The DuPage Stars JV1 took to the ice at the Gator Cup Tournament this weekend to kick of their 2017-18 season. After falling to York High School on Friday, they fought to a 2-2 tie Saturday against Evanston High School. Seeking their first win of the season, they faced PREP Combined in a consolation game on Sunday.
Things looked bleak early as PREP controlled possession and took a 3-0 lead by the end of the first period, outshooting the Stars 11-1 in the process. Midway through the game, the game looked all but over as it was 4-0 PREP. It was at that point that the Stars began to turn up the heat. Paul Crosson slapped a shot from the high slot that hit the goaltender and dribbled past him for the Stars first goal of the game with seven minutes left in the second period.
The Stars began the third period on a power play, and defenseman Alec Richards slapped home a shot from the point that made its way through traffic and in to the back of the net. The Stars then found themselves with a brief two man advantage after a high sticking call and then a too many men on the ice infraction against PREP, and defenseman Ethan Bellettini rushed in to the play and converted their second power play goal, bringing the Stars within one with 12:10 to play.
Two minutes later, Nathan Gustafson banged home a rebound on a shot from Aidan Krieble to tie the game. Micah Thomas, who had earlier drawn the high sticking penalty, had a chance to take the lead as he streaked in alone, but he was denied by the goaltender. PREP finally responded to the Stars outburst and made it 5-4 with just 4:30 left.
PREP's second lead of the game was short lived, as Tim Johnson backhanded a rebound past the goaltender to tie the game at 5 with 3:49 left. Krieble picked up his third assist of the game on the play. The Stars continued to press for the winner, which was nearly on the stick of Tommy Morrissette in front of the net until he was cross checked out of the play. The Stars surged through the final two minutes on the power play looking to put the game away, but could not convert.
Goaltender Luke Lebed, who had struggled in the first period, came on strong the rest of the way, and was at his best in the shootout, turning away one PREP player after another. Gustafson nearly clinched the game as he beat the goalie glove side with a wrist shot, but it clanged off the post. The shootout went an incredible 14 rounds before PREP finally put home the winner.
The Stars JV1 begin their regular season play on September 30th vs Sandburg.