North Stars set to tango with Terriers tonight

By Martin Martinson
January 11, 2019 - 2:00pm

Friday night will mark just the second matchup of the season-series between the Battlefords North Stars and Yorkton Terriers, and first at Farrell Agencies Arena in Yorkton.

The Battlefords North Stars sit third in the Global Ag. Risk Solutions Division with 48 points thanks to a 20-10-8 through 38 games heading into Friday night with just two regulation losses over their last 10 games (5-2-3 over the span).

Yorkton meanwhile, sit atop the Viterra Division with a 21-16-1 record through their first 38 games, good for 43 points.

On the backend, Stars’ captain Cody Spagrud will draw back into the lineup tonight after missing each of the team’s two games last weekend, sidelined with a lower body injury.

For the North Stars, Spagrud’s return with be a welcomed sight for a team that went 0-1-1 in his absence as the Stars prepare for a lethal Yorkton offence that has several dynamic threats up front, lead by left winger, Jared Legien.

A WHL returnee with nearly 150 games of major junior experience, Legien sits fifth in the league scoring race heading into action with 54 points in just 35 games played, 29 of which are goals, good for third best in the SJHL.

Although Legien sets the pace of the attack, the 20-year-old is far from the only weapon up front within the Terriers’ top nine forwards.

Centreman, Chantz Petruic drives the offence through the middle of the ice amongst the very best pivots in the SJHL. Petruic sits just back of Legion in scoring, with 21 goals (fourth) and 47 points (sixth), just three points ahead of Branden Klatt, another dual threat who sits just outside the top five in the league in goals and within the top 10 in points. All total, Yorkton boasts three of the top nine point producers in the Saskatchewan League.

The Terriers’ potent offensive front means that in addition to the obvious boost to the blue line provided by the return of Spagrud, the North Stars will also need another big performance once again from fellow right-hander, Matthew Fletcher, opposite Seth Summers on the team’s second defensive pairing, another heavily-relied upon tandem in addition to Spagurd and Tanner Scott.

Two of Austin Shumanski, Noah Form and Ryan Granville on pair three will no-doubt also factor in as key pieces to the Stars’ shutdown efforts of the league’s second-ranked offensive attack, using their mobility and positioning to provide a sound two-way game.

Although the official lineup will be decided closer to gametime, for the North Stars, the forward group for the team is expected to look as such:

MacGregor Sinclair holds the distinction of offensive catalyst for his team, with 39 points in 37 games. Sinclair will be flanked tonight by Braydon Buziak and Owen Lamb, two players bringing a scoring touch around the net with already-established chemistry.

Elijah Loon-Stewardson, Quintin Loon-Stewardson and Matthias Urbanski give another new look bringing speed and smarts. Elijah Loon-Stewardson is coming off a contest against the Broncos in Humboldt that saw the forward pot his ninth goal of the season, with the forward now sitting just one tally shy of doubling his goal output from last season.

Ryan Gil will remain on the left side, lining up tonight next to Regan Doig who will shift back to the middle of the ice and Dayton Heino, on an opposition defenceman’s worst nightmare when it comes to the three players’ ability to cycle the puck down low.

Dylan Esau on the fourth unit is coming off a night to remember that saw the forward score his first goal of the season, and second overall as a Star last Saturday. Esau will play the middle on line four again tonight with two of Austin Becker, Brett Gammer and Kaden Boser lining up on the wings.

Between the pipes, Chad Duran and Joel Grzybowski are expected to split the starts tonight and tomorrow for the team's back-to-back set this weekend. The Littleton, Colorado, product Duran has proven in his handful of starts, to be a calming presence for his team allowing Grzybowski some well-deserved nights off.

Fans can catch all the action on tonight’s game beginning with the pregame show at 7:15 p.m. and puck drop at 7:30 p.m. on 1050 CJNB.

 

North Stars lineup at a glance

Forwards:

B. Buziak, M. Sinclair O. lamb

E. Loon. Q. Loon, M. Urbanski

R. Gil, R. Doig, D. Heino

A. Becker/ D. Esau/ B. Gammer/ K. Boser

Defencemen:

T. Scott, C. Spagrud

S. Summers, M. Fletcher

A. Shumanski/ N. Form/ R. Granville

Goaltenders:

C. Duran/ J. Grzybowski

 

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North Stars prove Terriers' bark worse than bite

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