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

Who's in Goal:

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


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


Record: 12-14-1-1


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

Who's Up Front:

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

Who's on D:

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

Who's in Goal:

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


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

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

Any thoughts?

Ice Wolves 8 - Stars 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Great News for Two North Stars.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Jan Obernesser* AJHL, Brooks

Jason Kasdorf* MJHL, Portage


Sam Jardine* AJHL,

Luke Madill AJHL, Drayton Valley

Josh Roach SJHL, Humboldt

** Brody Luhning SJHL, Battlefords **

Eric Walker* BCHL, Trail

Michael King* BCHL, Westside


Mitch VanTeeling, MJHL Dauphin

TJ Constant MJHL, OCN

Aaron Hadley BCHL, Vernon

Destry Straight* BCHL, Coquitlam

Shane Gingera MJHL, Winnipeg Saints

Sam Mellor* BCHL, Trail

Mitchell Deacon* BCHL, Coquitlam

Madison Dias BCHL, Victoria

Lucas Froese SJHL, Melville

** Kyle Hall SJHL, Battlefords **

Joey Baker* BCHL, Trail

Austin Adduono SIJHL, Wisconsin*

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Recent North Star Photos.

*All Photos By: Julie Larson (*

Stars Dawn Pink Jerseys for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Kyle Hall Would Later Score.

The Star's Convert.

Chris Neurauter Moves the Puck Out Against Flin Flon.

Blake Tatchell Takes it For A Skate.

Birch Denies a Humboldt Shooter.

Tanner Schwab Completes the Gordie Howe Hat-Trick.

Stars Celebrate One of Their Seven Goals.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

Stars - Broncos Preview.

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

Record: 16-8-0-1


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

Who's Up Front:

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

Who's on D:

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

Who's in Goal:

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


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

Record: 11-13-1-1


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

Who's Up Front:

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

Who's on D:

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

Who's in Goal:

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


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

Grondin Named P.O.W. And More.

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


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

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

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

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

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


A Humboldt - Battlefords preview will be posted shortly.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stars Streak Snapped by Flin Flon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bombers - Stars Preview.

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

Record: 11-11-1-0


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

Who's Up Front:

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

Who's on D:

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

Who's in Goal:

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


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

Record: 11-12-1-1


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

Who's Up Front:

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

Who's on D:

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

Who's in Goal:

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


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

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

Stars Win Their Fourth Straight.

Ken Pearson called it the most complete effort of the season. The Battlefords North Stars scored three unanswered goals in the third period, and defeated the Weyburn Red Wings 5-2 in front of 784 fans at the Civic Center. Goaltender Kyle Birch made 24 of 26 saves, and five different players scored for the Stars who wore pink uniforms in support of breast cancer research.

Keith Grondin opened the scoring on a first-period power-play. Brock Appleyard quickly countered for Weyburn and the teams were tied 1-1 after one.

Early in the second period, Shayne Morrissey grabbed the Stars their lead back with his seventh of the season. Shortly thereafter Shawn Cowie tallied for Weyburn, and the teams skated into the second intermission tied at two.

The third period belonged to the Battlefords. Blake Tatchell notched a power-play marker at 9:04 of the third period, and Travis Cech added his sixth in the final two minutes to give the Stars some insurance. Kyle Hall's eighth was scored into an empty net, and the Stars were winners.

The Stars outshot Weyburn 40 - 26 and finished two for five on the man-advantage. The Red Wings went scoreless on two power-play attempts.

Statistically not one player in particular stood out for the Stars. No player tallied more than a single point.

The Stars will look to keep the winning streak going Sunday afternoon against the Flin Flon Bombers. It's a 2:30 puck drop from the Civic Center.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Red Wings - Stars Preview.

The Battlefords North Stars and Weyburn Red Wings will meet for the final time in the regular season tonight in the Battlefords. The Stars are 1-2 against Weyburn this year. The last time they met at the Civic Center was back in September, and it wasn't a memorable game for the Stars as they fell 7-1.

Record: 11-11-0-1


Some nights Weyburn is brilliant. Other nights they battle consistency issues. Last night in Kindersley Weyburn dropped a 4-2 decision.

Who's Up Front:

Drew George is the most dangerous offensive weapon in the Weyburn arsenal. The 19-year-old has tallied 23 points in just 16 games. George recently returned from Penticton after a fourth place finish with Canada West in the World Junior A Challenge. Keeping George off the score sheet will be key for the Stars.

Who's on D:

TJ Wees is the top offensive option from Weyburn's back-end. Wees has 11 points (all assists) so far this season. Weyburn's defence may lack finish, but they certainly don't lack size. Dwight McMillan's blueline play a smart, team game and can be very difficult to beat down low. If the Red Wings get an early lead, it could be a long night for the Stars forwards.

Who's in Goal:

Mitch Kilgore was excellent for Weyburn the last time the Stars faced the Red Wings. Kilgore's numbers are impressive: 8-7-1 with a 2.91 GAA and a .902 save percentage. When he's on his game, Weyburn is extremely difficult to beat.


Coltyn Sanderson may be the mid-season favourite for Rookie of the Year. Sanderson leads Weyburn in scoring with 24 points in 22 games. He's big, moves fast, and has a lot of confidence with the puck.

Record: 10-12-1-1


A win tonight for the Stars would give them their longest winning streak of the season. The Stars have won their last three with the latest victory coming Thursday night at home against Estevan. The Stars would no doubt love to hand it to Weyburn tonight given the result of their last meeting at the Civic Center.

Who's Up Front:

Heading into tonight's game Colin Phaneuf and Blake Tatchell are tied for the team lead in scoring with 33 points each. Tatchell is coming off a big night against Estevan where he scored the game winner in overtime. If the trio of Blake Tatchell, Colin Phaneuf and Keith Grondin continue their strong play, it could be a long night for Weyburn.

Who's on D:

The Battlefords North Stars have imrpoved defensively in recent weeks, but they still have some work to do. Offensively speaking the blue-line has been a huge contributor. Woody Klassen has 23 points in 24 games. Brody Luhning has 20 points in 20 games, and Chris Neurauter has 17 points in 18 games.

