Two OT losses put Stars behind eight-ball

 

By Joel Charron

The Amherstburg Midget Major Stars have some work to do when they take the ice Friday evening for Game Three of the OMHA semi-finals.

This past weekend the Stars travelled to Owen Sound for Games One and Two and dropped both tilts in overtime 4-3 and 3-2 respectively.

Head coach Matt Fox said after a long trip up to Owen Sound the Stars looked slow in Game One.

“It didn’t looked like we had our best effort in the first game,” he said.

Amherstburg’s Greg Fera was the first to open the scoring and held a 1-0 lead after the first 15 minutes.

Owen Sound’s John   Morris tied in up in the opening minutes of the second frame, however Mike Popel would give the Stars the lead with shorthanded, breakaway goal, thanks to a good dump by the Stars. Morris found the back of the net again for Owen Sound as the teams went into the second intermission tie a 2-2.

Fera popped in his second of the night in the third period, only to see their lead disappear when Owen Sound’s Tanner Bastien lit the lamp with a shorthanded goal of his own to send the opening game to overtime.

With four minutes left in the extra period Tyler Cunningham ended it for Owen Sound and gave them a two point series lead.

“We played well enough where we had an opportunity to win the game but to our standard of play we didn’t perform anywhere close to what normally perform at and that will kill you,” said Fox.

The Stars were back on the ice less than 24 hours later for Game Two but picked up right where they left off with Owen Sound taking the early lead with a goal from Brandon Eagles.

Amherstburg drew even with the home team when Frank Desjardins batted in a bouncing puck on the powerplay.

The Stars would take the lead on another Desjardins goal in the third, however Owen Sound would once again tie it at 2-2 with Morris’ third goal of the series.

Game Two headed for overtime for the second straight time only to see Owen Sound’s Skylar LeBlanc knock in the game winner.

“I thought we brought a better level of the game,” said Fox. ‘I thought we dominated the play for long stretches. We just could finish.”

It’s not as if the Stars didn’t have their opportunities, Owen Sound gave the Stars plenty of chance on the power play, being sent to the sin bin 13 times to Amherstburg’s four, including two five-on-three chances.

“We had trouble with our first pass breaking out of our end,” said Stars defenseman Tyler Morand. “Both lines moved the puck well on the power play so I think if we get that first pass down and also get more shots once we set up in their end, we should bounce back.”

Fox noted that he needs more production throughout his lineup.

“It’s been pretty evident that we have been a one line team for the last week and a half,” said Fox. “There are definitely guys on the team that need to step up. I think everyone is going to be making he most of their opportunities.

Fox added that he believes the Stars can still win the series and his squad has shown in the past they can perform when their backs are against the wall.

“There’s not a question in my mind that we can win this series,” stated Fox. “I think we are the better team, we just haven’t played like it. “

Morand said getting back to home might be exactly what the Stars need to get back into the series.

“It will be nice to get back into our barn with our fans behind us,” said Morand. “I don’t think they are going to know what hit them. Amherstburg can be an intimidating barn to play in for our opponents.”

Game Three is Friday at the UCCU Complex at 9 p.m. Game Four (if necessary) is Saturday at noon.

 

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