Stars Grab 3rd @ the Blue and White, News, Bantam AE ('96-'97), U14-U15 Travel, 2010-2011 (St. Thomas Minor Hockey)

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Stars Grab 3rd @ the Blue and White
Submitted By dvannoord on Sunday, January 9, 2011
Strength in the face of adversity.

Everyone has heard this cliché. Everyone has battled their own personal adversity. It makes one stronger. Nobody should or can argue that fact. How one channels that strength for betterment is the key.

The Jr. Stars entered the Blue and White Tournament in London with a few question marks. What Stars team would show up? Were they in over their heads against teams they knew little about aside from rival St Mary's? Was this the weekend something would finally click? All strong questions. All questions that most could and did ask in and around the room.

Let's not pull punches, this team has underachieved this season. No sense sugar coating things. Not one player in that room will tell you they are sitting where they expected to be when that 1st puck dropped back in October. There comes a time when you must step up and hold everyone around you accountable for their actions. Every team must do it. The Stars are no different.

Entering Friday against a St Mary's team we know all too well, it was gut check time. The Rock chased us out of their rink back in November. Not a good scene. Let's not dwell on that. The Rock was our last league opponent. A hard fought 2-0 game, but still a loss. It was time. The vibe was different on Thursday night at practice. The coaches felt something, saw something. Playing arguably their best game of the season Friday night, the Stars schooled the Rock this time. Everything clicked. Every line clicked. Everything meshed, as well tuned machines do. End result: Stars 3 Rock 2. A sign of things to come?

Saturday morning saw an early draw against the host Nationals. I won't get into their coach's portfolio. Just Google Jeff Hackett. It speaks for itself. This was the team we knew the least about, other than the fact that they were coached by an ex-NHLer. Competing would be key. They were big, but they looked beatable. The Stars hung tight through all 3 periods before dropping a hard fought 2-0 game. Not too bad still. Very respectable 1-1 going into Saturday afternoon.

The afternoon saw the Stars line up across from the Warriors from Stratford. This one was a goaltenders duel. From my angle if the Warrior goaltender hadn't played on his head, we walk the table in this one. Maybe they were saying the same about Dozer's perfomance, who knows. End result: 1-1 tie and the Stars finished the round robin in 2nd place. Wait a minute. Weren't they suppose to get rocked going into this tournament. Maybe if you dwell on stats. Maybe if you only look at our record and no further. This team has potential. They just have to realize it. It falls on every player in that room. The most abundant commodity in the world is unrealized potential. Same can be said for the Stars dressing room.

So, a respectable 1-1-1 after 3 round robin games. A date in the semi-finals. A return date with the Warriors. Were the planets finally aligning? Somebody forgot to tell the Stars it was a 8:45 puck drop. The alarms went off,but unfortunately nobody woke up. Before the game was 7 minutes old, Stratford had forced our starter out of the net, made the coaching staff take their timeout, and had a 3-0 bulge on the scoreboard. Gut check time. The Stars roared out in the 2nd period. Before you knew it it was 3-1. Then it was 3-2. Wait a minute, was this a replay of the World Juniors? The Stars did their own magic act and clawed back to 3-3 before the 2nd period was 8 minutes in. We were deadlocked. A late 2nd period marker by the Warriors staked them to a 4-3 lead entering the 3rd, but this was a game. Battling for every inch of ice in the 3rd, the gas gauge was wavering dangerously close to empty. When you get tired, you stop skating. When you get tired, you do some questionable things. At the worst possible time, the Stars imploded and got into penalty trouble. End result: Stratford took the semi 5-3 with a late marker to seal the deal.

Heartbreaker, but a character builder. The Stars took 3rd in a tournament most had them written out of before the 1st puck drop. St Mary's is a Major Bantam laden team. North London and Stratford are all Major Bantams. The Jr. Stars have 6 Majors on their roster. Not bad if you ask me to battle 3 teams that are bonafide Major Bantam teams.  No reason to drop your head Stars. You made great strides this past weekend. Keep the chins up and eyes on the goal. This was a tuneup. Now it's time to wrench it up another notch.

GO STARS!!!
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