Who's in Goal:

A tough decision for Ken Pearson to make given the fact that both Graham Hildebrand and Kyle Birch have won their last starts. Does he throw a curve-ball and start Alex Sirard? Or does he keep riding Kyle Birch and/or Graham Hildebrand. My money is on the latter option.


The Star's grinders will need to play well tonight. Weyburn's defence can definitely hold their own in the defensive-zone, and if the Stars want to win they'll need to be the quicker, hungrier team. I look at Tony Oak to have a breakout game tonight.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stars - Bruins Photos (Nov. 17)

*All Photos By Julie Larson*

Graham Hildebrand Makes a Great Save.

Woody Klassen Had a Big Night.

Travis Cech Goes for a Skate.

Schwab Pursues the Puck.

Stars Win One for the Ages.

Thursday night in the Battlefords, the North Stars won an absolute thriller against Estevan. Woody Klassen tied the game with less than a second remaining in regulation, and Blake Tatchell netted the O.T. winner at 4:41 of overtime to give the Stars their 10th victory.

Estevan led 1-0 after one. Mark Cross notched his 10th of the year at 18:19 to give the visitors the early edge.

The Stars bounced back in the second period with three of their own. Tim Rollins (6) Keith Grondin (17), and Brody Luhning (7) all tallied for the home team, which sent the Stars into the second intermission with a 3-1 lead.

At 5:55, the Stars made it 4-1 on Woody Klassen's power-play goal. From then on, things got wild.

The Bruins made it 4-2 on a weird goal from Kyle Johnson. The puck was seemingly underneath the pad of Graham Hildebrand, and the referee's whistle blew. Once the whistle had blown, the puck crossed the goal line, and the ref signalled goal. Ken Pearson was livid, and got tossed from the game.

Estevan then made it 4-3 on a Luke Stubel shot from the high-slot at 15:37, and then tied it at 19:03 on an unassisted marker from Troy Hunter. It went from bad to worse for the Stars when Ryan Andersen notched his 21st of the year 19 seconds later. All of a sudden a 4-1 lead turned into an almost certain 5-4 loss.


With 3.3 seconds left on the clock, the Stars had a face-off to the right of Shea Cooper. The faceoff was won cleanly back to Woody Klassen who fired a low-shot that went through the legs of several players and through Shea Cooper. Tie-game with .8 seconds left on the clock. The Civic Center went from deep sadness to utter jubilation in the span of two seconds!

Overtime went back-and-forth and in the final minute, Cody Folstad poked a puck by a pinching defenceman, and Keith Grondin skated in with Blake Tatchell two-on-one. Grondin's pass got to Tatchell and he roofed it on Shea Cooper to seal the deal and give the Stars their third straight win.

The Stars outshot The Bruins 42-41 and finished one for five in the man-advantage.

Up next for the Stars, a battle with Weyburn Saturday night at the Civic Center.

Bruins - Stars Preview.

Tonight it's an opportunity for pay-back. The Battlefords North Stars welcome the Estevan Bruins for the first time this season to the Civic Center. These teams have squared off twice already this year in Estevan with the Bruins taking both games. The last time these teams met was on Tuesday, November 9th when Estevan beat the Stars 6-5. Ryan Andersen scored in the final minute to complete the comeback for Estevan.

Record: 14-6-1-1 (Second In Sherwood Conference)


The Estevan Bruins have won two straight. Last night in Kindersley the Bruins beat the Klippers 5-4 in regulation. Ben Findlay scored with a second remaining in the third to seal the deal for Estevan. They are a team without a notable weakness. They have strong goaltending, consistent D and a group of forwards that can come at you in waves.

Who's Up Front:

Former North Star Ryan Andersen will be playing his first game at the North Battleford Civic Center since the January 9th trade that sent him to Estevan. Andersen shares the SJHL lead in goals with 20. He also has 14 assists which puts him fourth overall in the SJHL's scoring race behind Justin Buzzeo, Doug Lindensmith and Marc Andre Carre. Ryan Andersen will no doubt be extra jacked up for tonight's game given the fact that he's playing in his old barn.

Who's on D:

Ty Arris had a big night for Estevan against Kindersley last night. He scored twice, and will be looked to again tonight to provide Kerry Biette with some big-time minutes. Combine Arris with the likes of Joel Kot, Brent Rock, Dominic Perrault, Tyler Spencer and Lucas Stubel and you've got a pretty impressive group of defencemen.

Who's in Goal:

Joel Danyluk is 2-0 against the Stars this season, so he would be my pick. But Kerry Biette may opt to dress Shea Cooper based on the fact that Estevan heads to Humboldt tomorrow for a battle with the Broncos.


Two other former North Stars are no doubt excited for tonight's game. Dominic Perrault and Justin Waskewitch will also be back at the Civic Center for the first time since being dealt down south. Waskewitch is enjoying a fine season offensively, while Perrault has helped supply Kerry Biette with some more size and physicality on the back-end. I look for a strong game from both of these former North Stars.

Record: 9-12-1-1 (Fourth in the Bauer Conference)


The Stars are coming off a 3-2 victory in Melfort last night. It was the first road victory for the Stars since October 19th. Home has been a different story for the Stars who have won their last three games at the Civic Center.

Who's Up Front:

On November 9th in Estevan the Stars got goals from each line except the line of Blake Tatchell, Keith Grondin and Colin Phaneuf. These three front and center in the North Star's attack last night, and I look for them to be big contributors tonight against Estevan.

Who's on D:

Defensively one through six, the Stars were excellent against Melfort. The Stars did a fine job of taking away passing lanes and did an especially good job of clearing traffic away from Kyle Birch. Offensively Cody Folstad chipped in with his fourth of the year, and the Stars continue to get balanced offensive production from several members of their blueline.

