The U18 and U16 Esmark Stars AAA squads were in Buffalo, NY, this past weekend, Nov. 1 - 3, 2019, participating in the Buffalo Jr. Sabres Invitational Showcase.
The U16 AAA Stars opened the Showcase on Friday, Nov. 1, with a pair of games, dropping games to the Pittsburgh Predators, 3-1, and the Rochester Selects, 3-2. On Saturday, Nov. 2, the 16U Stars got back into the win column as they doubled up the Valley Forge Minutemen, 4-2. They would close the showcase with a pair of games on Sunday, Nov. 3, dropping games to both the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 8-2, and the Sylvania North Stars, 2-1. The 16U Stars record now stands at (15-9-0-0).
The U18 AAA Stars opened play on Friday, Nov. 1, with a pair of games, dropping a showcase opening 2-1 decision to the Buffalo Jr. Sabres and then picking up a 5-1 win over Canadian powerhouse London Jr. Knights.
In the early afternoon game against the Sabres, Eddie Pazo would score the lone Stars goal, while Ryder Brophy and Lane Ruffner picked up the assists. Danny Mitchell would suffer the loss in goal, turning aside 16 of 18 shots he faced in goal. For the game, the Stars would outshoot the Sabres 22-18 but were unable to score the equalizer.
About four hours later against the Jr. Knights, Alex Walker would score a pair of goals and add a pair of assists to pace the Esmark attack. Ryder Brophy (1G, 3A), Dustin Geregach, and Luke Reiser, shorthanded goal, would score the other Stars goals. Eddie Pazo would add four assists. Connor Strobel turned aside 18 of the 19 shots he faced to earn the win in goal.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, the Stars again took to the ice twice, skating to a 3-3 tie with the U19 95 Generals Showcase team and then shutting out the Amherst Knights, 6-0, in a late evening game.
In the tie with the U19 Giants prep team, the Stars would battle back from a 3-0 first period deficit, as Eddie Pazo would score a pair of power play goals and Dalton Swartz would find the back of the net. Lane Ruffner would record a pair of assists, while Nikita Zapolski, Ryder Brophy, Jon Michaels and Luke Reiser would add single assists. Danny Mitchell would start the game in goal and surrender a goal before being temporarily knocked out of the game, after getting run over in his crease, and replaced by Connor Strobel, who would surrender a pair of goals. Mitchell, who returned to the net and kept the 95 Giants off the board for the remainder of the game as the Stars stormed back with three unanswered goals to knot the game, was credited with the tie in goal.
In the win over Amherst, Connor Strobel would turn aside all 20 shots he faced to earn the shutout and win in goal. Dominic Dezort scored a pair of goals and added an assist to pace the Stars scoring. Corbin Ragno (1G, 2 A), Dalton Swartz (1G, 1A), John Camp and Alex Walker also scored goals. Dustin Geregach collected a pair of assists, while Trent Grey, Jon Michaels, Lane Ruffner and Nikita Zapolski each added an assist.
The 18U Stars closed the event on Sunday, Nov. 3, with a win over the Pittsburgh Predators, 5-1.
Ryder Brophy led the scoring against the Predators with a pair of goals and an assist. Alex Walker, Brayden Morgan and Ed Pazo also found the back of the net. And Nikita Zapolski picked up three assists, Lane Ruffner two assists, and Dalton Swartz, Dustin Geregach, and John Camp added an assist. Danny Mitchell would turn aside 25 of the 26 shots he faced to earn the win in goal.
With their showing at the Showcase, the 18U Stars improved their overall record to (19-2-4-2).
The U15 Stars (11-10-2-0) enjoyed a planned weekend off.