CBN Junior Stars falter in comeback bid

Nicholas Mercer
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Team drops Game 7 quarter-final matchup with the CBR Renegades

In the end the Conception Bay North Junior Stars just did not have enough gas in its Game 7 matchup with the CBR Renegades at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts on March 10.

 

CBN Junior Stars' forward Michael Andrews drive to the CBR Renegades goal as goaltender Mitchell Puddester looks to make the save. Renegades defenceman Justin Boland (right) defends the move. The Renegades defeated the Stars 4-2 in Game 7 of the team's best-of-7 St. John's Junior Hockey League quarter-final matchup at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts March 10.

More than 500 people saw the Renegades defeated the Stars 4-2 to claim the four games to three series victory in the clubs’ St. John’s Junior Hockey League quarter-final.

CBN forced Game 7 after a stirring series comeback from a 3-1 series deficit that saw the club rattle off consecutive victories in both Games 5 and 6.

“It’s not the ending we wanted, but we had a successful season,” said Stars’ coach Rod Noseworthy.

But, a complete series victory was not in the cards.

The Renegades were on top of the Stars from the first puck drop. After a pair of quick goals, one of which Stars’ keeper Connor Thompson probably wishes he could have back, and it was 2-0 CBR inside the first five minutes.

First, Ryan Power’s shot deflected of the stick of a Stars defender and into over the glove of Thompson. Next, Steve Ledrew fired a shot on goal that snuck through the pads of the Stars keeper.

Despite being behind two-goals, the Stars keeper dug his heels in. Thompson overcame his early game struggles to turn in an outstanding 37 save performance.

Many of his saves were of the spectacular variety. Thompson used his shoulder, glove and skates to make sure the puck stayed out of the goal behind him.

“He stood on his head,” said Noseworthy.

Not to be outdone, Renegrades’ keeper Mitchell Puddester was just as sharp at the other end.

Although the Stars were blitzed by the Renegades attack in the first, Puddester was up to the task when he was tested.

The first ended with CBR up by two goals.

However, the Stars started the second frame strong as Cody Batten knocked a loose puck into the Renegades’ goal to cut CBR’s lead in half.

This seemed to spark the Renegades as they pressed to restore their two-goal advantage. For long stretches in the period, CBR controlled the play, pinning CBN in their end.

This would continue up until the final moments of the frame. The Stars would push back and generate some pressure, only to see the Renegades respond and restore their foothold in CBN’s end.

With less than two minutes remaining, the Stars were given a two-man advantage when a pair of Renegades defenders took consecutive high sticking penalties.

Stars’ forward Michael Andrews netted the tying goal moments after the penalties started. Andrews lofted a backhand shot towards the CBR goal that beat Puddester.

With the game tied heading into the final frame, both teams pushed for the go-ahead goal.

These players left everything on the line. There was big hits and superb skill being displayed over the final 20 minutes.

But, it was not meant to be for the Stars. A CBR point shot destined to go wide deflected off of Alex Tulk and into the Stars’ goal.

CBN pushed for its third goal, but could not find a way to get one past Puddester. Mitch King knocked a loose puck into CBN’s net to seal the deal.

Despite the loss, there was optimism amongst the Stars’ brass. The team, which finished last the season before, was one win away from getting it to the semifinals.

“We have something to build on,” said Noseworthy.

nmercer@cbncompass.ca

Organizations: Stars 4, Renegades, Junior Hockey League

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