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SJHL Round-Up: Battlefords North Stars start new year with wins

The Humboldt Broncos split the two games it played this so far this year, the Melfort Mustangs and Nipawin Hawks won one each, the Melville Millionaires won two, and the La Ronge Ice Wolves and Kindersley Klippers lost both.
North Stars La Ronge preseason
The Battlefords North Stars won all three of its contests last week.

The Battlefords North Stars opened 2023 like it ended 2022 – by winning games.

The North Stars won all three of its contests last week. The squad has not dropped a game in regulation this season. Battlefords paces the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League with a 31-0-2-1 record. The North Stars are 18 points ahead in the standings of second place Flin Flon (22-8-2-1).

The national junior hockey trade deadline is Jan. 10. SJHL teams will be making deals to get down to 23 players, tweak rosters for hopefully postseason success, and to build for the future.

On Jan. 4, the La Ronge Ice Wolves scored three times in the third period, but the North Stars were able to win 4-3 at home. Keiton Klein scored Battlefords’ lone third period goal, which was the game winner.

The North Stars beat the visiting Kindersley Klippers, 5-1, on Jan. 6. Klein scored twice. Justen Maric allowed only one goal on 27 shots.

On the road on Saturday, the Battlefords team dropped the Klippers, 5-1. Kian Bell led the way for the North Stars with two goals and three points. Battlefords goalie Josh Kotai turned away 46 shots.


Humboldt Broncos (21-10-1-0)

The Broncos opened the 2023 portion of its schedule with two games in Flin Flon. The Humboldt team lost 6-2 on Friday night.

Benjamin Motew stopped all 28 shots he faced to shut out the Bombers, 2-0. Spencer Bell and Lucas Ceccarelli provided the Broncos’ goals.


Melfort Mustangs (18-10-5-1)

The Mustangs split its games against the rival Nipawin Hawks on the weekend. Nipawin took Friday’s tilt in Melfort, 2-1. On Saturday, the Mustangs held off the Hawks for a 4-3 victory. Melfort led 2-0 and 3-2 at the intermissions. Ryan Duguay’s powerplay marker in the third was the game winner. Ben Tkachuk and Kevin Minnoch each had two assists for Melfort.

The Mustangs are 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games.


Nipawin Hawks (15-17-1-1)

On Friday night, the host Mustangs led Nipawin, 1-0, after the second period. Braxton Buckberger and Zander Stewart, on a powerplay, lit the lamp to help the Hawks come from behind. Nipawin netminder Jackson Fellner stopped 32 shots.

The Hawks fought back against Mustangs but fell 4-3 on Saturday night. Stewart and Joel Mabin each had two assists.


La Ronge Ice Wolves (21-12-2-1)

The La Ronge Ice Wolves lost a pair of one-goal contests last week.

On Jan. 2, the Ice Wolves led the Flin Flon Bombers, 3-2, after two periods. The Bombers scored twice in the third to prevail 4-3 in La Ronge.

Against the North Stars, the Ice Wolves trailed 2-0 and 3-0 at the intermissions. The visiting La Ronge squad outscored Battlefords, 3-1, in the third but fell 4-3. Walker Jerome scored twice for La Ronge.


Kindersley Klippers (6-19-2-4)

The Klippers lost 5-1 on the road to Battlefords on Jan. 6. The team fell 5-1 to the North Stars at home the next night.


Melville Millionaires (10-19-4-1)

The Millionaires beat Yorkton twice by the score of 5-2 on the weekend. On the road on Friday, the Millionaires jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead. They led 5-1 at the second intermission. Isaac Suppin scored twice for Melville.

In front of 1,126 home fans, after a scoreless first period, the Millionaires took a 3-0 second period lead. Both teams scored twice in the third. Suppin recorded a goal and three assists, while Nathan Fox had a goal and two assists.

The Millionaires made two roster moves last week. The squad added Zach Bansley from the Melfort Mustangs for a 2023 second round draft pick. The 17-year-old forward from Tisdale has been with the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes this season. He had one assist in 18 contests. Melville moved 20-year-old defenceman Kayden Skulmoski to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Niverville Nighthawks for a player development fee. He had 10 points and 49 penalty minutes in 31 games for Melville.


Notre Dame Hounds (11-14-2-2)

The Hounds did not play last week. They open the 2023 portion of their schedule on Jan. 10 by hosting Weyburn in Radville.