OMHA

Amherstburg Stars juvenile team captures OMHA title

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Sunday was “Red Hat Day” at the Libro Centre for the Amherstburg Stars juvenile team.

The Stars defeated King Rebellion 3-2 for the second straight day to win the six-point OMHA final series six points to two. By winning the OMHA championship, the Stars got to wear the symbolic red baseball caps that go along with it.

The Stars won 3-2 Saturday night after building a 3-0 lead after two periods on goals by Garret Blunt, Jack Hubbell and Joe Goulawski. In Sunday’s game, they led 2-0 in the second period and 3-1 midway through the third only to have King Rebellion shave the lead to one goal each time but the Stars hung on to win that game and the OMHA title.

Brandon Fahringer scored twice for Amherstburg in Sunday’s game with Jake Topliffe adding the other goal.

The Amherstburg Stars juvenile team celebrate after winning the OMHA title Sunday afternoon at the Libro Centre. The Stars defeated King Rebellion 3-2 Sunday and also won by that same score Saturday night. Amherstburg won the series six points to two.

“It feels awesome,” said head coach Dennis Emerson. “We hope to build on this next year.”
Emerson said it was only the second year for the relaunched juvenile program, with the Stars having made it to the OMHA semi-final last year. He said many players joined this year with the goal being an OMHA title.

“This was our goal right from the beginning,” said Emerson.

Emerson credited a strong midget program for the quick success of the juvenile team. He said they weren’t phased by losing the first game of the series to King Rebellion last weekend, saying they had “road legs” and had a couple of bounces go against them. Noting they lost the first game in other series, Emerson said he knew they could battle back.

Blunt, the team’s captain, agreed as he pointed out they came back to win series against Erie North Shore and Belle River after losing the first game.

“It was a familiar spot, having to win three straight,” he said.

Blunt was one of the happy Stars’ players taking a turn with the trophy on the ice.

“It feels good,” he said. “I knew we could do it. It was a little closer than we wanted but we did it.”

Captains with the Amherstburg Stars juvenile team accept the OMHA championship trophy March 25 at the Libro Centre following their 3-2 win over King Rebellion.

It was the team’s goal from the start of the year, Blunt agreed.

“We had the right group of guys,” he said.

Goalie Chris Mitre said winning the OMHA title was “unbelievable for sure” and noted they bounced back after a tough start to the season. Mitre said “the boys started rolling” and when they began to find their game, he knew they would be tough to beat.

“We battled through and we did it,” said Mitre.

The Stars will now advance to the OHF juvenile championship tournament, to be held in early April. The Quinte West Minor Hockey Association will be the hosts.

Stars, Rebellion trade wins in the opening weekend of the OMHA Finals

 

Special to the RTT

 

The last team left in minor hockey pressing for an OMHA Championship was in action again this weekend as the Amherstburg Juvenile Stars faced off against the King Rebellion in Games 1 and 2 of the OMHA Finals.

Game 1 went Saturday afternoon and saw an injury-riddled Stars team come out and weather the storm for the first 30 minutes of the game but it was the Rebellion who opened the scoring at the 6:25 minute mark of the second period.  The Stars got on the board and tied the game at the 2:08 mark of the second period on the strength of an Ernie Godden Jr. goal but the tie was short lived and the Stars could not hold off a surging Rebellion offense who jumped back in to the lead just a short 27 seconds later.

The Stars would gain some confidence heading into the last frame as Brandon Fahringer tied the game at two late in the second period.  That, however, was the most the Stars offense would be able to muster on this day.

Giving up two goals in the third period, the Stars dropped the opener 4-2. Stars goaltender Jack Langlois had a great performance in net but coach Dennis Emerson thought the team left a little to be desired.

“I thought we came out fast and matched King’s intensity but we just couldn’t get that full game effort,” said Emerson. “I don’t think we did a great job of making things easier on Jack in net.”

When asked if the Stars third period lapse is concerning, Emerson rejected the notion.

“These players know exactly what it takes to win a Red Hat (OMHA Championship), we have several players who already have one; I know they’ll come out flying tomorrow and I’m certain you will see a different result.”

Some St. Patrick’s day “luck of the Irish” must have fallen on the side of the Stars as it seemed coach Emerson’s proclamation after game one was coming true in Game 2.

After coming out of the penalty box Stars’ forward Joe Goulawski opened the scoring for Amherstburg at the 5:24 mark of the first period, leaving no doubt on his breakaway.  Goulawski would keep the Stars offense going early in the second period pushing the Stars to a 2-0 lead at the 10:45 mark.

With a resilient effort and top notch special teams, the Stars’ Mike Lenson added the back-breaking goal with only 2:32 left in the third period to shut out the Rebellion 3-0 in Game 2 of the OMHA Finals. Chris Mitre picked up the win in net and was a key contributor to the overall team success.

“Chris was great in net,” said a smiling Coach Emerson. “Our special teams, our goaltending, it was all great. The boys really showed a lot of character in today’s game.”

