Welland eliminates Midget Majors Stars in classic five game series

 

By Joel Charron

 

It certainly wasn’t the way the Amherstburg Midget Major Stars saw their season ending.

After a long weekend of intense, hard-hitting hockey, the Welland Tigers eliminated the Stars from the OMHA Midget A quarterfinal seven points to three points.

“I don’t think words can really describe what we are all feeling right now,” said head coach Matt Fox following the Stars’ Game Five loss at home Sunday afternoon.

The Stars travelled to Welland this weekend to play games’ three and four Friday and Saturday night.

After getting blown out by the Tigers 9-4 on Friday night the Stars rebounded for a 4-4 tie in Game Four Saturday afternoon before dropping a heartbreaking 2-1 Game Five loss at the UCCU Complex Sunday evening.

On Friday night, things were looking up for the Stars after going up 2-1 on two power play goals by Matt Rosati and Mike Popel. Welland tied the game on a misplayed puck that squeezed by Stars’ goaltender Mitch Topliffe on the power play and took the lead on another shorthanded goal moment later for a 3-2 lead after the first period.

Welland popped in three more goals in the second and three more in the third.

Popel and Josh Laframboise both scored in the third.

 

Stars captain Eric Shaw shields the puck from a Welland defender as he drives toward the net.

Stars captain Eric Shaw shields the puck from a Welland defender as he drives toward the net.

“Little mistakes led to big mistakes and that led to goals against us,” said Stars assistant captain Colin Leardi. “We got walked all over. It sucks, but it’s not he end of the world. We are going to come out strong for Game Four.”

Saturday, Welland jumped out to a 2-0 lead but Ryan Holzel lit the lamp before the end of the first as Welland held a 2-1 lead.

Holzel tied the game in the second and Eric Shaw gave the Stars the lead with his first goal of the game.

The Tigers found the back of the net in their third however nine second later, Noah Renaud put the Stars back on top.

Welland’s third shorthanded goal in two games tied the game with five minutes remaining.

The game went into overtime where both teams had opportunities to end the game but nether cashed in, giving both teams a point in the series and sending it back to Amherstburg for Game Five.

On Sunday, Welland popped it’s third first goal just 87 seconds into the game and added a power play marker at the 8:38 mark.

After a scoreless second period, Greg Fera put the Stars on the board with 9:32 remaining in the third.

The Stars had their chances in the dying minutes but Welland’s Braeden Thoms stood strong between the pipes.

“It’s obviously disappointing,” said Shaw. “This is definitely a tough pill to swallow.”

“I’m proud of the boys for the way they battled all season. We just came up a little short,” he continued.

Fox credited Welland for playing the Stars hard all series.

“They are a good team. You have to give them credit,” he said. “Their goalie stood on his head. He probably made 50 saves today.”

Fox said his squad   has “nothing to be ashamed of.”

“It’s a heartbreaking situation but those kids should hold their heads high and be proud of themselves.”

One response to “Welland eliminates Midget Majors Stars in classic five game series”

  1. Diane Loiselle says:

    Mr. Charron I want to commend you for writing such great coverage of the Stars’ games. It was great hockey on the part of both teams. Our reporters here in Welland could use a few lessons from you in giving our teams the coverage they deserve.