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Jr Stars win Alliance U12 semifinal

 Stars advance to Alliance U12 final


   St. Thomas breaks series trend winning decisive game on home ice, 5-2,   

   taking the A/AA semifinal against Cambridge, seven points to five


  March 23, 2022


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By Rob. J. Ross 

ST. THOMAS - Coming in to the decisive game six, the home team had not won a game.

The St. Thomas Jr. Stars ended that trend, with a 5-2 win over the Cambridge Hawks, taking the Alliance U12 A/AA Bristol playdown semifinal, seven points to five, Tuesday, at the Joe. After the teams tied the opening game, the road team won each of the next four games.

"We'll leave it to superstition. We were our whites today instead of our darks. That's the first time we did that," St. Thomas head coach Austin VanderBurgt said. "These kids came ready to play. They took it to us a little bit in the first, but we seem to be all over the come back."

In game five, two nights earlier at Cambridge, the Stars trailed 3-0, before scoring seven unanswered goals.

"This whole series we've been struggling to come out hard. I don't know why. We've tried everything, but these kids come together as the game goes on. You can see it," VanderBurgt said. "The first period was a little bit more individual. Everybody is trying to make their mark, but by the third period, we're playing together, we're cheering for each other."

Cutler Jones with a hat trick, Nash Adams and Charlie Matsos, potted goals for the Stars. Leo Circelli picked up two assists.

After Cambridge opened the scoring, Jones and Matsos scored on the power play, for a 2-1 lead. The Hawks replied tying the game, but Adams netted the eventual game winner minutes later.

"We tend to do well on the power play. We score a lot of goals. One of the biggest strengths and we just developed over the last month is using our defence," VanderBurgt said. "We've been getting a lot of shots and I guarantee if you check our stats from this series, more points have come from our defence than our forwards and our forwards are excellent."

The Stars killed off a four-on-three and five-on-four Hawks' power play, before Jones completed his three goal game, the last one in to an empty net.

Goalie Matthew East made a number saves while the Stars trailed, keeping it 1-0 and during the penalty kill.

St. Thomas is 24-13-3 overall this season.

"We have a great group of kids. they're super tight. We've had a fantastic year." said VanderBurgt, who acknowledges Dave Matsos , a coach mentor for St. Thomas, for guidance this season.

"It's these kids being close, working together and bringing each other up."

St. Thomas takes on the Brantford 99ers, in the Alliance U12 final, a six point series starting Thursday in Brantford.

The teams have met twice earlier this season, with St. Thomas winning, 2-1 on February 12 and 3-2, way back on October 3.


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