Now that the Battlefords North Stars have reached their 12-day Christmas break, it’s a good time to review the season so far and see how the team and the players stack up on the statistical side of the ledger.
The North Stars entered the break having played 34 games, with 19 wins, 9 losses, two overtime losses and four shootout losses, for 44 points. Right now the Kindersley Klippers are ahead of them with 48 points, as are the Humboldt Broncos with 45. But the Broncos have also played three more games than the Klippers and North Stars.
The North Stars rank fifth overall in the league standings, but if the playoffs started today they would actually be seeded sixth because Yorkton, with 41 points, is actually leading their division.
Meanwhile, Flin Flon is in seventh place at 40 points, just four points behind the North Stars. If the Bombers were to catch up to the North Stars and drop them down to the seventh spot by season’s end, the North Stars would be forced to play the nerve-wracking best of five survivor series in the first round for the first time in years.
That makes every game a crucial one the rest of the way, with the North Stars fighting not only to avoid the survivor series, but to potentially win their division again for the fourth straight season.
In the individual stats, after so many years enjoying watching high-powered offences on the ice, it must come as a shock that not a single one of the North Stars is in the top 10 of the league in scoring so far this season.
The top scorer on the team is MacGregor Sinclair, who is tied for 14th at the break with 36 points – 12 goals and a team-leading 24 assists.
Matthias Urbanski is next with 14 goals and 19 assists for 33 points, while Ryan Gil has 13 goals and 15 assists for 28 points.
While Owen Lamb has 26 points, he also leads the team in goals scored with 16. That puts him 11th in the league in goals scored so far.
In net, Joel Grzybowski leads the team with a goals-against of 2.42, with a record of 14-8-2-2 and a .916 save percentage. Adam Dmyterko has a goals-against of 2.43 and a record of 2-0-0-1, for a .913 save percentage. Chad Duran, who played earlier this season with La Ronge, has an overall record of 4-4-0-1 and a goals-against of 3.77, for an .884 save percentage. Finally, Jake Davidson played two games with a goals-against of 4.50.
After they return from their break, the North Stars have 18 road games and only six home games to finish the regular season. One of those six home games is at Battleford Arena on Jan. 4, against the Humboldt Broncos, as the Civic Centre prepares to host the Pinty’s Grand Slam curling that month.
You may want to circle the last game on the calendar: against the Kindersley Klippers on March 5 at the Civic Centre. Given the way the standings look, that game could prove to have monumental importance.