In a game that saw the Stars penalized almost three times as much as the home team, the special teams really were the difference maker.

“We were up 2-0 early in the third on the PK and we had guys diving in front of shots and working extra hard on the back check. We knew on the bench that if we could press to make it 3-0 and not give them any hope, we could pull this off,” said Stars forward Garret Blunt. “I really like the momentum we built up this weekend heading into next weekend at home.”

The Stars are back in action this weekend at the Libro Centre hosting the same Rebellion team on Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. There is no charge to get into the games. Come support your local Juvenile Stars on their quest for the Red Hat.

 

Midget Majors advance to OMHA semi-finals

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Amherstburg Stars midget major hockey team is heading back to the OMHA semi-finals.

The Stars defeated the Southpoint Capitals 3-1 Friday night to take the six-point series 6-0 and put themselves in a series with New Hamburg.

“Our main goal was to come out flying and get them off their game and I think we did that,” said Cole Zelle.

Zelle said they wanted to do “the little things” and get the puck in deep and the Stars were able to do that.

Isaac Hammond agreed, also saying they wanted to get the puck in deep and also play physical.

Amherstburg’s Brock Beaudoin (centre) brings the puck into the Southpoint zone during the third game of the OMHA quarterfinal series Friday night at the Libro Centre. Amherstburg won the series with a 3-1 victory.

Amherstburg’s Brock Beaudoin (centre) brings the puck into the Southpoint zone during the third game of the OMHA quarterfinal series Friday night at the Libro Centre. Amherstburg won the series with a 3-1 victory.

The Stars don’t have any history with New Hamburg and don’t know what to expect in the next round. Hammond said the New Hamburg beat a team they lost to in a tournament and that’s about all they know.

“We usually have some idea,” added Zelle. “We have no clue (about New Hamburg). We’ve never seen them before.”

Stars head coach Glen Holden was pleased that Amherstburg was able to get by Southpoint, particularly in light of all the injuries the Stars have.

“I’m extremely happy. These kids are winning some tough hockey games in stressful situations,” said Holden. “We have a deep lineup and they are finding ways to win. That’s a credit to them.”

Putting pressure on Southpoint’s defense was another key to beating them, he added.

Holden also said they don’t know much about their next opponent.

“Their record is very, very impressive,” he said of New Hamburg. “We have yet to see them. We are kind of going in blind.”

Amherstburg Midget Majors lose OHF final in double overtime

Special to the RTT

The Midget Major Stars travelled to Woodstock on the weekend of April 8-10th to participate in the OHF Tournament.

The Midget Majors were coming off their historic game six win over Quinte West on home ice to secure the programs fourth OMHA Title in seven years.

The OHF tournament was comprised of teams from Stratford, Woodstock, Erindale, Elliot Lake and Amherstburg. The Stars began the weekend with a Friday morning tilt with Stratford and the evenly contested game would end in a 2-2 tie. Zack Yott and Jacob Deluca were the goal scorers while Garret Blunt and Bryce McGregor added assists.

Front:  Josh Paquette, Rick Wismer (trainer), Jarrod Benninger, Kyle Burns (assistant coach), Colton McGregor, Glen Holden (head coach), Garret Blunt, Mario DiPaolo (assistant coach), Kyle Meloche, Corey Beaulieu (assistant coach), Dershahn Stewart, Lisa Lenson (manager). Back: Ernie Godden, Justin Veldhuis, Michael Petroni, Jacob DeLuca, Zack Yott, Bryce McGregor, Reid Thrasher, Nick Bertram, Jack Hubbell, John Purdie, David Desormeaux, Jake Topliffe, Joe Bouzide. (Special to the RTT)

Front: Josh Paquette, Rick Wismer (trainer), Jarrod Benninger, Kyle Burns (assistant coach), Colton McGregor, Glen Holden (head coach), Garret Blunt, Mario DiPaolo (assistant coach), Kyle Meloche, Corey Beaulieu (assistant coach), Dershahn Stewart, Lisa Lenson (manager). Back: Ernie Godden, Justin Veldhuis, Michael Petroni, Jacob DeLuca, Zack Yott, Bryce McGregor, Reid Thrasher, Nick Bertram, Jack Hubbell, John Purdie, David Desormeaux, Jake Topliffe, Joe Bouzide. (Special to the RTT)

In game two Friday night, the Midgets took on the Elliot Lake Wildcats in a very sluggish effort. The game ended in a 3-1 Stars win, with Deluca, Jarrod Benninger and Joe Bouzide pacing the attack, while Colton McGregor and Ernie Godden each added two assists, along with singles from Benninger and Jake Topliffe. Saturday morning the Midget Majors took on the host team from Woodstock and behind the shutout performance from Josh Paquette, cruised to a 2-0 win. Scoring goals were Yott and Benninger, while assists came from Blunt, Bouzide, Topliffe and Reid Thrasher. Saturday night the Stars took on the Erindale Spitfires, and once again the goaltending of Dershahn Stewart led the Midget Majors to a 1-0 win. Bouzide would provide the games only goal, with assists to Godden and Topliffe.

