The 2017 Canalta Cup finalists will clash this Saturday.
The Flin Flon Bombers are in Battlefords to cap a six-game road swing. It is the first time the teams have met since the North Stars won the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League championship.
Like Flin Flon, Battlefords has tried to retool and be successful after significant losses from last year’s team, including head coach Nate Bedford. The North Stars are 6-0-1-0 on the season. How has the team succeeded?
“The key returning players have played out of their minds,” play-by-play man Nathan Kanter of CJNB Radio said.
For example, 20-year-old goalie Taryn Kotchorek of North Battleford had shutouts in each of his first two games of the season. He has a 2.34 goals against average (fourth in the SJHL) and a 0.927 save percentage (third in the league).
Offensively, Layne Young, a 20-year-old from Frenchman Butte, has led the way. He had six goals and 18 points in seven games. As of Sunday, he was third in the league in points. The line of Young, MacGregor Sinclair, and Dakota Huebner had 15 goals while the rest of the squad had scored 14.
“Young is the driving force behind the team,” said Kanter, who noted that returning players have stepped into key leadership roles.
Flin Flon’s Chrystopher Collin leads the SJHL in rookie scoring, with 15 points in 13 games. The Quebec product led all rookies with nine goals.
Estevan’s Zach Goberis led all SJHL scorers with 28 points in 13 games. The 20-year-old forward from Colorado had lit the lamp a league-best 16 times. He scored a hat trick against the Bombers on Sunday.