Jan 02, 2011 | stottle | 1455 views
Stars Continue Surge Into Playdowns
The minor Bantam Stars may not have won the game in Hamilton on Sunday night, but they continued with their streak of strong, competitive play that fans have enjoyed for the past few weeks. The Hamilton Reps, who are clearly the best AA team in the Alliance and have lost only three games all season, were on their heels for the final eight minutes of the game as the Stars stormed their net looking for the tying marker. Only a never-ending sea of Hamilton players diving to block shots prevented the Stars from knotting the game at three. An empty net goal with 18 seconds remaining, following another blocked shot, secured the win for the Reps who remain unbeaten at home on the season.
It was evident very early in the game that many players had lost their hands as well as their conditioning over the holiday season. On the big ice surface of Chedoke Arena, it is hard to hide those two shortcomings. All too often, players found themselves in the helpless position of being fatigued, winded and a long way from their bench. Nonethess, the Stars should be proud of the way they battled until the last shift against a very talented, strong skating team.
Jesse Tottle opened the scoring for the Stars at 7:29 of the first period. The little squirrel on Red Bull intercepted a Hamilton clearing pass in the neutral zone and raced in on a partial breakaway. Overcoming an attempted trip from a Rep defender, Jesse flipped a wrister from close range which appeared to hit the cross bar and come straight down without ever crossing the goal line. However, the referee was in perfect position and signaled a goal, much to the disbelief of everyone else in building, including Jesse. Video replay from the head office was inconclusive.
Hamilton tied the game early in the second period when Reps captain Cameron Stokes poked the puck by a Stars defender and went in alone on Brennan Agius. Mr. Stokes made no mistake on the break away as he torched a wrist shot top shelf, where Rogie keeps the Nutella, to tie the score at 1-1.
A hard slapper from the point found the inside of the post to make the score 2-1 in favour of the Reps going into the third period.
Hamilton went ahead 3-1 at 10:12 of the third period as the Reps took advantage of an ill-timed Stars pinch to create a 2-on-1 break. A beautiful goalmouth pass from Connor Bramwell allowed Joshua Levy a slam dunk into the open side past a helpless Brennan Agius.
Derek Smith cued the comeback for the Stars with 8:25 left on the clock. Derek picked up a loose puck after Michael McArthur had dangled inside the Hamilton blue line to the point of exhaustion. Smitty's off-speed wrister seemed to handcuff the Hamilton goalkeeper as he wasn't able to get enough puck to stop it from trickling across of the goal line and cut the Rep lead to 3-2.
Despite the onslaught for the last half of the period, the Stars were not able to net the equalizer. Where the Stars got their energy for their valiant comeback attempt is anyone's guess. All tests on the water bottles have come back negative. Whatever it was, Stars fans hope they can find it and use it again for three periods come playdown time.
Game Notes: Subject to final confirmation, at the time of this writing, it would appear that the Stars will have a bye in the first round of the O.M.H.A. playdowns...Brennan Agius played extremely well for the Stars. He felt so confident in the first period that he passed to Hamilton player streaking in to the slot for a one-timer, just so he could make a highlight reel glove save....The Stars have donated the contents of their pink fine pig, which totaled $70.20, to the Euro trip...Bryce Kernohan wanted to use the money to buy slushies instead, but was over-ruled by several slushy-haters....Isaac Robinson is rounding into playoff form. Poolies should take heed....According to the rule book, Andrew Baxter will likely not miss a playdown game, despite being assessed a game misconduct for hitting from behind. Rather he will have to miss our next league playoff game. It's not often the Rule Book has been kind to the Stars this season.....Looks like the Stars are finally getting the breaks they deserve... Until next time, keep your stick down, cover the short side and don't get deked.