Jacob DeLuca

Midget Majors head to New Hamburg with OMHA semi-final series tied

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Stars midget major team is heading to New Hamburg with the OMHA semi-final playdown series tied at two points apiece.

Jacob DeLuca scored 55 seconds into overtime to give the Stars a 5-4 win Sunday afternoon at the Libro Centre. It came less than 24 hours after New Hamburg had defeated the Stars 6-2 in the series’ first game.

DeLuca, who recorded a hat trick in the game, credited teammate Max Clifford for making the play to get him the puck. He said the difference between Sunday afternoon and Saturday night was they “pushed back” more Sunday.

Clifford said they entered Saturday night’s game not knowing anything about New Hamburg, a team they found out is big and skilled. He believed the win Sunday will give them confidence heading on the road this weekend.

Amherstburg's Kyran Kelly (centre, white jersey) tries to play the puck with his feet as he is surrounded by three New Hamburg players last Sunday. Amherstburg won this game 5-4 in overtime but lost 6-2 the night before, meaning the OMHA midget major playdown series is tied.

Amherstburg’s Kyran Kelly (centre, white jersey) tries to play the puck with his feet as he is surrounded by three New Hamburg players last Sunday. Amherstburg won this game 5-4 in overtime but lost 6-2 the night before, meaning the OMHA midget major playdown series is tied.

“We’ve got to go there and get it done,” said Clifford.

Head coach Glen Holden noted the fact the Stars gave up ten goals in two games, something they have to improve upon from the goalie on out.

“We have to have better defensive play,” he said, adding the ten goals in two games “is just not us.”

New Hamburg earned the Stars respect, Holden indicated.

“They are a big, physical team who brings speed to the game,” he said. “We definitely have a lot of respect for them. They are well coached. It’s a good match-up for us.”

Holden said they can’t afford to take a shift off and have to keep working if they want to beat New Hamburg.

The next two games are on the road Friday and Saturday with a fifth game, if necessary, being at the Libro Centre Sunday.

 

Midget Majors off to good start in defense of OMHA crown

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Stars midget major hockey team is off to the OMHA quarterfinals after eliminating St. Thomas in the first round of playdowns.

The Stars, the defending OMHA champions, knocked off St. Thomas 4-2 last Thursday night at the Libro Centre to win the six-point series 6-0. Amherstburg had won 4-0 Jan. 27 and 4-1 Jan. 28 in St. Thomas.

The two teams were tied 2-2 heading into the third period Thursday night with the Stars getting goals from Bryce McGregor and Reid Stieler but Max Clifford and Brock Beaudoin scored in the final 15-minute period to win it for Amherstburg.

The Amherstburg Stars midget major team celebrate Max Clifford’s third period goal. Clifford’s goal proved to be the game-winner Thursday night.

The Amherstburg Stars midget major team celebrate Max Clifford’s third period goal. Clifford’s goal proved to be the game-winner Thursday night.

Jacob DeLuca said Thursday’s game was a physical one with a lot of hitting but Bryce McGregor noted they didn’t have the start they wanted.

“We obviously didn’t come out as hard as we need to,” he said, noting they picked it up after the slow start.

The Stars now await the winner of the Southpoint-Essex series in the next round.

“We’re just waiting on a winner,” said McGregor.

McGregor pointed out there are high expectations after last year with DeLuca adding it is nice to have the younger players start to experience high-intensity situations.

Head coach Glen Holden said the Amherstburg Stars had solid efforts in the first two games of the series but not as strong of an effort in the third game.

The Amherstburg Stars midget major team celebrate their win over St. Thomas Feb. 2 at the Libro Centre.

The Amherstburg Stars midget major team celebrate their win over St. Thomas Feb. 2 at the Libro Centre.

“I’m proud of the guys because we found a way to win,” said Holden.

Holden pointed out only four players are back from last year’s team so it is nice to see the younger players stepping up at playoff time.

“We always have high expectations,” said Holden.

The midget majors are a group of players that are willing to learn what the coaches are teaching them, he added. They have also been battling injuries, as Holden said four players were missing last Thursday including three players with season-ending injuries.