Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Stuff.

Good morning!

I must say that this week has gotten off to a great start. I got some great Sports Fix news yesterday. My third guest for next week's three-year anniversary show has been solidified. I won't tell you who it is until everything is finalized, but I promise you won't be disappointed.

Not only that, but I checked my e-mail first thing this morning, and received confirmation that I also have an interview set up with one of my favourite (and current) NHL coaches. It works out very well, because I can run the interview with the coach on April, 11th right before the playoffs begin. Yesterday was simply one of those days where I could not miss.

I hope that you make time for the show on Monday night. And don't forget to listen to my noon sports today through Friday for your chance to qualify for the 250 dollar gift certificate courtesy of Leisure Time Sports.


The SJHL Championship series kicks off Friday in La Ronge. Access 7 will be carrying the series live in it's entirety, and I sincerely hope that the Saskatchewan public takes full advantage of this fact again this year.

As for my involvement with the weekend? Minimal at this point. I do have an interview planned with a parent of one of the Ice Wolve's 20-year-olds that will likely run at some point this weekend, but that's about it for now. As much as I'd love to help with the broadcasts, I can watch them on TV!

I'll let you know if anything changes in that regard.


An exciting business opportunity could be in store for the summer/fall. Right now everything is still in the very early stages, but it could definitely lead to something very rewarding and fun down the road.

How's that for vague?


That's all I have for this morning. Enjoy your day! I'll update you on the Sports Fix
situation once everything becomes official.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Laury Ryan Resigns From SJHL.

After serving for eight years, SJHL President Laury Ryan is announcing he is stepping down at the end of this current term. In making this announcement, President Ryan wishes to acknowledge the many people in the present and in the past, involved with the member teams and their contributions to the league.
During Ryan’s term, the SJHL has prospered and is considered by many as one the top junior “A” hockey leagues in Canada. The league has seen many developments including the creation of the World Junior “A” challenge which allowed junior “A” players and coaches to represent Canada for the first time in history. The establishment of the SJHL Hall of Fame that in 2011 will see its third induction ceremony as the league recognizes its past heroes. The Saskatchewan Development Model, which coordinates elite hockey in Saskatchewan and the Junior A Supplement, that is a partnership with Hockey Canada and four other Junior A leagues are considered key achievements. The SJHL has had a successful run with league teams participating in six RBC championships finals collecting three national championships. The SJHL also became the first Junior “A” league in Canada to have live games broadcast across the province including the Credit Union Cup Championship series on cable television.
“It has been an honour to represent the league on behalf of so many great individuals who work tirelessly in their respective communities to make their franchises viable and successful. Any and all the good things that were achieved are a testament to their efforts” stated Ryan, “It has been an honour to serve as President of the SJHL”
On behalf of the SJHL board of Governors I would like to thank Laury for his many years of service and numerous innovations and contributions to the league and wish him the best in his future endeavors.” SJHL board of governors chair Rick Shultz said. “The SJHL management committee will be advertising and accepting applications for the position of SJHL president.”

**An audio interview with Laury Ryan done with SJHL Communications Director Mitchell Blair can be found on the league website at www.sjhl.ca. Any media outlet using clips or quotes from this interview is please asked to give sjhl.ca credit.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Folstad Joins Birch At Portage.

The Battlefords Stars are proud to announce defenceman Cody Folstad has accepted a scholarship to join the Portage College Voyageurs and their men's hockey program next season.

 The 21-year-old defenceman from Birch Hills was in the Stars organization for two seasons and this past year had 8 goals and 27 assists for 35 points in 55 games along with 105 penalty minutes. He was also given the North Stars plus/minus award this past season.

 Folstad becomes the second North Star player to join Portage College next season, joining Kyle Birch and the 3rd North Star to move to the College level. Tony Oak is the other going to Simon Fraser University.

Portage College competes in the Alberta College Athletic Conference.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sports Fix Preview and More.