Who's in Goal:

With three games upcoming in the next four nights, it would seem logical that all three would get a game. Kyle Birch beat Estevan last night, so I wouldn't neccessarily expect him to get another start tonight. Does Ken Pearson go with the former Bruin Alex Sirard? Does he give Graham Hildebrand a chance to redeem himself against Estevan after Tuesday's loss? Either way, Stars fans have to feel pretty good about their options.


Robbie Newton played his best game as a North Star last night. Newton fought, threw his weight around, and even had a few scoring opportunities. The trio of Shayne Morrissey, Boyd Wakelin and Newton will no doubt be looked upon to create some energy tonight against a tough Estevan team.

Tonight's game will be shown live on Access 7 Television starting at 7:15.

Two Quick Announcements.

Before I preview tonight's game, I have two quick announcements.

1) Due to poor weather, Mike Stackhouse and company won't be making the trip out to North Battleford for tonight's live SJHL Game of the Week. Access 7 has asked me, and I have accepted the responsibility to call the action tonight on T.V.

2) The broadcast which was originally planned for next Tuesday (November 25) in La Ronge has been cancelled. The game is being played in Stanley Mission, SK which is approxomitely 85 kilometres north of La Ronge. After MANY phone calls, and messages left with the local band-office of Stanley Mission, I was told today that there is no phone line nor a proper booth/area available for a broadcast. The unofficial replacement broadcast will take place December 16 when the Stars host Flin Flon on a Thursday night.

The Stars-Bruins Preview will be posted shortly. Hope you can catch the game tonight either live or on TV.

Stars 3 Mustangs 2

Wednesday night in Melfort, the Battlefords North Stars used strong special-teams and even stronger goaltending to earn a 3-2 victory over the Melfort Mustangs on the road.

It was the first road victory for the Stars since October 19th. Blake Tatchell had a three point night and Kyle Birch made 33 saves for his third win of the year

The Stars did get off to a great start. They struggled on two early power-plays, and at one point were being outshot 10-2. Kyle Threndyle opened the scoring at 12:25 of the first period for Melfort.

The Stars tied it shortly thereafter when Blake Tatchell fed Cody Folstad back-door for his fourth of the year. Folstad's goal was scored seconds after Brett Kipling's penalty had ended. Keith Grondin then potted his 15th goal at 18:40 on a power-play to give the Stars a 2-1 lead after one.

Mid-way through the second, the Stars took advantage of another man advantage. Blake Tatchell (initially credited to Keith Grondin) beat Charles Corsi to send the Stars up by two. Melfort bridged the gap late in the period on Jesse Mireau's 15th goal. Kyle Birch made several key stops in the middle frame to keep the Stars ahead.

Another second period highlight was a spirited fight between the Star's Robbie Newton and Melfort's Tyler Bortsmayer.

The Stars killed off two early penalties in the third and were able to hold on for the win.

Up next for the Stars: a home battle with Estevan tonight at 7:30. The game can be seen live on Access 7 starting at 7:15.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stars - Mustangs Preview.

Tonight is meeting number five of the season between the Melfort Mustangs and Battlefords North Stars. The last time these teams met was Sunday, November 7th and the Stars beat them 5-2 at home. A win for the Stars could put them into fourth place in the Bauer Conference, but in order to do so they'll need to solve their road woes. The last time the Stars won on the road was on October 19th in La Ronge.

Record: 13-6-2-2 (Third in Bauer Conference.)


The Melfort Mustangs are red hot. They are 6-2-2 in their last ten games, and are coming off two impressive weekend victories against both Nipawin and Humboldt. They've received stellar goaltending, and have beaten teams with strong depth.

Who's Up Front:

Darrell Mann has three players who are all averaging a point-per-game. Jesse Mireau leads the way with 22 points, and is followed closely by Brody Haygarth and Cole Gibson who are both sitting on 20 points. The Melfort Mustangs don't have one line that can beat you, they have three or four.

Who's on D:

Statistically the Mustang's defense-core is underwhelming, but when you watch closer you'll see that the Mustangs receive plenty of contribution (at both ends) from their D. Lee Christensen leads the way with 10 points, and lots a lot of minutes against the other team's top players. Sam Gilbert has had a strong season at both ends for Melfort as well. Add Mitch Berg and Josh Martin to the equation, and the Stars will have their hands full with a gritty and consistent group of defenceman.

Who's in Goal:

Darrell Mann called Charles Corsi his early-season M.V.P. on Monday's edition of the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix. Corsi leads the SJHL in Goals Against (2.52), and is tied for wins with 12. Corsi got the day off against the Stars when they last met on November 7th, and I'd be shocked to see that happen again.


According to Darrell Mann, Owen Roschuk is the best captain he's ever coached. Roschuk has payed his dues by blocking shots and killing penalties for two years, and now he's finally reaping some reward for his hard-work. The Melfort captain has six goals and 10 assists so far this season, while still being a reliable defensive forward for the 'Stangs. A big night from Roschuk would certainly be a big boost for the Mustangs.

Record: 8-12-1-1 (Fifth in the Bauer Conference)


The Battlefords North Stars are 5-5 in their past 10 games, and are coming off a 7-3 victory over the Melville Millionaires. The Stars are getting better goaltending, and they special-teams continue to improve. But the only way the Stars are going to be able to climb out of fifth is if they start winning more games on the road. The Stars have won just three games away from the Battlefords this season.

Who's Up Front:

Keith Grondin continues to be the Star's top goal scorer. Grondin has tallied 14 times in 16 games since arriving to the Battlefords from Dauphin. He scored twice for the Stars against Melville, and could once again be poised for a big game against Melfort.

Who's on D:

The Battlefords North Stars have four defenceman who have reached double-digits in scoring. Woody Klassen, Brody Luhning, Chris Neurauter and Cody Folstad have chipped in nicely from the back-end. That being said, it's important for these offensive-minded players to pick their moments carefully tonight against a fast-skating Mustang's team that can burn you if you make mistakes.

Who's in Goal:

Kyle Birch was the winner on Saturday night, which makes him the favorite (in my mind) to get the call tonight against Melfort. But Alex Sirard beat Melfort on the November 7th and could be in line for another shot - And Graham Hildebrand has always given Melfort a tough-time. I don't think Ken Pearson can really go wrong with either three in tonight's game.


