By Ron Giofu
For a team that was struggling attracting players early in the season, the Amherstburg Stars juvenile hockey team managed to get to the OMHA semi-final.
The Stars lost 3-2 Monday night to the New Hamburg Huskies, a loss which ended their season. New Hamburg won the six-point series 7-5.
Ernie Godden gave the Stars a 1-0 lead in the first but the Huskies tied it before the period was out and took the lead early in the third period. Godden tied it with a shorthanded goal with just over five minutes left in the third period but New Hamburg scored the winning goal on the powerplay during the same penalty.
“I think, at the end of the day, we gave ourselves a chance to win,” said assistant coach Blaine Bechard. “It sucks we didn’t get the win.”
Bechard said the program excelled as the season went on, noting they had roughly ten players near the start of the season but picked up more players as the season went on.
“I think it was a pretty successful year,” he said.
The Stars thought they had a chance after the shorthanded goal but the powerplay goal by the Huskies proved to be the difference, he added.
The Stars juvenile team picked up three of a possible four points on the weekend at the Libro Centre before heading to New Hamburg Sunday afternoon where they lost 7-0. That loss was partially due to unusual circumstances, however.
Assistant coach Wes Ewer said it was “one of the most fun losses I have ever been a part of. Due to an engineering mid-term and a case of mono we did not have an eligible goalie for (Sunday) so we had one of our veteran players step up and volunteer to play net.”
Despite the fact he is not their regular goalie, Ewer said Erik Vandenham “made some huge saves in the game.”
Ewer added: “The way our team handled the situation is nothing short of outstanding. They were able to keep everything in perspective, and made the best of day together.”
In the series’ third game Friday night, the Stars settled for a 4-4 tie with New Hamburg and beat the Huskies 2-0 Saturday afternoon behind a shutout from Jack Langlois and goals from Zac Garvey and Ernie Godden.
“They’ve been playing really hard,” said Stars head coach Dennis Emerson after Saturday afternoon’s game.
Emerson said they played well Friday night and had a 4-1 lead at one point but let New Hamburg back in the game. Garret Blunt scored twice in that game for Amherstburg with Jack Hubbell and Colton McGregor adding the others.
“The boys have been battling hard,” he said.
Injured players are regaining their health and coming back into the lineup, he added. They have been working hard and playing well defensively during the season and Emerson wanted a rested bunch for Sunday’s game in New Hamburg.
“The guys have bought into our system,” Emerson said of this season’s success.