Good evening,

Today was one of those days where I looked at the Sports Fix and saw an empty canvas. A few phone calls later, and suddenly we've got a full program, and a pretty entertaining one at that.

First off, tonight I'm running raw audio from the St. Walburg Eagle's post-game celebration. St. Walburg captured the North Saskatchewan River Hockey League Championship Friday night in Edam with a 4-3 victory. Tonight you'll hear from Jordan Fuder, Darren Delainey, Bryan Bridges and coach Doug Larre. St. Walburg certainly deserves the championship considering how consistent their play was in the final series.

With the win, Walburg becomes just the third team in 13 years to win the NSRHL. Edam has won 10 of the past 13, with Paradise Hill winning the other two.

Guest two on the program is the head-coach and GM of the Melfort Mustangs, Darrell Mann. Mann's Mustangs are coming off a split of Games one and two in La Ronge. They won Game one in Overtime before dropping a 4-0 decision in Game Two. Game three goes tomorrow night, and by all accounts it should be a great display.

Mann and I will discuss the previous series between Melfort and Humboldt, and I'll also get Mann's take on the atmosphere in Melfort right now. It's no secret that there has been lots of pressure placed on Mann's shoulders this season, and so far he's dealt with it extremely well.

My final guest tonight is a former play-by-play man for the Melfort Mustangs, Nipawin Hawks and Humboldt Broncos, Kenny Trenton. Trenton is now the broadcaster for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons for Country 93.3 in Fort Mac. The Oil Barons are currently down 2-0 in their series with Spruce Grove. Together Trenton and I will discuss the outlook of the AJHL, and we'll learn a little more about Fort McMurray.

For those wondering, it's easy to classify Fort McMurray as the 'FLin-Flon' of Alberta. It's way North, and there's a TON of passion in that community. It was Trenton's first visit to the program in over two-years, and as always he killed it.

The show kicks off in 30 minutes on CJNB/CJNS and www.cjnb.com


Barring any sudden unforseen change, I think I called my last hockey game of 2010-2011 last night in Maidstone. I called Game One of the Senior A Provincial Final between Maidstone and Balgonie for Access 7. A great game that featured some great goaltending by both Maidstone's Quinton Gauthier and Balgonie's David Perkin. Maidstone won the game 3-2, and have a chance to bring home a Senior A Provincial Banner Friday night with a win in Balgonie.


Over the past week there have been two scholarship announcements from the Battlefords North Stars. Both Kyle Birch and Tony Oak will be playing post-secondary hockey.

Both of these kids deserve any and all success that comes their way down the road. I dealt with Tony for four years, and Kyle for three, and I enjoyed their company immensely. Both were fierce competitors on the ice, yet both were extremely easy-going and genuine off of it.

I wish them nothing but the best, and it is my intention to keep in touch with those two, and follow their progress closely as the months and years go by.

Ken Pearson also deserves a ton of credit here. He's done such a great job with both of these kids over the past three years, and once again his connections and his efforts need to be recognized.


Don't get me wrong, I think the Yorkton Terriers are a hell of a hockey team, but color me SHOCKED that they are up 2-0 in the series after two emphatic victories over the Kindersley Klippers. It's one thing to win two close ones at home, but I don't think anybody could have expected two blowouts.

Game three now means EVERYTHING to Rockie Zinger's team.


Obviously visors are manditory in Junior Hockey, but should they become manditory in the NHL? I've posted a poll at the side of the blog, and I'd love your input in not only the poll but the comment's section as well.

Canuck's centerman Manny Malhotra is done for the year, and possibly forever after an eye-injury suffered last week.

Not only does the loss of Malhotra greatly affect the Canuck's depth and grit come playoff time, but it also has garnered lots of conversation about visors and whether they should become manditory.

My thoughts: They should be grandfathered in like helmets were in 1979. If you're an NHL rookie in 2011-2012 you MUST wear one. If you've been in the league since 2003, and you choose to play without one, then you're free to do so.


