Aiden Shaw pots winner as the St. Thomas Jr. Stars edge Barrie Colts White, 2-1
in the opening game of the OMHA bantam A final
Saturday, March 16, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - It may not have been classic St. Thomas Jr. Stars' hockey, but the black, white and green will take the two points.
The Jr. Stars opened their Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) bantam A six point final, with a 2-1 win over the Barrie Colts White, Saturday at the Joe.
"It wasn't a pretty win. We can play better. We started off good and then they (Barrie) picked their legs up," St. Thomas head coach Rob Richardson said. "We slacked off a little bit and they took it to us for a little while. Midway through the first (period) our guys backed off a bit and those guys showed their speed. They're a quick team."
St. Thomas did capitalize on two opportunities in the second period, the first an Ashton Ivanyshyn power play goal. Later Trent Rickwood picked off a bad clearing attempt by Barrie, before spotting a wide open Aiden Shaw, for a 2-0 Stars' lead.
Barrie found the scoreboard late in the second period, with an unassisted Alexander Morozko goal.
"It was a good first win," said Richardson. "If we get an early lead, we seem to hold it quite well. Goals can come in abundance, but today wasn't quite that. They have a good goaltender. He (Evan Knight) moves well in the net."
The Stars' bench boss added he would like see a harder fore-check and more concentration on first passes from their own zone.
"Those first passes are so important," said Richardson. "We're good in their zone and the neutral zone, but sometimes we struggled to get it out of our zone."
This series is a rematch of last year's minor bantam final, that St. Thomas won in a marathon six game affair.
"It's more of a challenge for us because we got a target on our backs this year," said Richardson. "We're the defending champs and they're (Barrie) out to get us. If we don't come 100 percent you never know what may happen."
Game two is Sunday at the Joe. Games three and four are at Barrie, March 23/24.
St. Thomas, 46-15-7, coming into the final, eliminated Riverside, Southpoint, Welland and Owen Sound, in the playdowns.
The sixth game against Owen Sound is one coach Richardson would love to see duplicated. St. Thomas led the series four points to two, before Owen Sound knotted the affair. The teams tied game five. Game six at Owen Sound was all St. Thomas, a 6-0 victory.
"Ours kids were fantastic. I wish I could bring that more often."