Two Ties for Christmas, News, Minor Bantam A ('97), U14-U15 Travel, 2010-2011 (St. Thomas Minor Hockey)

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Two Ties for Christmas
Submitted By stottle on Tue 12 14, 10
Nobody enjoys getting ties for Christmas, especially if they are of the unflattering variety.  The thought is always appreciated, but the gift itself usually leaves you feeling somewhat unsatisfied.  Nonetheless, the minor Bantam Jr. Stars did just that over the weekend, giving their fans two very ungratifying ties for the holiday season.  The weekend started off with a 2-2 tie on Saturday afternoon against Waterloo at the Timken Centre and finished with a 3-3 draw in Sarnia on Sunday afternoon.  Anyone who witnessed the weekend games would concede that the Stars deserved a better fate in both games, but the ties were a dramatic improvement from many of their recent results.   

On Saturday, the Stars controlled much of the first period with a strong forecheck, but could not manage to tickle the twine.  Losing Matty Thomson very early in the second period with a CFB certainly did not bode well for the offensively challenged Stars, already playing without Isaac Robinson due to a similar offense.  However, Bryce broke the ice less than two minutes later when he pounced on a loose puck in front of Waterloo netminder Blake Jensen and slammed it home for 1-0 Stars lead.  Andrew Baxter earned the lone assist on the play.

The score remained 1-0 until 10:27 of the third period when Waterloo was assessed their only penalty of the game.  It took the Stars power play unit only seven second to capitalize on their lone opportunity of the game.  Michael McArthur won a key face off in the Waterloo zone back to Dane Jacoletti, who in turn fed Jesse Tottle at his customary quarterback position.  Without hesitation, Jesse let go a "blistering" slap shot which was officially timed as taking 3.7 seconds to reach the goal.  While everyone in the building counted the revolutions of the puck as it made its way toward the net, Pierce Lawrence parked himself in front of the crease.  Pierce either deflected the shot or screened the Waterloo netminder just enough to allow the puck to squeak between between the pads and give the Stars a 2-0 lead.

While basking in the glory of their first two goal lead in an eternity, the Stars attention span came to a staggering conclusion as they were assessed two minors and three misconducts in the final ten minutes of the game.  Greyson Tottle got the ball rolling when he pushed a Waterloo player out of this crease and was credited with an interference penalty.   The Warriors capitalized a minute into the power play to cut the lead in half at 2-1.  Sticking up for his brother, Jesse Tottle attempted to articulate the subjective inequity of the officiating and was promptly assessed a 10 minute misconduct.  

Less than two minutes later and on another power play, Waterloo evened the score at 2-2 off a scramble in front of a clearly frustrated Greyson Tottle with only 6:44 left on the clock.  It was then that Zack Smith attempted to flip the puck up for the referee to catch.  Somehow, quite remarkably, the puck seemed to rocket off the blade of his stick and struck the rafters of the building.  The referee was so impressed with this dazzling display of skill, he assessed the Stars another 10 minute misconduct.  Josh Reda subsequently added a third Stars misconduct to the scoresheet before the buzzer sounded to end the third period of a 2-2 tie.

In Sarnia, the Stars increased their attention span to a full three periods and dominated play for almost the entire game.  But for some brilliant Sarnia netminding, a couple of minor defensive lapses and the Stars penchant for shooting at a goaltender, the score could have easily been lopsided in St. Thomas' favour.

Dane Jacoletti opened the scoring for the Stars at 4:32 of the first period.  Andrew Baxter streaked down the right wing and tried to tuck the puck up high on the short side, only to be thwarted by Sarnia goaltender Matt Szabo.  Andrew picked up his own rebound, cruised behind the Sting net and spotted Dane sliding in from the blue line.  Dane picked up the saucy backhander from Andrew, took his time and wristed the puck over Szabo's outstretched pad.

The Sting tied the score early in the second period, executing a perfect two-on-one break, when Aiden Chapdelaine tapped in a goalmouth pass from assistant captain Nolan Riley.  At 4:13 of the second period, Bryce Kernohan scored his second goal of the weekend during a mad scramble in front of the Sarnia net.  Alex Sanders and Dane Jacoletti earned assists on the play.  The Stars lead was short-lived, however, as Kyle Adams displayed his quick hands and feet with a nifty wrap-around goal past a helpless Brennan Agius less than a minute later.  The two teams went into the third period tied at 2-2.

Zach Smith finally discovered the lethal combination of hitting the net and missing the goalie at 8:21 of the final stanza when he wristed a shot low to the glove side to give the Stars a 3-2 lead.  An unlucky bounce behind the Stars net with 1:34 left in the game allowed the Sting to tie the game.  Despite intense pressure during the final minute of play, the Stars were unable to pot the winner and the game ended a 3-3 draw.

Weekend Notes:  Josh Mallory played his best game of the season against Waterloo, using his speed to create several scoring chances, battling hard and playing well defensively.  He can be a difference maker....Derek Smith and Bryce Kernohan also played very well offensively and defensively in both weekend games...Jesse Tottle and Michael McArthur enjoyed two 2-on-0 breakaways against Waterloo.  At least MicMac managed to record a shot on net....Zach Smith was a powerhouse on Sunday and scored what should have been the winning goal.  Can we get ShareBear come to all our games....Michael McArthur was impressive on Sunday in his debut as a defenseman.  He might not intimidate anyone physically, other than with his good looks, but he sure seems like a keeper at that position...The line of Josh Reda, Bryce Kernohan and Jesse Tottle was a threat to score virtually every shift against Sarnia.  They look like keepers as well...You just have to admire the dedication, consistency and excellence of a Dane Jacoletti...The Stars finally appear to be understanding what is expected of them heading into the playdowns.  Lets keep our fingers crossed....The Stars face the Jr. Knights and Hamilton, perhaps the two best AA teams west of Toronto, in the final three games of the season.  Should be a good test of their composure and attention span...Until then, keep your stick on the ice and keep reaching for the Stars.
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