I've always held a soft-spot for Matt Cooke based on his accomplishments in Vancouver, but his latest antics are despicable. I agree whole-heartedly with the suspension handed down by the NHL and it would come as no surprise if Cooke may have played his last game in Pittsburgh. It's a shame too, because you can be a great agitator without taking liberties, and clearly Cooke doesn't seem to grasp that concept.


I'm excited for my buddy Cody Nickolet who does the color for the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades finished the WHL season with the best overall record, and earned the Scottie Munro trophy for their efforts. I hope to catch at least one game of the Raiders/Blades series. I've caught a few Blade's games in recent weeks, and they remind me of the Vancouver Giants from 2006 (WHL Champs) and 2007 (Mem Cup Champs).

Time will tell I guess.


A big hearty congratulations to the North Battleford Comp Viking's Sr. Boys and Girls basketball teams after their success this past weekend. Both squads are off to Moose Jaw this weekend for Hoopla, and boy would it be great to see them come back with a coujple of Provincial Banners.

Yes we're a hockey town, and yes we love our curling and sledding. But I think it's great that the Battlefords can bring it on the court too.

Best of luck to both teams from North Star Nation.


Hopefully tomorrow I'll have kicked this cold. Nothing's worse than eating supper and not being able to taste any of it. Enjoy the Sports Fix, enjoy your evening, and I look forward to your comments and your continued readership.

Oak Signs On with S.F.U.

The Battlefords North Stars are pleased to announce that Assistant Captain Tony Oak will attend Simon Fraser University and join the Men's Hockey team for the 2011/12 British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey season.

 Oak spent 4 seasons with the North Stars and was recently named the teams Inspirational Player, the Fan's Choice award, as well as a $2500 scholarship award winner from the Northwest Hockey Development.

 Oak will enroll in Bio-Chemistry. The North Stars would like to thank Tony for his 4 years of service with the club and wish him well as he begins his college career.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Birch Signs On With Portage College.

The Battlefords North Stars and Portage College Voyegeurs Men’s Ice Hockey program is pleased to announce jointly a commitment from goaltender and Winnipeg, M.B. native Kyle Birch to attend Portage College in Lac La Biche Alberta and join the team for the 2011/12 Alberta Intercollegiate Hockey League season.

Birch spent 3 seasons with the North Stars and was recently named the Playoff MVP for the second time in two years.

"We’re very happy to have Kyle play goal for us for the coming years" says Voyegeurs Head Coach Terry Ewasiuk.

Birch intends to enroll in Business.

The North Stars would like to thank Kyle for his 3 years of service with the club and wish him well as he begins his college career.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mid-Week Ramblings of an N.B. Sportscaster.

Good morning,

It's been a few days since I last posted something, so I figure I'd weigh in on some of the things going on both locally and nationally, starting first with the NSRHL Championship Series.

For those that aren't aware, the NSRHL Championship series between Edam and St. Walburg is heading into Game Three tonight in St. Walburg. The Edam 3 Stars trail the St. Walburg Eagles 2-0, and likely need a win tonight to give themselves a real shot at the series.

The difference so far: Bryan Bridges. The Eagles netminder has played exceptionally well in both games, and has really risen to the occasion with big saves at big times. Quinton Gauthier has been no slouch at the other end, but he's simply not getting enough offensive help.

If you can't make it to the rink, you can hear the call live tonight at
8:30 on CJNB/CJNS.


The SJHL has set dates for the Division Finals. Both series kickoff Friday with La Ronge and Yorkton serving as hosts for games one and two.

I sincerely hope that fans in all four markets get out and enjoy these games, because the competition will be incredible. After such a wonky post-season last year, it's nice to see that the top four teams are being rewarded for their stellar play all season.

Don't ask me for predictions because you won't get one. Some guys are willing to stick their necks out and predict the outcomes of series, and that's great! But not me. I find that Junior Hockey can be so unpredictable, and I've learned that predictions are generally a recipe for disaster.

If I'm right, it's a fluke. If I'm wrong, I'm an idiot. What I will say is that I think both series will go the distance, and the two teams left at the end of it all will be physically and mentally exhausted.