Travis Cech has been a great addition to the Stars. The 20-year-old has scored five goals, and has seven points through six games with the team. He's provided the Stars with more grit, and some experience and is finally getting a chance to show some offensive skill. If he can continue his offensive pace tonight in Melfort, the Stars will be in good shape.

Tonight's broadcast kicks off at 7:15 from the Northern Lights Palace in Melfort. Matt Ryan will join me in Melfort for the call. Looking forward to chatting with you tonight.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why So Many Kids Are Quitting Junior Hockey - Part 1.

Certainly a riveting topic of conversation. Why are kids so quick to quit Junior A Hockey? As far as I'm concerned, kids are quitting for a number of reasons. Granted each kid is different, and each kid's cicumstances are different too. However when you look closely at some of the possibilities, here are some reasons why I feel kids are quitting:

1) A Lack of Ice Time.

2) A Clash with Fellow Players.

3) A Clash with Coaching Staff.

4) Off-ice struggles/incidents.

5) Parental involvement.

6) Losing one's passion.

Pver the next few days, I'm going to go a little deeper into these six variables and throw out some food for thought and my overall critique of each reason. I'm going to preface these answers with the fact that I never did play Junior A hockey, but I did play competitively for 11 years and I have spent more than enough time behind the scenes in Junior Hockey to feel like my opinion actually stands for something. I'm not saying that I'm right, or I'm wrong. You asked for my take, so here it is. Your comments are always appreciated so long as they are appropriate.

1) When a kid quits due to a lack of ice-time there are a few factors that first need to be considered. Is the kid being sat based on performance, numbers or due to off-ice problems? If a player performs poorly by taking a bad penalty, turning the puck over often or simply not putting forth the neccessary effort consistently, I have ZERO problem with the coach sitting him or her, no matter their age or reputation. It's a coaches job to win, and if he feels like he needs to bench player X in favor of player Y, then who am I or who are we to question it. The only people who can legitimately question the decision of the coaching staff are the coaches themselves, and the Board of Directors who ultimately write the checks for coaches. Call me 'old school' but if when I see a player get benched or scratched, my immediate response is:

"Next time out (either at practice or in a game) show the coaches why you deserve to draw back in."

Too many kids seem to have a strange sense of entitlement and for some reason they feel that they are exempt from the same rules as everybody else. Put it this way, if the New Jersey Devils can sit Ilya Kovalchuk for poor play, then why should a junior hockey player in the SJHL feel like he's entitled to different treatment?

If a player is being benched because of a rotation, then my answer remains the same. When you get your opportunity, you need to prove that you belong in the lineup. Most coaches aren't going to ignore a players skill and effort if it's helping the team win.

Normally when a goaltender wins a game, he'll receive some strong consideration to start the next game. Being a 'bubble' forward or defenceman is no different. If you draw into the lineup and you help the team win - Then you'll likely find yourself playing the next night too. If not, why wouldn't the coach switch it up?

If the kid is being benched becaues of breaking curfew or other off-ice issues like school, showing up late for team functions etc. Again I have no sympathy for the player in question. Junior Hockey players have a responsibility to their teammates, coaches and community to be on time, and to represent the organization as best as possible.

Again, coaches aren't in the business of benching kids because of personal vendettas and grudges. They are in the business of winning hockey games, and they're going to use the best 23 hockey players at their disposal at a given time to get the job done. If a player objects to the coach's decision they have every right to be frustrated, but instead of pouting and complaining, why not focus that energy on getting back into the lineup? Why not calmly talk to the coach after a practice and ask, "What do I need to do to get back into the lineup?" You listen to what the coach says, and then you do your damndest to get there.

In the end, if a player quits a team due to a lack of ice-time or opportunity, I can't really sympathize because those are the decisions that coaches are paid to make, and having never coached a meaningful game of hockey in my life - I will at least give them the benefit of the doubt.

Tomorrow I'll discuss clashes with fellow players and how that may impact a player's desire to quit a team.

What do you think?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Recap, Roster Moves and Sports Fix Preview.

What a weekend!

I am proud to say that I was one of the 29,000 plus in attendance at Mosaic Stadium last night, and while the Riders certainly made the evening interesting, it was great to see them come out on top and get the victory. I get asked a lot by folks whether I am a Rider's fan or a Lion's fan. My answer: "When I lived in B.C. I cheered for the Seattle Seahawks!" It wasn't until I moved to North Battleford where I became a true fan of the CFL and the Riders.

Earlier in the weekend I went to Paradise Hill (Saturday) to call my first North Saskatchewan River Hockey League game of the season. The Turtleford Tigers beat Paradise Hill 8-1. The game itself was forgettable, but the journey there certainly was not. I hit a deer on the highway just outside of Edam. I was un-injured. I'm not sure about the deer. Thankfully I was driving the station vehicle, which is a lot larger and more sturdy than my Pontiac G 5. There was some damage to the side mirror, and the head-light cover, but not a whole lot else.

Friday night I was not at the North Star's game, because I was in Melfort calling a game for Access 7. I called the Mustang's 3-1 victory over the Nipawin Hawks. The folks at Access 7 have been very good to me over the course of my stay in Saskatchewan, and when they needed some help I couldn't say no! This weekend I'll be helping them again on Friday night in Humboldt.

As for the Stars. I'll be on the road calling their game Wednesday in Melfort. I won't be at the Civic Center Saturday for the Weyburn game because I will be in Maidstone calling the NSRHL, but I assure you that I will be there Sunday for the Bombers/Stars game. I plan on taping the Riders/Stamps West Final. I love the Riders, but in all honesty, my priority Sunday will be with the North Stars and they're first game of the year against Mike Regan's Flin Flon Bombers.


To those asking about the whereabouts of Nathan Tomac, here is your answer:

Nathan Tomac has left the Battlefords North Stars to play Junior B hockey. Ken Pearson told me this afternoon that Tomac's heart isn't into playing Junior A at this time.


