Eric Rogic freezes St. Thomas in 3-1 home win

By Joel Charron

Just hours after a convincing 8-2 win in the opening round of the Tomato Cup Tournament in Leamington, The Amherstburg Midget Majors Stars returned home for a bout against rival St. Thomas.

A visibly tired Stars team pulled out a gritty 3-1 win over the visiting St. Thomas team, thanks to the stellar play of goaltender Eric Rogic.

 

Eric Rogic slides across the crease to get in poistion to make a save. Rogic saved all but one shot thrown his way for a 3-1 win.

“He’s been progressing as the season has gone along and I think it showed tonight that he’s put the work in,” said head coach Matt Fox.

It looked as if the Stars were going to have a long night after a sluggish first period. Amherstburg were not moving their feet,  losing battles in the corners and looked exhausted just five minutes into the game.

However the score remained 0-0 after the first 15 minutes.

St. Thomas took an early lead just two minutes into the second period, slipping the rubber past Rogic.

Mid-way through the period, the Stars seemed to find their second wind as the high-powered Amherstburg offense began to step up their attack.

Frank Desjardins tied the game at 1-1 with a goal on the powerplay. Eric Shaw and Mike Popel assisted on the goal.

The Stars sniper added his second goal of the game just 50 seconds into the third period on a five-on-three powerplay with Blaine Bechard and Tyler Morand picking up the helper.

Popel added their third powerplay goal of the game with just under 10 minutes to play, giving the Stars a 3-1 lead. Desjardins and Bechard each picked up an assist.

With a two-goal cushion, Rogic shut the door on a St. Thomas team that kept the pressure square on the young netminder.

After the game, Rogic counterpart Mitch Topliffe said Rogic played “out of his mind” and noted that Stars pulled out this win because of his work between the pipes.

“We stuck to our systems even though our legs were down,” said Rogic. “I let the pucks come to me and the defense helps me out all the time.”

Rogic said after losing on their ice 6-4 a week ago, it was nice to return the favour.

“It was good to get the win back home,” he said. “They are a great team and we love playing them. We are pretty equal so I would love to see a five game series between us.”

Fox admits he knew his team was tired coming into the game and the focus was to keep their confidence high.

“You just try to keep their spirits high, when their confidence is high they tend to push through it,” he said.

Fox noted that all the work in practice on the powerplay is starting to carry over into games, as all three Star’s goals came on special teams.

“It’s paying dividends in the game,” he said.

Fox mentioned that both team proved they can score and if both teams face each other come playdowns, it should be a interesting series.

“May the best team win,” he said.

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