No doubt about it, the Battlefords North Stars will be sad to see 2019 go, because it had been such an outstanding year for them.
Any year can be considered “good” when you win a Canalta Cup title. But the team has not rested on its laurels as they began the new 2019-20 season on fire. The team had a seven game win streak to start the new season, and later mounted a 15-game winning streak that briefly allowed them to take over first place in the Junior A rankings across Canada.
The club has cooled off since then, but they still enter 2020 in very good shape. As of Dec. 30 the North Stars stood at 30 wins, six losses and two OT losses for 62 points, 11 ahead of the Flin Flon Bombers for first in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. As for the Global Ag Risk Solutions division, the divisional “race” is more like a runaway as the North Stars lead the second-place Humboldt Broncos by 25 points.
While the North Stars enjoy a big lead in the overall standings, that has not translated into individual statistical dominance from any one North Stars player. Instead, the club has benefitted from a balanced attack, with multiple lines contributing and numerous players scoring goals.
As 2019 ends, five North Stars are ranked in the league’s top 20 goal scorers. The top points-getter for the club, ranked eighth overall in the league. is Rylan Nivon with 10 goals and 31 assists for 41 points.
Right behind him in ninth spot is forward Quintin Loon-Stewardson, who is the club’s leading goal scorer with 23 goals. His 17 assists take him up to 40 points.
Ranked 16th is Matthias Urbanski with 13 goals and 23 assists; 18th is Elijah Loon-Stewardson with 13 goals and 22 assists, and 20th is Austin Becker with 13 goals and 20 assists. Becker also enjoyed a six-game goal-scoring streak in September in which he scored seven goals and got two assists.
Right on Becker’s heels is captain Matthew Fletcher, tied with him at 33 points with seven goals and 26 assists. Ben Hiltz and Seth Summers each have 30 points; Hiltz’s totals include the 11 goals and 11 assists with the Weyburn Red Wings before coming to the Battlefords in a trade. Since the trade Hiltz has two goals and six assists with the North Stars.
The runaway leader in the league scoring race so far is Chantz Petruic of Yorkton, who has an incredible 44 goals and 35 assists for 79 points. Flin Flon’s Cole Rafuse was second with 27 goals and 36 assists for 63 points, with Alec Malo third with 11 goals and 51 assists.
In the goaltending department, the North Stars have seen solid performances from Parker Rey and Adam Dmyterko this season. Rey has a 2.32 goals-against average in 13 games with a record of 9-2-1. Dmyterko has a goals-against of 2.50, but an even more impressive record of 13-2-1.
Leading the league so far has been Ryan Ouellette of Yorkton, with a 2.05 goals against average and a record of 14-2-1.