Tonight's edition of the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix will have a football and hockey feel to it. I'm going to start with some audio from Regina. Our Rawlco Radio affiliate in Regina grabbed a ton of great post-game audio from the locker-room of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and B.C. Lions, and tonight we'll here the post-game audio from Darian Durant, Jason Clermont and Travis Lulay.

Guest one will be the Head-Coach and Director of Hockey Operations for the Melfort Mustangs, Darrell Mann. Mann's Mustangs are one point back of first-place Humboldt in the Bauer Conference and are clicking on all cylinders right now. The 'Stangs and Stars go head-to-head on Wednesday night in Melfort. The Stars are 1-2-0-1 against Melfort this year.

Guest two is the play-by-play voice of the Bonnyville Pontiacs, Robb Hunter. Hunter has ties to the Battlefords, and is one of the great guys I know in this business. I met Robb by chance three years ago in Bonnyville while visiting a friend, and we've been pals ever since. Hunter hosts an Alberta Junior Hockey League radio show called the AJ This Week, and has a ton of great insight into our Western neighbors in the AJHL.

You can catch the show tonight at 8:00 on CJNB/CJNS or on

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stars Regain Their Stride At Home Against Melville.

After a tough start to the season at home, the Civic Center is starting to become a tough place for opponents to play in. The Battlefords North Stars earned their third consecutive home-ice victory Friday with a 7-3 decision over the Melville Millionaires. Keith Grondin scored twice while Kyle Birch made 28 saves for the victory.

The score was tied 1-1 after one. Early on at 3:54 Blake Tatchell opened the scoring with a short-handed marker. The Millionaires bounced back with a power-play tally of their own when Braydon Metz notched his first of two on the night.

Early in the second period, Keith Grondin put home is 13th goal of the year for the Stars with Blake Tatchell and Colin Phaneuf drawing assists. Cris Neurauter would then score on the man-advantage to give the Stars a 3-1 lead mid-way through the game. Braydon Metz scored again for Melville late in the second to keep things close.

The third period started the same way that the first two did. The Stars made it 4-2 thanks to Tim Rollins, but Melville's Cody Hanson scored his 13th of the year to make it 4-3. From there, the Stars took over.

Keith Grondin grabbed an insurance marker at 11:32 (from Phaneuf) and Travis Cech and Kyle Hall also scored to help preserve the 7-3 victory.

The Stars finished one for six on the power-play while Melville finished two for five.

Up next for the Stars, a return to Melfort for another showdown with the Melfort Mustangs. That battle goes Wednesday night at 7:30.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Something A Little Different.

Tonight I am going to switch it up a little bit. If you were listening to the game, you knew that the Stars fell 4-2 to the Weyburn Red Wings and now sit at 7-12-1-1 and fifth in the Bauer Conference. Overall not the best effort, and Weyburn deserved to win. Now that that's out of the way I want to share some thoughts with you that I have been meaning to for awhile, but have just never sat down and done. Given the poor weather and the long bus ride ahead, now is a perfect time.
Those of you who follow Junior hockey closely know that there us far more to this game then simply showing up and playing. There are so many 'behind the scenes' things that often go unappreciated and tonight I want to pay tribute to one of the hardest working individuals involved in this team. I am talking about our bus driver.

Let me preface this piece by first telling you that the current weather is brutal. The highway from Weyburn to Regina is slow moving and there was quite a bit of uncertainty as to whether we would even be leaving the city after the game. Obviously we did, and now for the next five or more hours, our safety is in the hands of our driver.

Our driver is a man named Larry who has fast become a welcomed addition to the North Star family. He compliments the boys, takes a vested interest in the games and the result and most importantly does his job very well. He's on time, reliable and seems to genuinely enjoy his line of work.

Me on the other hand? I could never do what he does. It takes a brave and diligent person to brave tough elements of weather, driving for extremely long periods of time to get a team from A to B.

A junior hockey team needs volunteers, a committed coach, staff and board of directors, and also a quality group of drivers.

Like goaltenders, bus drivers can be a zany bunch. Over my years of broadcasting I have had the great fortune of meeting some hilarious characters.

Some like to fall asleep on hotel floors, while others spend two hours talking to Ken and Blair about their other favorite SJHL teams and personalities.

Ken Pearson once had a (visiting) bus driver stop him in the tunnel between periods at the Civic Center and suggest a pizza place to him for the next road trip.

Last year down south we had a driver get stuck in the snow, tell hilarious jokes, and he liked his hip-hop music really loud. The boys loved him and he loved them back. After an OT win in Notre Dame he damn nearly fell down the railing as he was high-fiving the guys. I know I'm not alone when I say that our trip home after that game was loads of fun and our driver certainly contributed to the fun.

Larry likes his coffee and hair-metal with the occasional flip to the Cosmo channel on satellite radio. He likes to joke around with the boys and the coaches and is very easy going and patient.

I don't sleep much or well on a bus, but its due to the Larrys of our league that I can if need be.If you are a parent, fan, coach, or a broadcaster I urge you to say thank you to the drivers who transport these teams. The hours are long, and the stress is high. Not everyone is wired to drive a bus through snow and ice, but I'm sure glad some are.

To all of the bus drivers in the SJHL:

A sincere thank you from a tired broadcaster.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bruins Stun Stars 6-5.

Tuesday night in Estevan the Battlefords North Stars had their winning streak snapped with a 6-5 loss to Estevan. Former North Star Ryan Andersen scored three goals in the third period to lead the Bruins comeback.

The Stars led 1-0 after one. Tim Rollins scored the game's first goal off a Brody Luhning rebound.

Dylan Smith tied it early in the second with a backhand goal that fooled Graham Hildebrand. The lead was short-lived as Kyle Hall scored his sixth of the year, and Shayne Morrissey followed that up with his sixth.

The Bruins would climb back within one late in the frame on Dylan Smith's second of the game on a power play.

Early in the third, the Bruins tied it on Ryan Andersen's first of the game. But the Stars got it right back the next shift on Travis Cech's third of the season.

