The first opponent for the Jr. Stars in 2022 was the Atlanta Capitals, and while the weekend started strong, Mid-Cities would only come away with two of the available six points that were up for grabs.
Head Coach Tom Train applauded the effort from the Jr. Stars on Saturday by saying that that was the most complete game they’ve played all season. “All four lines (were) producing, and we got some goal scoring from all four lines, and that was a huge part of it.”
Mid-Cities scored seven goals by seven different goal scorers, and it was Preston Jones, who made his Junior hockey debut Saturday night, who got the scoring started at the 9:05 mark of the first period. Ozzy MacDonald and Dante Petrini also scored to make it 3-0 before a power-play goal by Jake Huska, making his NA3HL debut, cut the deficit to two goals by the end of the period.
Aj Machado and Ilnur Madiarov scored goals four and five of the night in the second period to push the lead 5-1 for the Jr. Stars.
Braden Balgemann’s Allen’s Construction Power Play Goal was his first of the season and first of his Junior career, as he also made his debut. Blake Lind scored over thirty seconds later to push the lead 7-1 before Capitals forward Nick Jameus scored a goal late to end the game 7-2.
Quillon Bowman grabbed his 5th in of the season between the pipes.
It was a penalty-riddled game on Sunday, as the two teams shared 32 minutes worth of penalties. Carson Holliday scored his 6th goal of the season at the 6:37 mark of the first period and put the first points on the game. Michael Kennedy evened the score short-handed on a cross-checking minor by Brayden Grassi, but Anthony O’Neal’s speed changed the game’s outlook.
Using his speed, O’Neal was hooked on a breakaway and rewarded a penalty shot. He would score his 12 of the season on Jr. Star goaltender Quillon Bowman, who would make his second start in as many nights.
O’Neal wouldn’t stop there as he would score his second goal of the game midway through the second period to result in the final score of 3-1. Paul Jarvis of the Atlanta Capitals would stop 41 of 42 shots in the win.
The only game on the NA3HL schedule Monday afternoon meant that all eyes were on these two teams from opening puck drop. The first period was relatively calm until a scramble in front of the Jr. Stars net. The puck rebounded to the point and was put into the back of the net by Caleb Crouch for the period’s only score.
Ilnur Madiarov extended his team point lead and tied the game with his rush to the net, mopping up his rebound and changing the game’s complexion in the second frame.
Neither team wanted to make the first mistake in the third period with the score tied at one apiece, but a failed cross-ice pass by the Jr. Stars was intercepted at neutral ice and put way by Capital forward Fisher Galluzzo scoring his first of the season. The Jr Stars attempted to claw away at the lead, but Anthony O’Neal showed his scoring prowess once again to end the game with another 3-1 score.
Paul Jarvis would secure another win on the weekend, while Adler Hoagland would collect the loss.
The Jr. Stars are now 9-20-0-0 on the season with 18 points after the weekend. They are still in sixth place in the South Division, with 17 games remaining, 11 points outside of the final playoff position. Mid-Cities won’t hit the ice again until January 21st when the El Paso Rhinos come into the Children’s Health StarCenter (Euless) at 7 p.m.