The Norman Northstars will be in tough this weekend as they host the Yellowhead Chiefs at the T.R.C.C. Here’s what you need to know heading in to the two-game set.
- Saturday, January 26th @ 7:30pm (broadcast live on 102.9 CHTM)
- Sunday, January 27th @ 1:30pm
The Norman Northstars come into the weekend looking rebound from a road trip that saw them drop three straight games. The team couldn’t manage to hold on to a lead Friday against the Interlake Lightning or Winnipeg Bruins, and were outgunned by a powerful Eastman side on Sunday.
Outside of Henry Muchikekwanape and Hunter Rambow extending their point streaks, the road trip saw stellar production from Jonathan Saunders and Sam MacDonald. Both players had three points over the weekend; an assists in each game.
The second-place Yellowhead Chiefs come to Thompson on a roll, having picked up six points in their last three games.
The most impressive of the three wins came on January 19th, when the Chiefs beat the first-place Winnipeg Wild 5-4 in a shootout. Yellowhead found themselves down 4-2 to start the third period against Winnipeg, but managed to tied the game and force overtime and later a shootout.
One of the strongest parts of the Chiefs’ game is their powerplay, which is currently clicking alon gat 21.5% and has accounted for almost 1/3 of their goals scored this season.
Head to head
The two teams have played each other twice this season, with the Chiefs coming out with 3-0 and 5-1 victories.
The 2017/2018 season was any better for the Northstars in this matchup, as Yellowhead dominated all four meetings by a combine score of 32-7 and averaged 8 goals per game.
NNS players to watch
Muchikekwanape is having a career year, posting 25 goals and 20 assists (45 points) in 35 games played. His goal and point totals lead all Northstars, and find him among the league’s top scorers. Muchikekwanape comes into the weekend on a four-game point streak, with eight goals and one assist over that stretch.
Rambow also comes into the weekend on a point streak, with 11 points (five goals, six assists) over four games. The Nor-Man captain in on pace for a midget “AAA” career year in goals, assists and points.
Jamie Valentino, though not currently on a point streak, comes into the weekend hot. Valentino started the season with 14 points in his first 17 games, but has been on fire since December started. In the 13 games he’s played since, the Swan Valley Stampeders prospect has nine goals and 15 assists for 24 points. That moves his season totals to 16 (goals), 22 (assists) and 38 (points).
One other player to watch for the Northstars is rookie Sam MacDonald, who picked up three of his four points on the season last weekend on the road.
Yellowhead players to watch
On a team that currently sits second in the league, there is never a shortage of players to watch.
Jake Poole has proved to be lethal for the Chiefs this season, leading the team with 56 points (29 goals, 27 assists).
Five players on the team (other than Poole) have 30+ points on the season (Logan Wotton, Reece Richmond, Parker Johnson, Briley Wood, Sloan Stanick), and three others have reached the 20+ assist mark (Richmond, Wotton, Bray Rookes).
Johnson and Zane MacDonald have been instrumental for the Chiefs against the Northstars this season, with each contributing four points over the two games.
Last year, it was Poole that did the damage to the Nor-Man side, scoring five goals and adding four assists in the four games. Owen Wareham and Colby Joseph each had seven points in the four games, while Wotton had six and MacDonald had five.
Tanner Dutcawich, who spent a season with the Bantam “AAA” Norman Wolves, has the potential to be a difference maker for Yellowhead this weekend. The 17-year-old on has seven points (two goals, five assists) so far this season, but managed to score six times and add two helpers for eight points against the Northstars last season.