The middle of the third belonged to Estevan. Dylan Smith tallied his third of the game on a tip in, and Andersen then scored his second off the rush to give the Bruins their first lead.

The Stars tied it at 16:23 of the third on a perfect point shot from Cody Folstad.

Heading into the final minute, overtime seemed certain. But Ryan Andersen and his linemates had other ideas. Andersen raced in on Travis Sparrow, made a move to the outside and shovelled a low back-hand past Graham Hildebrand for the game winner and his third of the night.

The Bruins outshot the Stars 39 to 32. The Stars were 0 for three on the man advantage while Estevan finished one for four.

The Stars will look to split this two game road swing tomorrow night in Weyburn. You can hear the broadcast live on CJNB/CJNS starting at 7:15.

Your thoughts?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Stars - Bruins Preview.

Tomorrow the North Stars embark on a two-game road swing to Estevan and Weyburn. This trip will be a real test for the Battlefords North Stars and could be very telling as to what this team is truly capable of. They've won two straight, but they are facing two southern teams that are playing very well in their own right. Here is a preview for tomorrow night's game:


Kerry Biette's Estevan Bruins are playing some of their best hockey of the season. They've won five in a row and are coming off a 9-4 victory on home ice against Humboldt. The Bruins are only three points behind Yorkton for first place in the Sherwood Conference but have played four less games.

Who's Up Front:

Ryan Andersen is on a roll. The 20-year-old product of Wainright, Alberta has 16 goals through 18 games and leads Estevan with 26 points. This should be no surprise for Star's fans who are no stranger to Andersen's abilities. You know that Andersen is going to be fired up to face his former team, and I'd expect another strong outing from him tomorrow night.

Who's on D:

Kerry Biette is "tickled pink" with his core of defenders. Tonight on the CO-OP Leisure Time Sports Fix he called this group the best core of defense that he's ever coached. Can you blame him? Joel Kot, Dominic Perrault, Ty Arris, Brent Rock, Tyler Spencer and Lucas Stubel give coach Kerry Biette a really strong mix. Add the likes of Taylor Bramwell and Eric Baldwin and Kerry Biette has no shortage of defensive options. Joel Kot is the offensive leader with 13 points in 13 games.

Who's in Goal:

Joel Danyluk has been a steady stalwart for Kerry Biette's club this year. Danyluk is 9-4-1 with a goals against average of 3.24 and a save percentage of .912. The last time Danyluk faced the North Stars he was tremendous, making 50 saves on 54 shots faced. Biette may opt to play Shea Cooper who is 2-2 with a save percentage of .892.


The trio of Josh Jelinski, Ben Findlay and Justin Waskewitch will be three players to watch tomorrow night. According to Biette, these three have been playing well in recent games but just haven't been rewarded enough for their efforts. A strong outing from these three could go along way to help Estevan beat the Stars for the second straight time.


The Battlefords North Stars are coming off two straight victories. They beat Nipawin 7-1 on Saturday and Melfort 5-2 on Sunday. Offensively the Stars have been getting production from all four lines and defensively they have been MUCH better. They'll need to keep those trends going if they want to find success this week.

Who's Up Front:

Blake Tatchell, Keith Grondin and Colin Phaneuf share the team lead in goals with 10 a piece. These three have so much chemistry and I'm excited to see what they'll be capable of tomorrow on a smaller ice-surface in Estevan. Quick puck movement and lots of shots will be key for this line. I'm sure they are up to the task.

Who's on D:

With six points in his last three games, Brody Luhning is my choice for SJHL Defenceman of the Week. Whether the league agrees has yet to be determined. Regardless, Luhning seems to be playing with a lot of confidence, and the pairing him with Travis Sparrow seems to have helped make Luhning and Sparrow for that matter more comfortable on the ice.

Who's in Goal:

What do you do if you're Ken Pearson? Do you play Kyle Birch and see if he can bounce back after a terrible game in Estevan in October? Do you start Alex Sirard so that he can face his former team? Or do you start Graham Hildebrand because it's his turn?


Samuel Fortier and Samuel Houle look like they are starting to get comfortable in the SJHL. Fortier had a six-point weekend, and Houle seems to be playing with a lot of confidence beside Woody Klassen. These two are known for their physicality and their grit and will have to bring a ton of that to the table tomorrow night on the smaller ice surface. Time and space is limited on the Estevan ice-surface, and if the Stars can win the physical battle they may very well win the game and their third straight game.

Don't miss the broadcast tomorrow night. It goes on CJNB/CJNS and starting at 7:15.

As always, your thoughts and predictions are welcome.

Post-Weekend Thoughts.

All of a sudden the Battlefords North Stars are a confident hockey team. After a tough mid-week loss in Kindersley, the Stars bounced back this weekend with two victories against teams within their division. Saturday's 7-1 victory over Nipawin pushed the Stars back into fifth, and yesterday's win over Melfort gave the Stars some (temporary) breathing room. There are lots of things to discuss after this weekend, so let's get to it.

- It appears as though the North Star forwards are starting to gel. The chemistry between Blake Tatchell, Keith Grondin and Colin Phaneuf is obvious, but what about the trio of Tanner Schwab, Travis Cech and Samuel Fortier? Schwab's speed combined with the grit of Cech and the vision of Fortier makes for an exciting line. I know it was only one game, but I feel that those three have some real potential. Tanner Schwab played some of his best hockey this weekend and was rewarded for it.

Ken Pearson hit it right on the head post-game when he said, "It was tough finding enough ice for all of the guys tonight." Kind of a nice problem for the coaching staff to have!

- Defensively the Stars were so much better this weekend. While still not perfect, the coverage in front of their own net was exponentially better than in weeks past, and you can tell that the goaltenders are grateful for it.

- We are heading into game 19 of the season for the Stars and three goaltenders are still lobbying for playing time. I know that fans are confused by this, and would rather see two goaltenders instead of three - But I see nothing wrong with keeping three goalies around for competition's sake. At least until December 1st.

