Midget Majors put stranglehold on Tigers, lead series 2-0

 

 

Jacob Damico opens the scoring for the Stars in game one in Welland. Amherstburg leads Welland two games to none in their best-of-five OMHA playdown series. PHOTO BY JOHN HOLZEL

Jacob Damico opens the scoring for the Stars in game one in Welland. Amherstburg leads Welland two games to none in their best-of-five OMHA playdown series. PHOTO BY JOHN HOLZEL

Special to the RTT

 

In the OMHA playdown quarterfinal series – 2014 version – it’s a clash of the number one versus number two in Ontario as the top ranked Amherstburg Stars hold a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-five series against the second ranked Welland Tigers.

With six teams from the Amherstburg Minor Hockey program seeing titles this season, the Midget Majors opened their series on the road last Friday in Welland and were ready to prove their top ranking on their way to a 5-2 victory. They backed it up the next night at home with a tight 2-1 win and the Stars can end the Tigers’ season this Friday at home with a victory.

In Welland last Friday, it took only two minutes for the Stars’ initial tally, as an outlet pass from Sean Santarossa to Colin Leardi led to Leardi springing Jacob Damico on a partial breakaway and Damico’s quick snapshot would find some open netting for an early 1-0 lead.

The Stars would double that lead just seven minutes later as quick thinking Robbie Lavoie would bank the rubber from the seat of his pants off the goalie’s pads from a terrible angle and the Stars suddenly found themselves up by a pair.

The Tigers would respond with a goal only one minute later but the Stars would restore their two-goal cushion before time expired in the opening frame. Captain Noah Renaud would keep the puck in at the blue line and he would flip it to linemate Mitch Holden and his high, top corner laser would spin the Welland netminder’s water bottle from south to west.

Stars’ goaltender Daniel Tonietto came out perfect in the middle period, denying all nine shots he faced and that would give the offence some confidence as, once again, hard working Mitch Holden, while killing a penalty, would capitalize on a Tiger miscue to put the Stars up 4-1 after two periods.

The Tigers would cut the lead in half early in the third but the Stars would end the contest with a powerplay goal that Ryan Holzel was credited with as he tipped in a blast from Leardi and the visiting team skated out of Welland with a deserving 5-2 win.

Back home in Game 2 on Saturday, with Thomas Demarco defending the net for the Stars, the Stars opened the scoring midway through the opening period as Santarossa spotted shifty winger Michael Ciccone hanging out at the Tigers blue line and Ciccone would slide the puck to Anthony Cristofaro. Cristofaro’s shot would find its way between the post and pad and trickle into the middle of the net for a 1-0 Stars’ lead.

Welland would knot the game at a goal each only one minute later, but in the second period, a simple dump-in on net by Garett Meloche would spell disaster for the Tigers as there would be no more scoring in this game and the Stars would put the Tigers in a stranglehold position, needing only one victory from moving into the Ontario semi-finals.

The Midget Majors Stars hope to eliminate Welland this Friday night in Amherstburg at an 8:30 p.m. tilt, so come on out and cheer on your hometown Stars.

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