Bantam Majors advance with ‘17 strong’

 

By Joel Charron

The Bantam Major Stars are moving on.

After losing Game 4 4-1 at home at the United Community Credit Union Complex Thursday evening, the Stars rallied for a 3-0 win at Harrow Arena against the Erie North Shore Storm winning the series seven points to five points to advance to the OMHA quarterfinals.

“I challenged our best players to be the best players on the ice after the Game 4 set back,” said Bantam head coach Paul Bortignon. “As we expected, they answered that call with a resounding yes.”

The Stars hoped to close out the series at home on Thursday, however the Stars let their guard down in the second period and the Storm capitalized by scoring three goals in a four-minute span.

Bantam Stars captain, Garret Blunt scored the lone goal for the Stars late in the third and the Storm added an empty net goal to close out the scoring.

“We got away from our game plan and left our goalie out to dry,” said Bortignon. “We had mental breakdowns and once we took our first penalty and they scored, it took the wind out of our sails.”

 

Bantam Stars forward Josh Rice (4) dances around a Erie North Shore defender.

Bantam Stars forward Josh Rice (4) dances around a Erie North Shore defender.

Bortignon said Erie North Shore did a good job of “getting under the skin” of the Stars.

“We needed to keep our composure and we didn’t do a good job of that,” he said.

Blunt agreed with his coach’s assessment.

“We were definitely our own worst enemy,” he said.

Blunt noted that the Storm did a good job of finishing their checks and kept the Stars attack off balance all game.

“We’re a little down right now but we’re up in the series,” said Blunt. “Game five will be a different story.”

A different story it was.

Bortignon said Erie North Shore controlled the game opening minutes but managed to hold their position and credited Bantam goalie DJ Hall for keeping he back of the net clear.

Blunt opened the scoring in the second and after a big open ice hit by Jake Frank, Jake Topliffe capitalized on a loose puck to make it 2-0 lead after the first period.

Noah Bural’s power play goal in the third period pushed the lead to 3-0 as Hall hung on to record the shutout.

“Our backend was outstanding,” said Bortignon. “They got back to simplifying their game and made the easy plays.”

The Stars will now square off against Niagara Fall in the OMHA Bantam Major quarterfinals.

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