Stars Shake Off Rust to Take Series Opener, News, Minor Bantam A ('97), U14-U15 Travel, 2010-2011 (St. Thomas Minor Hockey)

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Stars Shake Off Rust to Take Series Opener
Submitted By Scott Tottle on Sunday, January 23, 2011
The Stars managed to overcome the rink rust that had accumulated from playing only one league game and one exhibition game in the past four weeks, to edge a very determined Amherstburg team 2-0 in their preliminary round series opener.  The Stars appeared to be fighting both the puck and their nerves most of the night, but otherwise stuck to their conservative, defensive game plan of eliminating turn-overs, penalties and odd man rushes.  While the game will not go down as a classic beauty in St. Thomas Jr. Stars hockey history, she was certainly pretty enough for Stars fans to take home on the long bus ride back to St.Thomas.

Matty Thomson opened the scoring for the Stars at 11:01 of the first period when he intercepted an errant clearing attempt just inside the Amherstburg blue line and let go a perfectly placed and dirty wrist shot which beat Amherstberg goaltender Werner low to the glove side.

There was no further scoring in the first period, although Zach Smith had a couple of near misses. Midway through the first, Zach finished off one of his end-to-end rushes when he rifled a wrist shot from the slot just wide of the left post.  Then, with 2.1 seconds remaining in the period, Jesse Tottle won a face-off cleanly back to Big Smitty, who quickly unleashed another wrist shot, only to hear it clang of the inside of the right post just before the buzzer sounded. 

Neither team generated much offense in the second period, although Werner made an impressive glove save on a backhand attempt off a Josh Mallory partial breakaway.  The Stars returned to their dressing room for the second period intermission with a 1-0 lead.

The third period featured much more excitement than the previous two, although some of it was unwanted by the Stars.  Winger Josh Reda made two outstanding defensive plays in the period which may have saved the game for the Stars.  Firstly, he raced back into his own zone to cover for an ill-timed pinch at the offensive blue line and deny Amherstberg a shot on net following on a 2-on-0 break.  Secondly, when a loose puck in the St. Thomas end caromed over to an open Amherstburg Star forward staring at an empty net, Mr. Reda slid across to block the shot and deflect the puck harmlessly into the corner.  Rogie is still adamant that he was in good butterfly position to save the shot had it not been blocked, but what else would you expect a goalie to say.

Early in the third period, Isaac Robinson took a beautiful pass from Jesse Tottle and went in alone on the Amherstberg netminder from twenty feet out.    Clearly frustrated when his shot failed to bulge the twine, Isaac decided to take his anger out on the right post with a cross check.  That decision cost him dearly as the stick, for which he had paid his own hard-earned money, broke on the play.  Ouch.  Let's hope his warranty is still valid.

Later in the period, Bryce Kernohan enjoyed watching two Amherstburg defencemen collide and fall to the ice as he went in on a break-away from the centre ice red line.  Unfortunately, while Jason Kernohan was out in the lobby eating a hot dog, Bryce did not fool Werner with his deke and the score remained 1-0.

With just over four minutes remaining in the game, Jesse Tottle lost a face off in the St. Thomas zone, which was won back to the Amherstburg defenceman at the right point.  Andrew Baxter anticipated the next play and intercepted the attempted pass to the Amherstburg defense partner.  Nobody is going to catch Mr. Baxter on a breakaway from his own blue line.  On this occasion, Andrew eluded the attempted poke check by Werner and lifted a backhander high into the net for a 2-0 Stars lead.

St.Thomas stymied the Amherstburg attack for the remainder of the game to take an early 1-0 series lead, with the next two games scheduled for comfortable confines of the Timken Centre.

Game Notes:...The game featured some of the best officiating we have seen all season.  Even Dave Thomson found it difficult to complain about a call....Isaac Robinson and Andrew Baxter seemed to pay a little more attention to their defensive zone responsibilities.  What a difference that makes....Rogie was steady in the St. Thomas net when needed.... Alex Sanders played a very solid, steady game for the Stars.  Perhaps his best of the season...Andrew Baxter made a remarkable recovery from what appeared to be a violent knee-on-knee collision early in the second period, once he realized that he may miss a shift on the power play.  Gotta love that toughness and desire to score....First star may go to the bus driver who, after a slow start to the day, did a great job getting us to the game on time, and getting us home under less than ideal driving conditions....An absolutely beautiful facility in Amherstburg.  Almost makes you want to go back there for another game.  Almost.....Until next weekend, keep you feet on the ground and keep reaching for the Stars.  
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