St. John's Maple Leafs 4 - Sault Ste. Marie North Stars 1
MAPLE LEAFS SCORE FIRST WIN WITH VICTORY OVER NORTH STARS
In the battle to stay alive between the Sault Ste. Marie North Stars and the St. John’s Maple Leafs it was the Maple Leafs who prevailed, pulling out a 4-1 victory in Olds, AB and giving them hope in the fight for a Saturday semi-final berth.
The Atlantic Region champions opened the scoring just before the midway point of the opening period, as Vincent Paiement tickled the twine behind North Stars netminder Justin Hogsden.
Mike King picked up two goals in less than four minutes later in the first, opening up a 3-0 St. John’s lead, before Jerry Petingalo got the North Stars on the board, just the second goal of the tournament for Sault Ste. Marie.
The comeback was not to be, however, as it was Petingalo in the penalty box for roughing when Chad Earle restored the three-goal Maple Leafs lead just 32 seconds into the second period.
Hogsden was relieved by Thomas Gravelines following Earle’s marker, and he shut the door the rest of the way, stopping all 23 shots he faced.
The North Stars though failed to make up any ground, stymied time after time by Kyle Downer, who made 32 saves on his way to Player of the Game honours for the Maple Leafs.
Despite the win, Maple Leafs head coach Rick Babstock feels his team will have to come out much better against the Vancouver North West Giants on Friday if they hope to see action on the weekend.
“We didn’t play well tonight, and tomorrow if we play like that, we’re going home,” Babstock said following the victory. “Plain and simple; if we win, we’ve got a shot.”
Petingalo picked up Player of the Game for the North Stars, who wrap up their 2007 TELUS Cup on Friday morning when they take on the undefeated Prince Albert Mintos at Red Deer Arena.
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PREVIEW: WINLESS TEAMS FACE OFF AS NORTH STARS MEET MAPLE LEAFS
The final two winless teams at the 2007 TELUS Cup take to the ice against each other on Thursday night in Olds, AB as the Sault Ste. Marie North Stars and St. John’s Maple Leafs face off.
The North Stars’ offensive woes continued Wednesday night as they were shut out 7-0 by the Séminaire Saint-François Blizzard in Olds. The Central Region champions have scored just one goal in three games at the National Midget Championship – a first-period tally by Jarret Burton in Tuesday’s game against Vancouver.
Sault Ste. Marie needs wins in each other their final two games – as well as help from other teams – if they hope to advance to the semi-final. The North Stars have lost 13 consecutive games at the National Midget Championship, dating back to 1999.
The Maple Leafs put in their best effort of the 2007 TELUS Cup on Wednesday afternoon, dropping a close 3-2 decision to the defending national champion Prince Albert Mintos. The Atlantic Region champions fought back from a 2-0 deficit before allowing the winner midway through the final period.
Chad Earle, the Newfoundland & Labrador Midget AAA Hockey League’s regular season scoring champion, finally got his first goal of the tournament on Wednesday against the Mintos. The Maple Leafs will need more from their top scorer if they hope to play on the weekend.
Both teams face long odds of becoming national champion. Aside from being 0-3, no team from either the Atlantic or Central regions have ever been crowned national champions. If either one of these teams hope to change history, their quest must begin on Thursday.