A great victory on home ice by the Bashaw atom Stars is simply a consolation prize this year.
The Stars captured the first game 5-4 on March 8 in the two-game, total-goal Northern Alberta Interlock Tier 4 semifinal at home over Viking. Unfortunately, a poor start the next day in Viking had the Stars playing catch up all game in a 7-3 loss, leaving them to play for third place.
It was going to be a big hill for the Stars to climb, as Viking was the league’s only undefeated team. However, it wasn’t impossible. Their two regular season games the Stars lost 6-1 and 5-4.
Game one in Bashaw got off on the right foot with the Stars jumping out to a 2-0 lead with about five minutes left in the first courtesy of goals from Lincon Bjorge and Oliver Ringwall just 20 seconds apart. Viking answered back less than 30 seconds later and stealing a bit of momentum.
Layton Pierson netted a shorthanded marker with just over five minutes left in the second, followed by Rhett Sterner’s long wrist shot from the point hitting the twine four minutes later to put the Stars up 4-1 after 40 minutes.
In the third, it took every ounce of effort for the Stars to hang on as Viking scored twice early to put the pressure on. Ringwall’s second goal of the night near the midway mark of the period made the difference as Viking got their third goal of the frame just a minute later.
The rest of the game was a defensive struggle, as both teams combined for just 13 shots over the last 20 minutes and both clubs also went scoreless with the man advantage. Overall, the Stars managed 26 shots while limiting Viking to just 27.
Game two the next day was a completely different story for the Stars in Viking, as the hosts scored three times starting with the first one just over three minutes into the contest. The home side would add another five minutes into the second before Bashaw’s Bjorge notched a powerplay goal with about a minute to go in the period.
Viking would put the game and series out of reach, scoring three straight to open the third. Bjorge and Ringwall would each score one with under three minutes to play, but it was too little to late by that point.
As opposed to the first game, Bashaw was outshot in this one 43-25.
The Stars will now face Leduc/Stony Plain in a two game, total goal series for third place.