Stars eliminated after emotional weekend

 

By Joel Charron

After an emotional weekend of hockey, the Amherstburg Midget Major Stars are eliminated from the OMHA playdowns for the first time in three years.

The Stars entered Friday night’s Game Three matchup against the Owen Sound Attack down four points to none in the best of six points series.

Amherstburg 5-1 victory on Friday evening paved the way from the Stars 3-0 win Saturday afternoon, moving the series back to Owen Sound, Sunday afternoon where the Attack finished off a drained Amherstburg squad 3-0 in the decisive Game Five.

On Friday, Owen Sound  opened the scoring with Laughlin Elder finding the back of the net. Amherstburg responded with just over three minutes to go in the period when Frank Desjardins tied it up sumo suits for sale.

The Stars exploded for four goals in the second period with Eric Shaw popping in two goals and Spencer Petrozzi and Dean Shepley both lighting the lamp for a commanding 5-1 lead.

Stars’ goalie Mitch Topliffe preserved the win and forced a Game Four Saturday afternoon.

“We came out firing and shut them down defensively,” said Shaw after Friday’s game.

Shaw mentioned the home crowd gave the team an extra boost to perform well.

“The home crowd was a huge help,” he said.

Less than 14 hours later the Stars dazzled the home crowd once again as they shut out their opponent 3-0.

After Desjardins failed to capitalize on an early penalty shot, Mike Popel gave the Stars a first period lead.

Petrozzi doubled their lead in the second and Shaw added his third goal in two games in the third period and Topliffe weathered the Attack’s arsenal for the series-tying win.

“This is definitely our type of hockey,” said head coach Matt Fox following Game Four. “We knew we had to buckle down when we came home and we did just that.”

 

Amherstburg Midget Major Stars head coach Matt Fox and his squad take a few minutes to collect themselves before congratulating Owen Sound on advancing to the OMHA finals Sunday afternoon in Owen Sound.

“We got the two W’s we needed,” said Petrozzi. “We have great fans and glad that we were able to give them a win.”

Hours after forcing a Game Five the Stars headed up Highway 401 for a Sunday afternoon tilt for the right to play in the OMHA finals.

With both teams playing three games in roughly 36 hours, Fox said it would come down to who wanted it more.

Owen Sound’s Brandon Eagles scored just moments into the first period, pouncing on a loose puck in front of the net.

Over the next two periods the Stars threw everything at the Attack, however their opponent stood strong and added two empty net goals in the final 30 seconds to advance to the OMHA finals.

This is the first playoff series Amherstburg has lost in three years.

“I’m really disappointed,” said Stars captain Dan Bondy. “I really expected more from our team. It’s sad to go out but we did have a good year.”

Bondy said he was very proud of his teammates, stating that they could have “mailed it in” after the first two games but rather showed heart in forcing a Game Five.

Desjardins was at a loss for words following the loss but felt that the Stars beat themselves.

“That team is not better than us, we should have beaten them,” said a distraught Desjardins.

Desjardins noted that making it as far as the semi-finals for the third straight year is a formidable accomplishment.

“No one thought we would make it this far, everyone doubted us,” he said. “It just wasn’t meant to be this year.”

“This is the worst way to end a great season,” said third year defenseman Tyler Morand.  “Both of us are very good teams, it just came down to bounces.”

Fox said he is “extremely” proud of his squad, stating the players in the locker room are “true champions.”

“I feel terrible for these kids,” said Fox. “They poured their hearts out this season and they deserve better.”

Comments are closed.