Stars lose first game of season; rebound against Belle River


By Joel Charron

The Amherstburg Midget Major Stars learned a few lessons over the weekend.

One, the Stars learned they could be beaten just like every other team.

Two, nothing cures a loss like beating up on the opposing team the next game.

The Stars finished the weekend 1-1, dropping their first game of the season 5-3 to a talented Windsor Jr. Spitfires squad Friday night in Windsor then beat up on the Belle River Canadiens 9-1 at home on Saturday evening.

Head coach Matt Fox said Friday bout was a good test for the Stars, however a few bounces went the other way and the Stars found themselves with their first blemish of the season.

Windsor jumped out to a 2-0 lead going into the second period until Mike Popel unleashed a slap shot from the left side that found the back of the net.

Windsor answered with their third goal and held a 3-1 lead going into the third period.

The Stars fought back with a power play goal from Stars captain Eric Shaw and Robert Lavoie tied the game at three apiece with a power play goal of his own.

Just a few minutes later Windsor regained the lead with their fourth goal and added their fifth goal shortly after.

“We battled hard all game,” said Fox. “It was a good game just the bounces went the other way this time.”

Although Fox said he was pleased how the Stars played but mentioned there was too much individual play at times.

On Saturday night, the Stars took on the Belle River Canadiens and wasted no time taking their frustrations out on the visiting team.

Colin Leardi gave Amherstburg a 1-0 lead just 50 seconds into the first period, which lead to an offensive explosion.


Stars forward Colin Leardi uses the backhand to beat the Belle River goalie in third period action.

Mike Popel, Robert Lavoie and Eric Shaw all found the back of the net, with Shaw’s goal coming on the power play, in a span of two minutes.

Amherstburg continued the onslaught in the second period, adding three more goals from Popel, Shaw and Greg Fera.

Connor Goodchild scored Belle River’s lone goal late in the period.

Leardi popped in his second goal of the game in the third period and Josh Laframboise found the back of the net as the Stars cruised to a 9-1 win.

“Coming off the first loss of the season we wanted to rebound appropriately and I think we did,” said Fox. “We played great all weekend, we just didn’t get the bounces last night.”

Fox noted the power play has be clicking as of late, going 2 for 2 Friday night and 2 for 5 Saturday.

“They are starting to find that chemistry and our puck movement is second to none, there is not a team in the league that can move the puck like we can,” he said. “I think it’s hitting on all cylinders right now.”

Fox was also pleased with the Stars discipline play, only taking four penalties each night.

“After last weekend we worked on some things in practice that made players think about their decision making,” said Fox. “Everyone left the selfishness at home.”

Popel agreed with his coach’s assessment.

“When we play disciplined have puck control all game,” he said. “When we have the puck, we feel like we are unstoppable.”

Popel said the Stars came into Saturday night feeling like they had something to prove.

“We didn’t play our game Friday and it showed,” he said. “We wanted to come out against Belle River and show them how we can play. When we play our game no one can do anything in our barn.”

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