For those of you following Senior A Hockey Provincials, the Maidstone/Balgonie final is all set up.

Game One goes Sunday (March 20th) at 6:00 from Maidstone. Game two will follow on Friday (March 25th) at 8:30. If neccessary, Game Three goes on Sunday (March 27th) in Maidstone at 5:00.


The CO-OP Leisure Time Sports Fix is turning three-years-old on Monday, April 4th. None of the interviews for he program have been completed just yet, but what I can say is that one of my anniversary guests has been confirmed and another one will be by the end of this week.

Last year my guests were: John McDonald (Blue Jays), Bob Nicholson (Hockey Canada) and Brendan Taman.

You won't be disappointed with this year's crop of guests. Mark my words.


I love March Madness basketball. I really can't explain why, but it seems that each year, the excitement of the tournament reaches new heights. To me there is so much more innocence and intrigue surrounding College Hoops. I guess I like the fact that these athletes are still playing for the Love of the Game, and not for the huge pay-checks yet.

For what it's worth, I've 'predicted' (guessed) an Ohio St./Kansas final with Ohio State winning 76-71.


Don't forget to wear Green tomorrow! As always, your comments and input are encouraged!

Take care,


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Klassen Heads to Greenville.

The Battlefords North Stars are pleased to announce that Woody Klassen has joined the Greenville Warriors of the ECHL for the remainer of the 2010-11 season. Klassen, a 19 year old from Watrous SK, was the North Stars winner as their Defenseman of the year. This past season Klassen, an assistant captain, scored 8 goals and assisted on 28 others, while compiling 67 minutes in penalties. Greenville is an affiliate of the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL. The North Stars organization would like to congratulate Woody and wish him well.

Wow Moments In Life.

Over the course of my (almost) five years in broadcasting, I have had the tremendous fortune to experience a handful of "Wow Moments." You know the kind. The kind of encounter the leaves you refreshed, inspired, and incredibly grateful for the career that you have chosen? I had one of those moments yesterday and I feel compelled to share it with you.

Yesterday I interviewed a man named Dan Russell. Russell is the host of CKNW's "Sports Talk" in Vancouver. Most may not know this, but Dan Russell's Sports Talk is the longest-running sports-talk show in Canadian radio history. The show was born in 1984, and it still runs nightly on CKNW.

The history alone makes this interview significant, however there is more to the story.

I grew up in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, and naturally the Vancouver Canucks were a huge part of my childhood. As a youngster I would listen to the legendary Jim Robson call hockey games for CKNW radio in Vancouver, and I would always think to myself, "Someday I hope I get to do the same thing in life."

I consider myself lucky that I always knew what I wanted to do in life. For me it was never about going to University, and hopefully discovering a passion. Ever since watching Hockey Night in Canada, and listening to the Canucks - I've known that broadcasting was 'it' for me.

Sometimes on weekends, my parents would let me stay awake to listen to some of "Sports Talk" which ran from 10:00 - 12:00. I also remember leaving the Pacific Coliseum and G.M. Place with my Dad after attending a Canuck's game, and together we would listen to Canuck fans calling into the show. I remember being 14-years-old, using a Zack Morris style cell-phone to call into "Sports Talk" and share my thoughts with Dan.

Fast forward to 2011, and here I am in the same business, chatting with Canada's longest-running sports-talk host and one of my idols in broadcasting. The interview itself ran for 25 minutes. A big accomplishment considering the average interview on my show tends to go for about 10-12 minutes.

Russell spoke with true class and professionalism. His stories were profound and unique, and I was honestly hanging on every word. Add the fact that he was a genuine nice guy, and had a lot of encouraging advice
and wisdom for me afterwards.

My interview with Dan Russell easily cracks the Top-Five of my career so far, and I seriously cannot wait to air this interview Monday night on the CO-OP Leisure Time Sports Fix.

I do have a few other similar stories that I will happily share with you at a later time.

For now, enjoy your Thursday!

- DO

Monday, March 7, 2011

Some Monday Food For Thought.

Good evening.

The Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix runs tonight at 8:00 on CJNB/CJNS. It was an all-SJHL show tonight with Daniel Fink (La Ronge), Gino De Paoli (Melfort, Humboldt, Nipawin) and Brenden Ullrich (Kindersley). All three did a tremendous job at shedding some insight into the on-going SJHL playoffs, and I think it's definitely worth having a listen.

All three of my guests write blogs for the SJHL, and you can find them to the right of the screen on my blog-roll.


I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a tad jealous of my colleagues who continue to call SJHL hockey while I look for other endeavors, but such is life and in the end there can only be one league champion and two teams that go to the league-final. I know I'll get my chance sooner than later.


One thing that is undeniable about the playoffs so far is the bad-blood that has taken place both on and off the ice. In this one particular instance, I'm glad I'm not involved in the playoffs directly, because frankly I'm disappointed with how things have allegedly unfolded so far.

I can't speak for the Yorkton/Estevan series, but so far the Flin Flon/La Ronge, Humboldt/Melfort and Kindersley/Weyburn series' have one thing in common - Alleged off-ice incidents that are taking a lot of the lustre out of the hockey being played.

Frankly it concerns me that more people seem to be paying attention to the fan-altercations and stick-swinging, rather than the hockey itself.

If the players continue taking liberties on each other on the ice, it seems to propel the same off the ice with fans. Whether it's fans vs. fans or fans vs. players or fans vs. coaches, clearly there is a lingering issue.

I'm all for fans paying their money, and cheering, yelling and booing til their heart's content. Heck, that's what being a fan is all about. It's about feeling like you are a part of something bigger than yourself. But bullying fellow fans, and bullying the players and coaching staff needs to stop. It's not just an SJHL thing, it's an everywhere thing. Since when did Junior Hockey in Canada become Soccer in Europe?

Yes, I understand that Mr. X wants his team to win, and Mr. Y wants his team to win. But should it really get to the point where people are getting physically and mentally hurt? That's not what sport is about.

Don't get me wrong, I bleed for the Vancouver Canucks, and several other teams out there. But I don't feel the need to verbally and physically assault every Calgary Flames fan I see. I respect their opinion, and they hopefully respect mine. It seems like it's no longer possible for two fans to get together, cheer for their respective teams and then have a beer or two afterwards and reflect fondly on the game.

I know this is coming from somebody not directly involved in any of these series. But let the players and coaches worry about the rivalry. As a fan your job is to be loud, be loyal and be ready to applaud the efforts of your team no matter what.

Be good to each other before somebody gets REALLY hurt.

Enjoy the show tonight,


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Stars Hand Out Awards.

What a night for Tony Oak.

The four-year North Star received three awards on Saturday, including the Northwest Hockey Development Scholarship for $2500. Oak was also named Most Inspirational Player and won the Bertha Hill Fan's Choice Award.

Overall, a very enjoyable evening at the North Battleford Civic Center. It was clear that nobody wanted to be holding the banquet so early in March, but everybody made the best of it, and had one final send-off to wrap up this season. Below are the Award Winners:

Most Inspirational - Tony Oak

Most Improved - Robbie Newton

Most Underrated - Cole Gibson

Most Gentlemanly - Tanner Schwab

Top Scorers - Colin Phaneuf and Blake Tatchell

Mr. Hustle - Boyd Wakelin

Humanitarian Award - Cris Neurauter

Plus/Minus - Cody Folstad

Fans Choice - Tony Oak

Top Defenceman - Woody Klassen

M.V.P - Blake Tatchell

Playoff M.V.P. - Kyle Birch

Northwest Hockey Development Scholarship - Tony Oak

Saturday, March 5, 2011

An Update on Former Star's D-Man Brody Malek.

Click here for a great story about former Star's defenceman Brody Malek.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hall Named To SJHL All Rookie Team / AAA Stars Seek New Coach.

Some good news today for the Battlefords North Stars.

Battlefords North Star's forward Kyle Hall has been named to the All-Rookie team in the SJHL. Hall was also an honorable mention for the SJHL Rookie Of the Year Award.

The SJHL has released the names of its year end award winners and La Ronge Ice Wolves forward Travis Eggum has been named Player of the Year.

Here is the full list:

Leading Scorer/Player of the Year: Travis Eggum
RBC Jr A Scholarship: Tanner McCall - Weyburn
Top Goaltender: Russell Abbott - Notre Dame
Most Valuable Player: Marc Andre-Carre - La Ronge
Top Defenceman: Blaine Tendler - Yorkton
Top Rookie: Eli Lichtenwald - Nipawin


I received an e-mail this morning from Midget AAA Star's Governor Bruce

Greg Schmidt and I had a long discussion and I expressed to him that the club was very interested and excited to have him continue as coach in 2011/2012. Unfortunately, He informed me that he will not return as Head Coach next season. Greg had discussed everything with his wife and family before making this difficult decision. He cited that with 2 kids in hockey (atom and Midget) next season, plus working on his post-secondary education, coaching the Midget Stars is not an option. Bottom line is that spending time with his young family has to come first and foremost
and that if he could not dedicate the number of hours he felt would be
needed to do a good job of coaching he did not want to do it at all. I told him that although I am disappointed that he will not be returning, I understand and respect his decision.

The Midget Stars will begin the search for a new coach immediately, as advertisements will be placed throughout the province. We will look to have someone in place before Spring Camp in April.

Now What?

It's a strange feeling as a broadcaster knowing full-well that it will be at least seven months or so before I get to call another SJHL game. For the first time in three years I won't be calling any hockey in mid-March and now I have to fill my time with other things. It is truly saddening that this weekend I will be hosting the Star's Awards Banquet without any hockey to follow. This elimination 'hang-over' probably won't officially go away until the Royal Bank Cup comes to an end in May. That's when things officially get going in the Battlefords again.


The Battlefords North Stars are holding their Awards Banquet on Saturday night at the Civic Center. Cocktails are at 5:00, followed by supper at 6:00. Admission is $20 per person or couples get in for $25. It's always an emotional night, but it will also be fun to have one last hurrah with everybody before people begin to part ways.


As for this blog, I have every intention of keeping it updated as the Spring and Summer wear on. I will do my best to keep it filled with North Star news, but I will also do my best to include other local content and personal anecdotes. Let me take this opportunity to thank those of you who loyally followed the North Star Nation blog for another year. When I started blogging regularly two years ago, I had no clue that it would blossom into what it has become. As much as I enjoy broadcasting, I have really come to enjoy the written component that has accompanied my role as "Voice of the North Stars." Thank you for your compliments, input and support and here's hoping that you continue to stop by and read my work on a regular basis.


As for the SJHL This Week TV and Radio shows, those will still run regularly until the season concludes. I will have a new SJHL This Week radio show completed tomorrow morning. It would have been sooner, but the SJHL staff and I both felt that the show would be better served to be more of a playoff preview rather than a Survivor Series recap.


It also looks like I will be doing the play-by-play for the North Saskatchewan River Hockey League championship series which should get started by the middle of the month. The Edam 3 Stars have already punched their ticket to the final after a three-game sweep of Maidstone, an either St. Walburg or Meadow Lake will be joining them shortly. I will let you know once broadcast times and dates have become official.


Now that the season is over for me. My focus also shifts to April 4th, 2011 which marks the three-year anniversary of the Co-Op Leisure Time Sports Fix. Traditionally the anniversary show has been loaded with 'big-named guests' in the past, and this year will hopefully be no exception. Right now I have several irons in the fire, and I hope to confirm some guests over the next few days and weeks. Last year my guests for the anniversary show were: John McDonald (Toronto Blue Jays), Bob Nicholson (Hockey Canada) and Brendan Taman (Rider's GM). You can catch the CO-OP Leisure Time Sports Fix every Monday night at 8:00 PM on CJNB/CJNS.


That's it for now. Today I'm in the midst of writing e-mails and making phone calls trying to narrow down my Anniversary guests, and I'm also trying to get updates on High School basketball, and Senior Hockey Provincials.

To all of my colleagues in broadcasting, here's hoping you have an enjoyable run in the post-season!

- DO

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Stars Fall 3-2. Season Over.

A disappointing season came to a disappointing end Tuesday with a 3-2 loss to the Flin Flon Bombers in Game Four of the Bauer Conference Survivor Series. Ashton Bernard's first goal as a Flin Flon Bomber clinched the series at 9:31 of the third and P.J. Musico did what he had too in goal to help send Flin Flon to the next round.

Over the next few days, players will have their 'exit meetings' with the Coaching Staff and an Awards Banquet will be held before everyone parts ways for a little while.

A depressing time indeed for players, fans, coaches, volunteers and broadcasters who would still rather be in the thick of things. Such is life in hockey though.

Over the next few days I will keep sprinkling the blog with updates. I did my best to reflect and thank the necessary folks after the game, but obviously there is a lot more still to be said in lew of this seasons conclusion.

But right now it is 3:00 A.M. and we are still a few miles from home. For now it's simply about embracing the final hours together on the bus.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Stars - Bombers Preview (Game Four).

It's do-or-die for the Battlefords North Stars tonight in Flin Flon. After falling behind 2-1 in the best-of-five series, they can no longer afford to lose. The Flin Flon Bombers are coming off a 7-2 victory, and seemingly hold the momentum heading into Game Four. But the clinching victory is always the toughest, and I'm expecting the best effort yet from squads heading into tonight.



Mike Reagan's team is clicking on all cylinders right now. Not only are they getting steady production from their top-three forwards. But depth-wise their team has been rock-solid, and have been getting contributions from all four lines. The Bombers will also have the home-ice luxery heading into Game Four.

Who's Up Front:

Corey Tyrell notched the game-winning goal in Game Three off a sensational one-timer from the right point. Tyrell has also provided Mike Reagan with steady minutes up front, and he has done the little things right too. He's winning faceoffs, finishing his checks, and he's passing the puck very well. Tyrell has two goals, and three points so far in the series.

Who's on D:

17-year-old Tanner Clark has had a strong series. The former Humboldt Broncos has done a fine job on the back-end not only battling for pucks defensively, but he has done a great job offensively as well moving the puck on the power-play. The Flin Flon power-play is 4-13 in the past two games, and Clark has a lot to do with that success.

Who's in Goal:

P.J. Musico made big saves when it mattered most on Monday, and is now one win away from advancing to the next round. Musico's save percentage is .927 and has a goals against average of 2.75 so far in the series.


In an elimination game, the big-three of Flin Flon may need to bring their best effort yet. Andrew Johnston, Deven Stillar and Ryan Fox will need to out perform Blake Tatchell, Colin Phaneuf and Cole Gibson if the Bombers want to win Game Four.



A win tonight for the North Stars and they head home for Game Five on Thursday night. In order to do so the Stars need to rediscover their hunger for the net. If the Stars aren't willing to sacrifice themselves in front of Flin Flon's goal, it could be a long night.

Who's Up Front:

It was great to see Kyle Hall and Braedon Johnson get going offensively in Game Three. Tonight it'll be important for those two to help supply Blake Tatchell, Colin Phaneuf and Cole Gibson with similar secondary scoring. The Stars cannot have any passengers up front, especially from the top-six. If the top-six can regain their offensive touch, the series will go back to North Battleford.

Who's on D:

Woody Klassen and Cody Folstad were money in Game Three. Both were blocking shots with reckless abandon, and Woody Klassen had several great chances to score and contribute offensively. These two will need to play a similar game tonight if the Stars want to play back home on Thursday.