The Stars secured second place courtesy of their 3-0-1 round robin record and a rematch against Erindale in Sunday morning’s semi-final. Once again Dershahn Stewart shut out the Spitfires to help secure a 3-0 win and a trip to the OHF Finals. Kyle Meloche paced the Stars attack with two goals and Topliffe added a late insurance marker, assisted by Benninger.

Sunday afternoon’s final would pit your Stars against the Stratford Cullitons. Amherstburg came out flying in this tight contest and were rewarded with an early goal scored by Yott, assisted by Meloche. The score would remain 1-0 until late in the second period when Stratford would tie the game. The teams would go back and forth for period three but neither team was able to score in regulation time. The score would remain tied until Stratford would win the contest mid way through the second overtime. A great game by both teams and one that fans would get their moneys worth.

The Midget Majors had a historic season and will be remembered by their discipline, class and A’burg pride they displayed the entire season. The Stars won the St. Thomas Tournament, the Elite 8 Tournament, OMHA Champions and OHF Finalists, all the while accumulating an impressive season record of 44-5-7.

Midget Majors complete comeback and win OMHA title

 

 Special to the RTT

 

The Amherstburg Midget Majors completed an improbable comeback this past weekend to secure their spot as the best midget team in the province.

The Stars began their series with Quinte West with two losses on the road but quickly re-focused and completed their dramatic comeback with a 3-0 win on Easter Sunday in front of a packed Libro Centre.

The Amherstburg Stars midget major hockey team celebrates the OMHA championship they won March 27 at the Libro Centre. The Stars knocked off Quinte West 3-0 in the deciding game.

The Amherstburg Stars midget major hockey team celebrates the OMHA championship they won March 27 at the Libro Centre. The Stars knocked off Quinte West 3-0 in the deciding game.

The Stars travelled to Trenton for Saturday’s Game 5 after winning two games on home ice the previous weekend to set up an all-important game five in a very tough environment. The Quinte West fans packed the rink Saturday to watch an outstanding display of hockey from the two best midget teams in the province. Both teams played a tight checking affair for a period and a half before the Stars were awarded a power play and they capitalized, as Colton McGregor would score on a one-timer to quiet the home crowd and send the loyal Amherstburg fans into a frenzy. Assists were given to Jack Hubbell and Kyle Meloche on the play.

The score would remain 1-0 to begin the third period. Quinte West would come out flying in the third and scored the equalizer just three minutes into the period and two minutes later added the go ahead goal on a rebound in the slot. The Stars pressed hard to try and tie the game and were finally rewarded, as Jarrod Benninger would put home a rebound goal with just 2:33 remaining, Jake Topliffe and McGregor assisted on the goal.

Stars captain Garret Blunt holds the OMHA championship trophy aloft after Amherstburg's win over Quinte West Easter Sunday.

Stars captain Garret Blunt holds the OMHA championship trophy aloft after Amherstburg’s win over Quinte West Easter Sunday.

The game would go into overtime before ending in a 2-2 final. The tie would even the six point series at five points apiece and set the stage for a winner take all Game 6 in Amherstburg on Easter Sunday.

The Libro Centre was packed for Sunday’s Game 6 and the Midget Majors were focused on the task at hand as they came out flying and dominated play. They were rewarded for their efforts, as Garret Blunt would jump on a rebound from a Zack Yott shot to open the scoring. Period one would end with the Stars leading 1-0. While on a penalty kill early in the second, Kyle Meloche would strip the Quinte West defender and drove the net hard to finish off an outstanding shorthanded goal. Three minutes later, while on a power play, Blunt would win the draw to Yott who wired home goal number three for the Midget Majors and set off a deafening roar from the hometown faithful.

Midget Major Stars’ head coach Glen Holden (right) embraces Ernie Godden after the game Sunday afternoon at the Libro Centre.

Midget Major Stars’ head coach Glen Holden (right) embraces Ernie Godden after the game Sunday afternoon at the Libro Centre.

The Midget Majors would play a solid defensive game the rest of the way and Dershahn Stewart would shut the door to earn the shutout. As the clock ticked down the excitement built in the Libro Centre as the crowd and the Amherstburg Midget Majors knew they had completed the improbable comeback to earn their red hats and realize their dream of becoming OMHA Midget Major Champions!

A special thank you goes out to Lauren Baillargeon for her rendition of our national anthem and the Amherstburg Admirals for helping with the game day festivities. The Midget Majors now move on to compete for an OHF Championship in Woodstock April 8-10.

The coaching staff would like to publicly acknowledge the hard work and commitment this great group of young men displayed throughout their historic season. They were 21-1-2 on home ice this year, including a perfect 10-0 during their playdown run. They won with pride, class and were true ambassadors for the town of Amherstburg and Amherstburg Minor Hockey!