Twas the Knights Before Christmas, News, Minor Bantam A ('97), U14-U15 Travel, 2010-2011 (St. Thomas Minor Hockey)

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Twas the Knights Before Christmas
Submitted By stottle on Mon 12 20, 10
The minor Bantam Jr. Stars will play back-to-back games against the London Jr. Knights to finish out the 2010 regular season schedule.  The St. Thomas half of the home and home series took place at the Timken Centre on Saturday afternoon with the Stars taking full credit for a 4-2 win.  The victory on the ice was well earned and set the mood for what turned out to be a fantastic night for all at the Christmas At The Station.  

Greyson Tottle avoided what could have been a poor start for the often-fragile psyche of the Stars.  During the first shift, Rogie made a remarkably quick (for him), old-fashioned two-pad stack to thwart an early scoring opportunity that could have given London early momentum.  Instead, the save seemed to give a boost to the Stars as they slowed started to take control of the play with some good break-outs and strong forechecking.

Bryce Kernohan,with his third goal in as many games, opened the scoring for the Stars just six minutes into the match.  Bryce was the beneficiary of some determined forechecking by Josh Reda and Josh Mallory, and like all good goal scorers, was able to drive to the net at just the right time to finish off the play and give the Stars a 1-0 lead heading into the second period.  Josh Mallory was credited with the only assist on the play.

The Stars doubled their lead early in the second period on a two-man advantage.  Andrew Baxter and Dane Jacoletti pulled the old stand-by play, the give-and-go, out of their bag of power play tricks when Andrew returned a pass to Dane as he broke for the front of the Knight' net.  Dane took the ruse one step further by giving the appearance that he fanned on his first shot attempt before lifting his intended shot high over the outstretched pad of Knight's goaltender Jordan Warner.

Andrew Baxter increased the lead to 3-0 only seconds after a Star's power play had expired.  With just over two minutes played in the third period, Andrew cruised out from behind the Knights net and flipped a backhander that tickled Warner's armpit hairs before it sneaking through and landing behind the goal line.  

Seemingly undeterred, the Knights showed why they are still one of the best AA teams in the province as they worked their way back into the game.  At 10:56 of the third period, Matt McPherson took a goalmouth pass and scored on a sharp angle high off the shoulder of Rogie Tottle to narrow the score to 3-1.  With less than six minutes to play, the Knights scored their second consecutive goal with a quick one-timer off a Star's turnover in their own zone to make the butt cheeks of Star's fans clinch a little tighter.

However, preceding a unified exhale by Stars fans, Dane Jacoletti scored his second power play goal of the game to ice the win for Stars.  With 54 seconds left in the contest, Jacoletti picked up a loose puck in the slot off of a broken play and slapped a backhander into the yawning cage for a 4-2 Stars victory.  Josh Reda and Jesse Tottle earned assists on the play.

Game Notes:  The victory was the Stars' second consecutive win over the Knights this season and third dating back to last season.  The Stars will go for the regular season sweep against the Knight this Thursday....Alex Sanders played solidly for the Stars in his own zone and made several excellent outlet passes which allowed the Stars to break out of their own zone easily and beat a dangerous Knights' forecheck....Andrew Baxter recorded a minor hockey Gordie Howe hat trick of sorts.  A goal, an assist and a bone-jarring hit at his own blue line in the second period....The second period was also highlighted by Rogie Tottle's his first recorded saucer pass up to Zach Smith.... The Stars' line-up seems to have finally sorted itself out.  All lines seem to be contributing both offensively and defensively at important times.  The wingers are doing a better job of avoiding turn-overs and getting the puck out of our zone.  The power play has become more effective with the presence of Pierce Lawrence in front of the opposing net.  Michael McArthur has solidified himself as a very effective defenceman, although obviously he is still a work-in-progress....The key will be to maintain their currently level of play over the holidays and into the O.M.H.A. playdowns... as well as making sure Jesse Tottle is engulfed in bubble wrap at least until the playdowns begin...until Thursday,keep your stick on the ice and keep reaching for the Stars.  
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