Hockey Canada Network |
Host Region (Sault Ste. Marie North Stars) Counting on The Home Ice Advantage
April 15, 2003

They won't be called for too many men on the ice but the Soo North Stars will have the advantage of an extra attacker throughout the Air Canada Cup national midget AAA hockey championships.

With the tournament scheduled for Sault Ste. Marie April 21-27 and the Stars gaining entry as the host team, players are hopeful the hometown crowd will give them a little extra jump.

"It really didn't sink in for a while but now that it's getting closer, everyone's starting to get jacked," said Stars goalie Michael Maulucci. "We know we have to play well and we know that everybody will be here to watch us.

"I'm sure it's going to be a huge experience for all of us because none of us will probably go through something this big again."

Maulucci, who has been a workhorse all season, said he'd love to make it to the playoff round, particularly because of the large crowd it would attract.

"That would be huge if we could get to the semifinals," he said. "We'd be the biggest thing in town and everyone would be there to watch us. We know every game is going to be tough so we have to make sure we're at our best."

The North Stars are coming off a stellar season in which they tied a team record for fewest goals allowed (96) in a season. The previous mark belonged to the 1992-93 team (then Soo Legion) that had Marty Turco in goal.

Offensively, the Stars are led by David Turco, Cory Sewell and Adam Combs while on defence, Jeff Elliott, Dustin Curts and Trevor Solomon lead the way.
According to Stars coach Mike Hall, Solomon is among the best 15-year-olds in the province.

"In my estimation, Trevor's one of the best 15-year-olds I've seen play this year," Hall said.

Like Maulucci, Hall is hoping his team will benefit from being the host team.
"I'm hoping it'll be an advantage for us," Hall said. "We should have some big crowds and some of these kids will never play in front of crowds like that again."

"I know our kids are excited and looking forward to it."

But for as excited as the Stars are, Hall said it's not going to be easy. He said the last time they competed in the Air Canada Cup in 1999, they didn't win a game.

"Lets face it, the competition's very stiff in this tournament," Hall said. "I just hope my guys play their best. That's all I can ask for. Teams from out West and Quebec will be tough to beat.

"Heck, Quebec only has nine AAA midget teams in the entire province. We have nine in our league (Great North Midget Hockey League) alone."

Stars defenceman Jacob Porco said the challenge is much more difficult for teams from Ontario because they don't have the luxury of icing rosters congested with 17-and -8 year old players. He said the fact the '99 Soo team failed to win a game at the nationals, says a lot about the level of play.

"They (Soo) had a pretty good team in 1999 in Prince Albert and they didn't even win a game," Porco said. "They got killed 9-2, 10-2 and they had Beau Neveau and David Borrelli and a few others.

"Obviously, it's going to be a big challenge but we're looking forward to it."
While the Stars earned entry as the host team, they nearly qualified through the front door only to lose 4-3 to Sudbury in the fifth and deciding game of their Northern Ontario Hockey Association championship series.

Sudbury then made it to the championship game of the provincial finals before losing 3-2 to Waterloo, who will be in the Sault.

Bill Montague

Sault Star

For more information:

André Brin
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada

Jason LaRose
Manager, Content Services
Hockey Canada

Kristen Lipscombe
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada

Keegan Goodrich
Coordinator, Media
Hockey Canada

2014 Esso Cup: SUD 3 - EDM 2
Apr 23, 2014
A pair of power play goals in the second led Sudbury to its third win.
2014 Esso Cup: FRA 7 – MON 2
Apr 23, 2014
The Phantom fired 50 shots on net in picking up its first win of the Esso Cup.
2014 TELUS Cup: HAL 3 - CHA 7
Apr 23, 2014
Eight players had multi-point games to lead Châteauguay to its first win.
2014 TELUS Cup: TOR 4 - MJ 2
Apr 23, 2014
Marco Bozzo’s hat trick helped the Young Nationals to another win.
2014 Esso Cup: STC 3 - WEY 2
Apr 23, 2014
The Sabres scored three in the first and hung on to defeat the Gold Wings.
2014 TELUS Cup: OKA 1 - PA 1
Apr 23, 2014
Kjargaard and Bryshun traded goals in yet another tie game.
2014 Esso Cup: WEY 3 - FRA 2
Apr 22, 2014
Caitlin Dempsey’st wo goals paced Weyburn past Fraser Valley.
2014 Esso Cup: MON 5 - EDM 4
Apr 22, 2014
Faith Steeves netteda hat trip to leadthe Rockets to itsfirst win.
2014 TELUS Cup: PA 1 - CHA 1
Apr 22, 2014
Goaltending stole the show as the Mintos and Grenadiers tied.
2014 Esso Cup STC 2 – SUD 1
Apr 22, 2014
A shorthanded goal from Alexa Vasko late in the second was the difference.
2014 TELUS Cup: TOR 3 - HFX 0
Apr 22, 2014
Longo a marqué deux fois pour procurer un premier gain aux Young Nationals.
2014 TELUS Cup: MJ 3 - OKA 3
Apr 22, 2014
Another tie for both the Generals and Rockets, this time a 3-3 game.
Photo Credit: