The Battlefords North Stars will welcome the division-rival Kindersley Klippers to town tonight, with top spot in the Global Ag. Risk Solutions Division on the line.
Tuesday night will mark the first game of 2019 for the North Stars at the Civic Centre.
With a 24-10-8 record through 42 games, the Stars enter action riding the strength of a four-game winning streak, as part of a longer stretch that has seen the Stars go 7-1-2 over their last 10 games.
Kindersley, at 25-11-5 through 41 games, will be looking to bounce back from a 3-1 loss in their last game against the Stars Jan. 18, having gone 5-3-2 over their last 10.
MacGregor Sinclair leads the North Stars in scoring with 19 goals and 49 points this season. Sinclair will lineup once again with Owen Lamb and Braydon Buziak on the top unit, no doubt the team’s offensive catalyst Saturday night in their victory against Notre Dame.
In addition to each of Sinclair and Lamb tallying their 19th goal of the season, Braydon Buziak also made his presence felt on the scorecard, playing the hero in overtime. Buziak’s game-winning goal also served as the veteran’s second marker in his last two games.
Matthias Urbanski, who sits second in team scoring with 39 points on the season, will once again suit up between Elijah Loon-Stewardson and Quintin Loon-Stewardson on line two. The three have combined for eight points in four games since being assembled as a unit on a line that has generated offensive opportunities with aplomb using speed and creativity.
On the third line Dylan Esau flanked by Ryan Gil and Brett Gammer provide the Stars’ coaching staff with a third combination embodying natural offensive inclination that can thrive in any game environment. Whether on the cycle or off the rush, Gammer, Esau and Gil bring versatility and prowess as well, with all three picking up additional ice time between the penalty kill and power play units.
Kaden Boser (6’1, 193) who fought Klippers’ forward, Tyler Traptow (6’4, 195 lbs) when the two teams last met Jan. 18 will center the fourth line.
Boser will be flanked by Regan Doig and Dayton Heino on the energy unit. Bringing size and belligerence to the fold, the intangibles and edge brought about by the trio should prove invaluable features in a game against the likes of Kindersley, with the potential for a chippy affair much like the last matchup between the two sides.
Defensively, Stars’ captain Cody Spagrud logs the primary matchup minutes against the opposition’s best, while also sitting fifth amongst blue liners in scoring this season.
Spagrud is coming off a performance against Notre Dame that saw the rearguard notch his 30th point of the season, matching his previous career-high in points, set last season.
The captain’s eight goals place him sixth in the defencemen goal-scoring race, while also matching his previous total combined through his first three years in the league.
Red Deer, Alta., product Tanner Scott will line up alongside Spagrud tonight on the team’s top pair bringing another tough-to-play-against presence that can face top opponents.
Seth Summers and Matthew Fletcher remain as the anchors on pair two.
Summers, much like Boser, is also coming off a scrap on the 18th against Kindersley, that saw the defenceman confront Klippers’ forward Brett Neumeier after the winger dished out a vicious hit from behind on Ryan Gil.
Offering high hockey-IQ with precision passing, Fletcher’s zig is perfect for the physicality and aggressive nature of Summers’ zag.
The third pairing, featuring Ryan Granville and Garrett Johnson, bring a nice continued mix of physicality with puck-moving ability.
In goal, Joel Grzybowski will get the start after being awarded the night off on Saturday.
Grzybowski has been constant in his elite-level play, having posted a sub .923 save percentage just once over his last 12 starts.
Grzybowski will stare down Klippers’ starter Justen Close in the Kindersley goal.
Close was named SJHL Goaltender of the week four times, while being named runner-up another three times.
Fans can catch all the action at the Civic Center and on 1050 CJNB with Marty Martinson on the call. The pregame show begins at 7:15 p.m. with puck drop to follow at 7:30 p.m.
North Stars lineup at a glance
B. Buziak, M. Sinclair, O. Lamb
Q. Loon-Stewardson, M. Urbanski, E. Loon-Stewardson
R. Gil, D. Esau, B. Gammer
D. Heino, K. Boser, R. Doig
T. Scott, C. Spagrud
S. Summers, M. Fletcher
R. Granville, G. Johnson
On Twitter: MartyMartyPxP1
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