- The more I watch Travis Cech the more he reminds of me of former North Star's forward Josh Clare (08-09). Cech may be a little more skilled with the puck, but the two play the exact style of game. Clare was voted the most exciting player that year according to the fans, and I think. Cech could accomplish the same. Cech had a Gordie Howe hat-trick yesterday against Melfort.

- Here's hoping that Star's defenceman Brody Luhning receives
consideration for SJHL Defenceman of the Week. Luhning tallied six points in three games this week and continues to get better. Luhning's first goal on Saturday night was the prettiest goal of the year so far.


Tomorrow night the Battlefords North Stars may very well be playing their final game EVER at the Estevan Civic Auditorium. It's an extremely difficult place to win in. How tough? The Stars have won once in Estevan. in the past four seasons. Tomorrow's game is made more difficult with the fact that the Estevan Bruins are playing strong hockey at the moment.The Bruins beat the Broncos 9-4 at home this weekend. That being said, if the Stars can duplicate their efforts from the weekend they have a great chance to win.

I'll post a Stars-Bruins preview later this evening.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Stars Conquer the Mustangs 5-2.

The Battlefords North Stars have won two straight. The latest, a 5-2 afternoon victory over the Melfort Mustangs in front of a boistrous crowd at the Civic Center. Travis Cech had a Gordie Howe hat-trick, and Alex Sirard earned his second straight victory in net.

The Stars scored on the first shift of the game when Travis Cech put home his own rebound on Melfort goaltender Jesse Ehnisz. Blake Tatchell followed that up with his10th of the year to make it 2-0. Midway through the period, Cech added another on the power-play and the Stars skated into the locker-room up 3-0.

The Mustangs bounced back in the second when Lee Christensen fired a shot on goal which (according to the website) was tipped in by Jesse Mireau for his 14th of the year.

Later in the frame, Travis Cech added to his Gordie with a spirited fight with Mustang's forward Brant Henry-Norton.

The score was 3-1 after two. During the second intermission Nathan Eckel hit the goal-post on his third and final attempt and walked out with $1000 courtesy of Scott Campbell Dodge.

The Stars grabbed a 4-2 lead at 5:21 of the third period when Blake Tatchell fed Keith Grondin brilliantly across the ice for his 10th of the year. Seconds after the pass, Tatchell was hit hard into the boards and was slow to get up. Tatchell skated to the bench on his own power and stayed in the game.

Late in the game, the Mustangs were given a five-on-three advantage for a full two minutes but did not score.

Samuel Fortier scored into an empty net to seal the deal. Travis Cech had an assist to complete the Gordie Howe Hat-Trick.

The Stars finished one-for-five on the power-play and killed off five of six on the other side. The Stars outshot Melfort 29-26.

Up next for the Stars - A mid-week trip to Estevan and Weyburn. The Stars and Bruins will meet Tuesday night. I'll have the broadcast for you on CJNB/CJNS starting at 7:15 Tuesday night.

Stars - Mustangs Preview.

A quick turnaround for the Battlefords North Stars who took care of business last night at home against Nipawin, and now this afternoon they will try and grab their first victory of the season against Darrell Mann and the Melfort Mustangs. So far this year, the Mustangs have had the Stars number posting a 2-0-0-1 record.

Record: 10-5-2-2


The Melfort Mustangs have played two games earlier this week. Both were losses, but both games (Melville and La Ronge) needed extra-time. Darrell Mann's team has earned two points in the last two games. Heading into today's game the Mustangs are only three points behind Humboldt in the Bauer Conference Standings.

Who's Up Front:

Offensively the Mustangs have been lead by the duo of Cole Gibson and Jesse Mireau. Gibson is the head play-maker for Melfort and has 12 assists and eight goals through the first 19 games. Mireau is the finisher. He's notched 13 goals so far this year.

Who's on D:

Sam Gilbert and Lee Christensen are tied for the team lead in defensive scoring with seven points each. Their numbers aren't overwhelming, but what they lack in stats they make up for in sheer dilligence. Darrell Mann's defensive-core is one of the most consistent in the league. Gilbert and Christensen have a lot of help with the likes of Mitch Berg, Bo Lenard and Zack Johnson to help keep things in order.

Who's in Goal:

All signs point to Charles Corsi getting another start for Melfort against the Battlefords. Corsi has looked sharp in every prior meeting between these teams, and he has been the 'glue' that has held Melfort together so far this year. Corsi is 9-3-1-0 with a save percentage of .908 and a GAA of 2.94. Darrell Mann may decide to give Jesse Ehnisz a start. He's 1-2-1 with a save percentage of .905.


Brody Haygarth is one of the most dangerous forwards in the SJHL when he's on the top of his game. So far Haygarth has tallied 15 points in 16 games and has been another strong option for Darrell Mann's team. It'll be essential for the Stars to keep Haygarth in check if they want to win this afternoon.

Record: 6-10-1-1


The North Stars are coming off a 7-1 victory last night over the Nipawin Hawks. Kyle Birch was solid in goal and the Stars continue to get steady offensive production from multiple lines. Defensively the Stars were better, but still not up to Ken Pearson's standard. Strong defensive play will be key tonight against Melfort.

Who's Up Front:

It was a great bounce-back game for Blake Tatchell, Colin Phaneuf and Keith Grondin. After a tough defensive outing Wednesday in Kindersley, the above three scored a goal each, and were much better defensively.

Who's on D:

Brody Luhning led the charge offensively with two goals and a helper last night for the Stars. Luhning's first of the game was a thing of beauty. The 18-year-old appears to be getting more and more comfortable with life in the SJHL, and that's a scary thought for the opposition. With 15 points in 14 games, it is now safe to say that Luhning is one of the top offensive defenceman in the SJHL right now.

Who's in Goal:

Kyle Birch stopped 33 of 34 pucks last night in a win over Nipawin. But will that be enough to get him a second straight start? With two games in two nights, it's likely that Ken Pearson goes with Graham Hildebrand of Alex Sirard. Time will tell.


