Flyers Nip Stars 4-3 In Battle of Young Teams – by C Scott Holland

A good battle between the St. Thomas Stars and Leamington Flyers took place Thursday night. Both teams feature plenty of young talent trying to develop their skills plus a mixture of vets to lead the youngsters.

For the Stars it came down to another (their 11th straight) defeat at the hands of the hometown team. But Leamington`s victory was not an easy one by any means. Much of the first two frames were spent jockeying for puck possession and puck control while the second half hit the Stars hard with frustration.

The Stars actually vaulted into what appeared to be a comfortable 2-0 lead by the four minute mark of the first. But an incident involving Stars` netminder Dan Black and a Leamington player seemed to fuel the Flyers and before the Stars recovered – after no penalties were issued on the play – Leamington had soared back to knot the contest.

It remained that way until the third. When it was all over Leamington clutched a 4-3 victory outshootig St. Thomas 33-22.

The opening salvo came when Sebastian Noguira, an APJ call-up, and Alex Turko hooked passes with Kevin Hu who blasted a shot past Flyers` starter Connor Meyerink at 1:09. Hot on the heels of that play Jackson Brown`s feed was taken by Ray Robbins and planted while parked in front of the Flyers` net.

At one juncture the Stars had outshot the Flyers 6-2 but at 13:49, Jaydon Fetter unleashed a right lane shot that sailed through traffic and past Black to narrow the gap. At 17:16 Leamington continued their offensive assault as Zach Guilbeault went on a right to left wrap around and threw a pass right onto Broden Meloche`s stick. Meloche was anchored near the open right side of the Stars net and fired it into the open spot to get the equalizer. Christian Clark began a series of Stars` penalties which severely hampered the visiting team. He took a two minute head check plus a 10 minute misconduct. Seconds after killing the minor the Stars permitted Mark Gangnon to perfectly time a behind-the-net feed to Liam Hogan who whisked a rapid fire shot past Black to keep the slate even. Within 15 seconds of that goal, Leamington`s Mitchell Crevatin took exception to Stars Justin Badour`s tactics trying to enter the Flyers` zone. Sticks were dropped and the gloves came off as Crevatin pounced upon Badour and was like Ali swarming an opponent. Both players got the showers for fighting and Crevatin got an extra two for being the instigator. However the most costly point of the game came at 8:30 when Kevin Hu took a tripping penalty. The Flyers responded with Jaydon Fetter executing a top of the slot shot that eluded Dan Black`s extended glove. Dallas Maurovic and Liam Hogan drew assists on the play. Things deteriorated quickly for the Stars when at 11:43 Jake Murray was sidelined with a slashing penalty and only seconds later at 11:50 Adam Keyes, who was being ushered to the penalty box had some words with the ref and took his time heading over to the sin bin. Murray and Clark who were already in the box must have verbalized their displeasure and all three were given 10 minute misconducts.

Simultaneously Carson Brookshaw was awarded a penalty shot for being interfered with on a breakaway attempt before sliding into Meyerink and sending the net and the two players sliding towards the backboards. Brookshaw cruised slowly into the zone on his attempt then went right to left. Meyerrink went down to the ice as Brookshaw made a deke but as Meyerink stuck his pads out Brookshaw tried to lift the puck over the downed goalie but missed the net by about a foot.

It was a shot that may have ended up haunting him.

For Clark it was his second misconduct of the game which meant a game misconduct. Meanwhile Leamington`s Brett Vorshuk received a 10 minute misconduct as well. All players were sent to their respective dressing rooms. With the Flyers ahead 4-3, the Stars pulled Black for an extra attacker with 90 seconds left, but it was to no avail as Meyerink stopped a couple shots and the defense kept the Stars off guard until the final buzzer sounded.

NOTES:   A crowd of 656 watched the contest …The Stars had two APJs in their lineup: Sebastian Noguira and Geoffrey Vandenboom. …For about a five minute stretch in the second the game was full of mistakes and weird bounces. Pucks flipped like pop-ups, horrible passes going five to ten feet behind players, a flip by one Stars` player who landed on his skates and more. It was like watching a Laurel and Hardy movie. Fortunately, the multitude of mistakes could be tolerated because many of the players are rookies learning how to play at a higher level. The fans in attendance certainly were entertained to say the least …It was nice to have MyFM`s Andrew Buttigieg on hand to provide Stars` fans a radio broadcast of the game and it is a pleasure allowing the station (94.1 MyFm St. Thomas) to help promote these young players …In between the first and the second period Leamington saluted its first responders – local police, ambulance and fire crews – with a ceremony and vehicles from each department coming onto the ice. The distinct skills thee men and women provide the Leamington area are not forgotten and are greatly appreciated by the Flyers and area residents alike!

(photo credit – first responder’s night – Leamington Flyers facebook)

  1. Scott Holland is an accomplished author, a former Western Jr. B Hockey League statistician and is recognized as the West Conference’s and GOJHL’s historian. A lifelong resident of Leamington Scott was a journalist for the now defunct Leamington Post for 26 years and currently writes for the Southpoint Sun. Among the books he has authored are:  75 Years: A History of the Leamington and Erie Shores Golf Course; A Century In The Making – History of Heinz Canada 1909-2009; Leamington Flyers 1992/93-2011/12 Platinum Anniversary Special Program; the Western Jr. B Record Book 2003/04 and 2005/06 editions; as well as updates of both the West Conference and GOJHL Record Books. He was been a member of he Leamington Jr. Flyers hockey club for the last 27 years and served many years as a board member, statistician, press box announcer, and scorekeeper among other duties. He has been named the West Conference Volunteer of Year and a Windsor-Essex Sportsperson of Year award. He resides in Leamington. 

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