November has been tough on the Jr. Stars. They’ve felt the depths of defeat and the thrills of victory. This past weekend, against the struggling Atlanta Capitals, the Mid-Cities squad managed to win two of the three games out on the east coast, ending November on a higher note than it started.
Atlanta jumped on the Jr. Stars from opening face-off Friday night, and the Jr. Stars found themselves in a hole early. With a scoring frenzy, the Capitals took control of the first period and led 4-1 by the end of the first buzzer. Adler Hoagland came off the bench and into the game in relief of Mid-Cities goaltender Quillon Bowman midway through the first period.
In the second period, the Jr. Stars started to shut Atlanta down defensively and clawed at the lead with two goals scored by Kyle Russell and A.J. Machado, who scored his first of the season to cut the score 4-3 heading into the third period.
In the final frame, Jr. Stars leading scorer, Ilnur Madiarov, continued to show his dominance by adding to his first goal in the first period to end the night with a hat trick. Fort Nelson, BC native Ozzy MacDonald collected two goals from the blue line, and the Jr. Stars finished strong to take the victory 7-5. Adler Hoagland stopped 21 of 22 shots he faced in relief.
Saturday started much like Friday for the Jr. Stars, slow. The Capitals scored two goals in the first period, courtesy of Nick James and Kaleb Miller, to end the first period with 2-0.
The second period saw Kaleb Miller notch his second goal, with the Capitals taking a commanding 3-0 lead into the locker room.
The third period saw the Jr. Stars lone goal of the game scored by Michael Kennedy on the Allen’s Construction Power Play. Still, it was too little too late as goals by Capitals forwards Carson Holliday and the empty net hat trick goal for Kaleb Miller ended the game with a 5-1 victory, ending the Capitals 17 game losing streak and earning their first two points in the standings.
Sunday’s game became the rubber match, with both teams having one win each in the weekend series. The Jr. Stars saw themselves down one goal by the end of the opening frame. Kirill Nikulichev scored the period’s only goal.
Nikulichev wasn’t done scoring as 5 minutes into the second period; he put the Jr. Stars down two goals. A.J. Machado countered with an unassisted Allen’s Construction Power Play goal, and by the buzzer, the score was 2-1.
There were five goals scored in the third period, and they all belonged to Mid-Cities as Madiarov flexed his scoring muscles and grabbed his 17th of the season to tie the game 2-2. Brandon Zeis’s goal had the Jr. Stars holding their first lead of the hockey game at the 6:43 mark. A.J. Machado and Isaac Fuller grab goals a minute apart with less than 10 minutes in the game to make it a 5-2 hockey game, with Machado completing his hat trick and a 6-2 victory for Mid-Cities. Goaltender Quillon Bowman earned his redemption from his Friday night’s pull by stopping 32 of 34 in the victory.
The Jr. Stars head into Thanksgiving with two more wins and sit sixth in the South Division with a record of 7-14-0-0. The next time the Jr. Stars hit the ice is December 3rd and 4th at the NYTEX Sports Centre to face off against the currently undefeated Texas Brahmas.