Feb 15, 2011 | stottle | 2594 views
Stars Sweep Over the Falls
The Minor Bantam Jr. Stars took the first two games of their O.M.H.A. quarter final series with the Niagara Falls Canucks on the weekend to take a commanding four point lead in the six point series. Both games were played at the plush new Gale Centre in Niagara Falls. All remaining games in the series will be played this weekend at the Timkin Centre in St.Thomas starting on Friday night @ 7:45 p.m..
On Friday night, the Stars struggled from the opening face-off to find their focus and concentration. The combination of a few missed passes, some poor positioning and a little anxiety produced some tense and frustrating moments for the Stars and their fans.
As he has done so often this year, Dane Jacoletti got the Stars rolling with a power play goal with twenty one seconds left in the first period. Dane one-timed a brilliant cross-ice pass from Michael McArthur past a helpless Canuck netminder, Eric Lowe for a 1-0 Stars lead heading into the second period.
The Canucks were the benefactors of a fortunate bounce midway through the second period. While on the power play, a shot from the right point caromed off the end boards and found its way onto the blade of Daniel Gallagher, the Canucks most dangerous forward, standing alone to the left of Stars goaltender, Brennan Agius. Daniel made no mistake as he deposited the puck into the yawning cage to tie the score at 1-1.
Reminiscent of the opening game of the Amherstburg series, Andrew Baxter gave Stars fans a highlight reel goal and a third period lead they would not relinquish. With Stars fans on the edge of their seats, Andrew powered down the left side, past the Canuck defender and drove the net before lifting the biscuit over the pad of Lowe for a 2-0 Stars lead.
Three minutes later, Jesse Tottle gave the Stars a two goal cushion which they would ultimately need. With ten minutes to play Jesse wheeled behind the Canuck net and, with a perfectly executed wrap-around, gave the Stars a 3-1 lead.
With Isaac Robinson in the sin bin with the first of his three consecutive minors in the third period, Stars penalty killers let Canuck defenceman Corey Sheehan step into the high slot and let go a slap shot which grazed past Agius' outstretched glove to narrow the score to 3-2.
Thanks to a clutch breakaway save by Brennan on a Gallagher breakaway with less than two minutes remaining, and a missed Jesse Tottle empty net breakaway, the Stars held on for a somewhat unartistic opening game 3-2 win.
Saturday afternoon saw a significant improvement in the Stars' play. Matty Thomson got the Stars rolling with a dominant first shift playing centre and creating a couple of glorious scoring opportunities. Although the first period ended in a scoreless draw, the Stars dominated much of the play and held the Canucks to three relatively harmless shots.
The second period saw continued domination by the Stars but also featured an offensive explosion. Following a Rogie Tottle stop on a penalty shot, the Stars took control of the game by scoring four goals in a span of four and a half minutes.
Pierce Lawrence started the fireworks when took a saucy backhander from Andrew Baxter (one of the sauciest passers in Jr. Stars history) off a Stars rush and fired a shot between the pads of Canuck goaltender, Reid Morgan. Less than two minutes later, Micmac demonstrated his new trademark move, a short-side, reverse backhand pass, this time to a wide open Josh Reda. Josh quickly slammed the pass home past a completely fooled Morgan.
Isaac Robinson then embarrassed Canuck defenceman, Joshua Lang, with a cheeky outside-in move and went in alone on Morgan. Isaac finished off the play in style when he lasered a wrist shot high to the blocker side to give the Stars a 3-0 lead. Josh Reda finished the fireworks display when he picked up his own rebound and shoveled it past Morgan with 6:24 left in the second period. Mr. Reda's second goal of the game marked the end of Morgan's afternoon.
The Stars seemed slightly disinterested and content to let the clock run down in the third period. Unfortunately, Greyson failed to corral a relatively simple rebound, which allowed Jeffrey Venzon to score with 2:22 seconds left in the game and deny Rogie his third shut out of the post-season. Nonetheless, the Stars head back home with a two game lead and will look to capture the series on Friday night.
Weekend Notes: Saturday's game was the first in several weeks where the Stars defence crew were held off the scoresheet....Niagara's goal on Saturday was the first even strength goal the Stars have given up this post-season....Couldn't be happier to see Pierce and Isaac, two of the most dedicated players on the team, see their hard work pay off with important play-off goals....Special thanks to everyone who attended the pre-game meal at Mama Mia's. Our parents turned a potentially ugly situation into an enjoyable, compassionate and relatively inexpensive eating experience... I think the good karma carried over to the game....Andrew Baxter really needs to work on his Celly, or stop trying to celebrate altogether....Rogie Tottle could use a little work on his as well....Until next time, keep your stick on the ice and keep reaching for the Stars.