LONDON, Ont. - The St. Thomas Stars stunned the London Nationals.
Two goals in 30 seconds mid second period sent the Stars on their way to a 4-1 game one win over London, in the opening game of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League Western Conference quarterfinal.
London finished second in the conference, one point behind first place Leamington, while the Stars were seventh.
Tied at one, Maddox Amaral and Brenden Catttysse scored 30 seconds apart for a Stars' 3-1 lead, in a period the Stars out shot the Nationals, 16-8.
Ryan Cooper found the yawning cage with a minute and 41 seconds left in the third period.
Amaral, unassisted and London's Jacob Julien on the power play, traded goals in the first period.
"It feels amazing and we showed what playoff hockey is all about by blocking shots and doing the little things right," Amaral said. "But everyone knows we need to keep our foot on the gas."
Cooper and Stars' captain Tristan Roberts, each picked up two assists.
Stars' goalie Tyler Roberts made 23 saves.
"Playing well defensively and limiting turnovers was key for us," said Amaral, who had his third two goal game this season. "As far as playing my first junior playoff game, it was fun to be in a playoff atmosphere and scoring twice to help the team always feels good, especially after not having playoffs with the Stars last season (2019-20)."
Game two is at the Joe, Friday and the Stars aim to build on their opening victory.
"I think winning game one on the road was huge for our confidence," said Amaral. "If we can translate that play and confidence to game two at home we will be just fine."
First round schedule
1: St. Thomas 4 London 1
Game 2: Friday, April 8th @ St. Thomas - 7:30 p.m.
Game 3 Saturday, April 9th @ London - 7 p.m.
Game 4: Sunday, April 10th @ St. Thomas - 7:30 p.m.
Game 5: Wednesday, April 13th @ London - 7 p.m.*
Game 6: Saturday, April 16th @ St. Thomas - 7:30 p.m.*
Game 7: Sunday, April 17th @ London - 7 p.m.*