Trailing 6-2 entering the third period, St. Thomas scores five unanswered goals
rallying to defeat Leamington, 6-5, in the Stars' home opener
Friday, September 13, 2019
By Rob J. Ross
ST. THOMAS - In the first five periods over two games on back to back nights of a home and home set, the Leamington Flyers had already scored 12 goals against the St. Thomas Stars.
Trailing 6-2, the Stars just wanted to win the third period of their Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) home opener, at the Joe.
The home team did more for their fans, responding with five unanswered goals, coming back to take the game, 7-6, on Brock Trichilo's winner 32 seconds in to overtime.
"It's a huge response," Stars' coach Rob Coutts said. "I challenged (the players) after the second. I challenged them to compete harder in the next 20 minutes. We didn't compete a whole lot in the first 40."
Cole Kimble tied the game with seven seconds remaining in the third period, completing a stretch of four St. Thomas goals in about six minutes.
"Between periods in the room, we said to each other, they've scored 12 goals on us the past two games, let's go out and try to win a third period," said Jake Robinson, who assisted on both the tying and winning goals. "Once we got the first one to make it 6-3 we knew we could score and we kept playing confident and every shot seemed to be going in. It wasn't just one man's job. It was a team effort, five guys at a time."
Ryan Brown ignited the comeback with an unassisted effort, followed by Sean Aitken who sniped one by Flyers' goalie Matthew Waite, hitting the water bottle before the puck dropped to the ice. Robinson made it 6-5 on the power play with two and half minutes remaining in the third period.
"We played a little faster in the last 10 minutes. We moved the puck a little quicker. It makes a whole a lot of difference," Coutts said. "We started moving the puck from the back end to the forwards quicker, instead of carrying it through the neutral zone too much. We started getting pucks into their zone and shooting is important too."
The Stars had opened the game's scoring on Cole Schnittker's unassisted short-handed marker four minutes into the first period. The Flyers jumped ahead 3-1, with three goals in four minutes. Russell Oldham pulled the Stars back to within a goal striking on the power play.
It was all Leamington in the second period with three goals and taking control of the shot clock at 24 to 10 after 40 minutes.
"Once we started to get pucks deep and charging that first guy, I think that is what changed the momentum for us," said Trichilo. "I looked at the clock (after the Stars made it 6-4) and thought we're actually pretty close and we had lots of time. We had the momentum going into overtime. We were getting dominated and then we just stepped up. It was huge and nice to see."
St. Thomas goalie Lucas Bain picked up the win, stopping 18 of 19 shots faced, after relieving starter Catalin Morin mid second period.
The Stars finished two for five with the man advantage, while the Flyers were two for seven.
Thomas Michaud, with two goals, Josh King, Nicholas Beneteau, Cameron Armstrong and Dylan Weston, scored for the Flyers.
At Leamington Thursday, the Stars were blanked 6-0.
"We were down two going into the third and then we lost our way in the last 10 minutes," Coutts said.
St. Thomas sits in fifth place in the GOJHL Western Conference, with a 2-2-0-0 record.
Robinson led the Stars in goal scoring last season with 14 and finished third in team points with 35. The 20-year old is aiming to surpass those totals this season.
Trichilo spent the past two seasons with the Lambeth Lancers of the Provincial Junior Hockey League, amassing 52 goals and 31 assists over 58 games. His previous OT winner was for Lambeth, in game five of the 2018 Schmalz Cup semifinals against Glanbrook.