Boyd Wakelin and Tanner Schwab were excellent in last night's game. Both contributed offensively while winning battles for loose pucks and staying responsible defensively. If the Stars want to beat the Mustangs this afternoon, they are going to need similar efforts from the likes of Wakelin, Schwab, Newton, Fortier and Cech.

Stars 7 - Hawks 1 - Recap.

Saturday night at home, the Battlefords North Stars scored seven unanswered goals an defeated the Nipawin Hawks 7-1. Brody Luhning had two goals and an assist while Kyle Birch made 33 of 34 saves for his first victory of the season.

The Hawks opened the scoring at 6:40 of the first. Brent Becker kept the puck in at the right point and blasted one by the far-side of Birch.

Late in the first the Stars tied it thanks to a gritty effort from Boyd Wakelin and his linemates. Brett Miller and Shayne Morrissey did a lot of the dirty-work behind the Nipawin net, and finally Wakelin got a point-blank chance in front that he connected on.

Late in the first the Stars took the lead for good when Tanner Schwab dug a puck free from goalie Brody Hoffman and put it home for his second of the season.

Early in the second period, the pace of the same changed for good when Woody Klassen nailed Hawk's forward Steven Jean with an open-ice check. Scott Brkich came to the aid of his forward and dropped the gloves with Klassen. Tony Oak got involved as well and was booted from the game for being the third man in. Klassen and Brkich both got fighting majors. Steven Jean never saw another shift.

The Stars made it 3-1 29 seconds later on a gorgeous goal from Brody Luhning. After a failed clear, Luhning kept the puck it at the right point, toe-dragged through one defender, deked past the other and then finished with a back-hand that beat Brody Hoffman.

Keith Grondin would later add his ninth of the year to make it 4-1 and that spelt the end of the night for Hoffman who left after 23 shots and 19 saves. Stephen Klein took over, and didn't receive any better fortune. On a power-play, Colin Phaneuf redirected a Woody Klassen point-shot for his 10th of the year. Blake Tatchell then scored on a five-on-three to give the Stars a 6-1 lead after two.

Brody Luhning added his second of the game in the final minute of the third to lift the Stars to the 7-1 final.

Kyle Birch was solid at the other end for the Stars. He kept his game simple and stopped 33 of 34 shots. The Stars took only two minor penalties and managed to kill them both off. They finished two for six on the power-play.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stars - Hawks Preview.

I don't think it would be a stretch to call tonight's game the most important one yet for the Battlefords North Stars. The Nipawin Hawks are in town for the first meeting of the season between these two teams. Only one point separates these teams in the standings, so tonight we have a 'four-pointer' on our hands.

Record: 5-9-3-0 (13 points. Fifth in the Bauer Conference.)


Doug Johnson's team snapped an eight game losing streak last night with a victory on home-ice against Kindersley. It's been a tough week in Nipawin given the fact that they've had several players leave the team or demand a trade - Yet last night they came together and beat a tough Kindersley team 6-5. Tanner Dusyk led the way with a goal and two assists while Mathew Spafford added a goal and two helpers. If the Stars are expecting an easy battle tonight, they are badly mistaken.

Who's Up Front:

Eli Lichtenwald has been a tremendous find for the Nipawin Hawks. Lichtenwald has 11 goals amd nine assists on the season and is only going to get better as he matures with age. Add Mathew Spafford and Tanner Dusyk into the equation and you've got a good setup offensively.

Who's on D:

Scott Bollefor, Scott Brkich, Brent Becker and Brant Remenda are all players that Stars fans may recognize from last season. Brkich leads the Hawks in scoring from the back-end with eight points. He adds size, skill and with the recent departure of Cory Hodgins, Brkich (in my opinion) becomes the team's top guy on the back-end.

Who's in Goal:

Former Midget AAA Star Brody Hoffman got the win last night at home, so one might think he'd be the favourite to play again tonight. However Stephen Klein may get the nod. Hoffman is 5-7 with a Goals Against of 3.74 and a save percentage of .90. Klein is 0-5 with a 4.39 GAA and a save pecentage of .851.


Special Teams. If Nipawin can utilize their power-play they'll have a great shot to win. The Star's penalty-kill continues to hover underneath 70 percent for the year. On the other hand, the Hawks need to bring a strong penalty-kill to the Civic Center tonight. The Stars power-play continues to get progressively better.


The Battlefords North Stars have dropped three straight games and now sit dead-last in the Bauer Conference. The Stars have taken a third period lead into each of their past two games only to lose both in regulation. Wednesday night in Kindersley the Stars fell 6-5 to the Klippers.

Who's Up Front:

Keith Grondin, Colin Phaneuf, and Blake Tatchell all received a bit of a 'wake up call' courtesy of Ken Pearson on Wednsday. They chipped in three goals offensively, but were also on the ice for several goals against in the third period. When they want to be, these three can be one of the most effective lines in the SJHL. I'm expecting a strong effort at both ends of the ice from these three tonight.

Who's on D:

Cris Neurauter returns from a two-game suspension to make his 'captaincy' debut tonight at the Civic Center. Neurauter has been awesome since he arrived from Estevan tallying 11 points in 11 games. It'll be up to Neurauter to keep things calm on the bench, and lead by example on the ice. The fact that the Stars have a captain now should serve as great inspiration to the rest of the team. We'll see if Neurauter is up to the task tonight against Nipawin.

Who's in Goal:

Graham Hilebrand was outstanding for 45 minutes of Wednesday's game. In the final 15 he got hung out to dry pretty good by his teammates. That being said, he didn't win the game. Ken Pearson may opt to give Alex Sirard or Kyle Birch a chance tonight to earn some momentum.


Brett Miller is due for a breakout game. Since returning from injury Miller has looked good playing alongside Shayne Morrissey and Samuel Fortier. He's had no trouble setting up his teammates with seven assists in 10 games - But we all know that Miller can score goals, and score lots when he's on top of his game. A strong effort from Miller could go a long way in leading the Stars out of the basement of the Bauer Conference tonight.

If you can't make it to the rink, catch the broadcast live on CJNB/CJNS starting at 7:15.