Who's in Goal:

Tough call for Ken Pearson to make here. Yes Kyle Birch surrendered seven goals, but keep in mind that P.J. Musico allowed six in Game One. Maybe Ken Pearson plays a hunch and goes with Graham Hildebrand tonight. Either way, whoever gets the call will need to be at their best and keep the Flin Flon Bombers at bay offensively.


For Cody Folstad, Cris Neurauter, Kyle Birch, Colin Phaneuf, Tony Oak, Mitch Galbraith, Cole Gibson and Keith Grondin (if healthy) it could be their last game as a Junior Hockey Player. If these players can rise up, and bring their best, I'd expect a Game Five in the Battlefords. I don't think that any of those men want their last game in Junior Hockey to be tonight, in early March.

I said it last night, and I'll say it again. Mark my words: Win-or-Lose, you're going to see one hell of an effort from the Battlefords North Stars tonight in Game Four.

This team deserves your support, and tonight they fight to keep their season alive at 7:30 P.M. from the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon.

You can catch the live call on CJNB/CJNS starting at 7:15.

Time to sound off. Let's keep it positive, and get excited for what should be a great game tonight.

Stars Face Elimination After Game Three Loss.

The Flin Flon Bombers have taken a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five Bauer Conference Survivor Series. Monday night in Flin Flon, the Bombers went 3-8 on the power-play, and scored five unanswered in the third period to defeat the Battlefords North Stars 7-2.

Discipline was a real problem for the Stars throughout the game, and the Bombers took advantage early. Andrew Johnston notched his second of the series at 5:55 of the first period to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Johnston converted on a back-hand rebound after Birch made an initial save off of Ryan Fox.

The Stars rebounded with a short-handed goal from Kyle Hall at 10:23. Hall received a nice pass from Braedon Johnson on the two-on-one and made no mistake.

Dylan Balaski helped restore the lead for Flin Flon with his first of the series at 14:37. The Bombers took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.

Early in the second, the Stars tied it up. Cole Gibson centered a beautiful pass through the crease, where Brody Luhning was waiting back-door and beat P.J. Musico for his second of the playoffs.

The rest of the second period went back and forth. The North Stars had a tremendous opportunity to take the lead when Cole Gibson and Colin Phaneuf skated in two-on-nothing while short-handed. Phaneuf was denied point-blank by P.J. Musico and the game stayed tied.

Late in the second, a lack of discipline once again cost the Stars. With only 19 second left in the second, Colin Phaneuf took a high-sticking penalty behind the play. Phaneuf didn't like the call, and was given an extra two-minutes for arguing.

Flin Flon made no mistake early in the third. Corey Tyrell made it 3-2 on a one-timer from the point. Kyle Birch had no way of seeing the shot through all of the traffic, and to his credit, Tyrell fired an absolute bomb from the right point.

The Bombers increased their lead 1:44 later when Ryan Fox put home a lose puck in front of the Stars goal.

After that, the wheels fell off. Jesse Mychan, Jay Young and Dillon McCombie all converted on their opportunities, and the score was 7-2 with only 1:10 remaining.

Adding insult to injury, Bomber's forward Ashton Bernard went after Mitch Galbraith in the final minute. Bernard and Galbraith had a brief fight. But when all was said and done, Bernard was assessed two minutes for checking to the head, two minutes for instigating, a five-minute major for fighting, two ten minute misconducts, and a game misconduct. One would assume that Bernard will face the possiblity of further discipline for his antics.

Galbraith avoided injury, and was able to hold his own against Bernard, and his efforts were properly condoned by Ken Pearson during the post-game show.

After the game, Pearson hinted that certain players played great, while others "stunk it up." Bad penalties, and a lack of net-traffic were other factors that the coach was not happy about.

"I don't care if I have to play six forwards, and three defenceman tomorrow night. I'm going with the best lineup possible to win and take the series back to North Battleford," said Ken Pearson.

The Stars and Bombers go head-to-head tonight in Game Four of the Bauer Conference Survivor Series. The puck drops at 7:30 from the Whitney Forum.