Bantam Majors capture OMHA title with win over Port Perry

 

The Amherstburg Stars bantam major Stars pose with the trophy after winning the OMHA title Sunday afternoon at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. The Stars lost 3-1 Saturday to the Port Perry Predators but rebounded with a 3-1 win of their own Sunday.

The Amherstburg Stars bantam major Stars pose with the trophy after winning the OMHA title Sunday afternoon at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. The Stars lost 3-1 Saturday to the Port Perry Predators but rebounded with a 3-1 win of their own Sunday.

 

Bryce McGregor hoists the OMHA bantam major championship trophy over his head after he and his teammates won it Sunday afternoon in Amherstburg.

Bryce McGregor hoists the OMHA bantam major championship trophy over his head after he and his teammates won it Sunday afternoon in Amherstburg.

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Stars bantam major hockey team had to wait an extra day, but they were able to celebrate an OMHA title Sunday afternoon.

After losing 3-1 to the Port Perry Predators Saturday evening at the Libro Centre, the Stars returned the favour by an identical score Sunday and in the process, clinched the OMHA title on home ice. The Stars had won 2-1 and 5-4 the previous weekend in Port Perry with both of the first two games decided in overtime.

“I’m pretty proud of them. I’m excited for them. As a coach, I am pretty lucky to have this group of players,” said Stars head coach Jimmy Sonmez. “On and off the ice, they are a pretty special bunch of kids.”

Sonmez always wanted his players to play hard and have fun but added he thought they had potential to be champions in the quarterfinals against Fort Erie. Going up against the top seed Fort Erie team, a club that won 44 and lost only four during the year, the Stars found themselves down a pair of games after two losses in Amherstburg. They found a way to come back and won the next three in Fort Erie to win the series.

The message to the Stars before the game was to “soak it up either win or lose,” he added as playing for an OMHA title is a special experience.

“It might not come again,” said Sonmez.

The difference between Saturday evening’s game and Sunday afternoon’s game was that the players stuck to the game plan, he said, adding they moved the puck well Sunday and made the right decisions.

Amherstburg opened the scoring 12:04 into the first period thanks to a Keegan MacVoy tip-in on a powerplay. Bryce McGregor would score his first of two with 49.7 seconds left in the second period, another tip-in on a powerplay, to give the Stars a 2-0 lead after two periods.

Port Perry made it a 2-1 game just 39 seconds into the third period but McGregor’s second of the game into an empty net at the 13:59 mark sealed the win and the title for the Stars.

McGregor, the Stars’ captain, said the adrenaline and excitement after the game made his legs shake as he celebrated with his teammates. He also accepted the championship trophy, something he said was a thrill for him.

“Honestly, I’ve never felt anything like that in my life,” said McGregor.

McGregor added the team worked hard all season and said the players came together as the year went on. He thanked not only his teammates, but the coaches as well.

“I can’t believe it. A little town like Amherstburg goes to the finals and wins the OMHA,” he said. “It’s the highlight of my life. I’m sure (my teammates) would all say the same as me. We’re like brothers.”

Goalie Catalin Morin agreed with McGregor that it was the work of the entire team that got them a championship.

“It feels amazing,” he said. “Realistically, it wasn’t one guy. It was a team effort. I give credit to the whole team. It was an honour to be part of.”
Morin said the Stars stepped up on Saturday and played better as a team.

“We did everything the coach said,” he stated. “A lot of credit goes to Jimmy.”

The Stars now advance to next month’s OHF championships and Morin believes they can do well there too if they play together.

“It’s been a blast the whole year. It feels so good,” he said.

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