St Thomas Bantam AE Jr Stars bow out of Playdowns, News, Bantam AE ('99-'00), 2013-2014 (St. Thomas Minor Hockey)

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St Thomas Bantam AE Jr Stars bow out of Playdowns
Submitted By Harry Cosgrove on Monday, February 3, 2014
The Bantam AE Jr Stars pretty much cruised through most of their season with a decent record, timely scoring, good defense and solid goaltending.  All of this with very little adversity.  The unfortunate part was that adversity struck at the wrong time.  The team lost second year forward Colin Wright to injury earlier in the season, and then forward and Captain Ryan Payne early in January to injury leaving them with only 11 skaters going into our OMHA Playdowns versus the Merritton Bulldogs. 

Game 1 saw the Jr Stars lose a hard fought game by a score of 2-0.  The boys had many opportunities including several highlight reel rushes by Noah DosSantos, a crossbar and out by Sam Graham and multiple opportunities missed by the likes of Payton Demeray, Lane Westgate and Josh Hare. Merritton opened the scoring on the powerplay with just over 1 second left in the 1st period after a shot from the point and scramble in front of the Stars net.  Merritton scored again in the second period on the powerplay on a screen shot that goalie Chris Wood never saw.  The Jr Stars had many glorious opportunities right up until the end of the game but just could not put the biscuit in the basket.

Game 2 in St Catharines was even more stressful for the team with Bradley Johnson battling the flu, the boys were down to only 10 skaters.  The boys started out strong cycling the puck on several of their opening shifts and were finally rewarded with a goal by Noah DosSantos with just over 3 minutes left in the opening period.  Unfortunately, Merritton would answer back with only 11.5 seconds remaining in the period, again on the powerplay.  Merritton would score twice more in the second period to put the score at 3-1 at the flood.  Noah DosSantos scored his second of the game just over a minute into the third period to give Merritton a scare, but that was short-lived as they replied under a minute later and then tallied one more time less than two minutes after that.  Merritton had let the dogs out and the Jr Stars were unable to recover.  The team dropped game 2 by a score of 5-2.

Game 3 a day later in St Thomas on Super Bowl Sunday again had the Bantam AE Stars at only 10 skaters, the team was determined to put their best foot forward.  The two teams played a back and forth first period with neither team recording  a goal.  Again, there were many chances by Noah DosSantos, Payton Demeray, Kyle Noviss and Lane Westgate, but none of them could find the back of the net.  Merritton did score early in the second period though and then once again on the powerplay 4 minutes later to give them a 2-0 lead.  St Thomas gave a push back late in the second but came up empty handed once again.  Finally, just under two minutes into the third, Ryan Verhoeven lit the lamp with a blast from the point to narrow the margin to 1.  Unfortunately, the boys had very little left in the tank and could not find the equalizer.

Merritton may have won the series in 3 games straight but our boys played well considering what they were up against and the amount of ice time our players were forced to play.  I'd like to wish the Merritton Bulldogs "good luck" as it appears they are about to face the Guelph Jr Storm AE team who appears to the highest ranked team remaining and likely the odds on favorite to win it all this year.

Next up for our team are the Shamrock Playoffs and of course the Gene Harrington Niagara Falls, NY tournament at the end of February.  Also, we can look forward to the return of Bradley Johnson and Captain Ryan Payne from illness and injury.

Coach Harry
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