Playoff Preview: Rockets VS Stars

Western Conference Quarter-Finals:

(3) Strathroy Rockets VS (6) St. Thomas Stars


The 1st game of the Quarter-Final series between the Stars and the Rockets goes tonight at the West Middlesex Memorial Centre, 7:30 puck drop. Rockets broadcaster Noah Smith previews the series below:


Strathroy Rockets (33-12-3-2):

The Rockets are coming off yet another season of improvement in the Western Conference. For the second straight season, they are one of the leagues most improved teams. They managed to jump another 18 points, and 11 wins, to move them into an eventual 3rd place finish. It will be the first time since 2010-2011 that the Rockets will have home ice advantage in the first round of the Playoffs, Which is also the last time the Stars and Rockets met in the playoffs. That series was in round 2 of the 2011 Playoffs, where the Stars won the series 4-1.

This years Rockets are once again one of the leagues youngest, led by 18-year-old Ethan Facchina. Ethan tallied 67 points and 28 goals in 48 games played for the Rockets in his second year with the club. Not far behind was rookie Matthew Souliere, who found the back of the net 27 times and added 27 helpers in his first junior season. Dylan Richter also returned at the deadline to gather 29 points in just 19 games. Strathroy had the 2nd best offence in the conference in terms of total goals, and was 3rd best defensively in goals against. With a pair of stellar goaltenders in Colin Androlewicz and Hayden Duncan, the Rockets have the ability to steal low scoring games as well.

Key to the series: Limit the penalties. Strathroy was the second most penalized team in the conference (behind St. Thomas), but the Stars boast the best PP% in the West.


St. Thomas Stars (18-27-3-2):

The 23/24 St. Thomas Stars are one of the tougher #6 seeds in recent memory in the Western Conference. Back in 2022, the #7 seed Stars took the #2 seed Nationals to 6 games in round 1, and there are many similarities between that team and this one.

The Stars are lead up from by rookie sensation Briir Long. He finished with a conference best 34 goals and was 1 point off the lead for GOJHL rookies in points. The Stars have some offence that can strike quickly in a game. They also have a goaltending duo of Trenten Bennett and Alexei Medvedev who have the ability to steal a game between the pipes.

Key to the series: Steal a game early. The Stars in 23/24 were a statistically better team on the road. They will need to take advantage of that and try to gather series momentum early.


Series Schedule:

#1 – March 9 @ Strathroy – 7:30pm

#2 – March 10 @ St. Thomas – 7:30pm

#3 – March 12 @ Strathroy – 7:30pm

#4 – March 15 @ St. Thomas – 7:30pm

#5 – March 16 @ Strathroy – 7:30pm **

#6 – March 17 @ St. Thomas – 7:30pm **

#7 – March 19 @ Strathroy – 7:30pm **


All games will be streamed live on ($)

LIVE radio coverage will also be available on the Rockets Audio Network for all games.