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Stars ready to resume season

 Stars ready to lace 'em back up     

 

  After a month away from the rink a busy week welcomes the team

 

 

January 30, 2022        

 

By Rob J. Ross  

ST. THOMAS - Nearly 40 days have passed since the St. Thomas Stars laced 'em up.

This week the Stars will dive right back in to the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League schedule with three games in five days.

"We will be starting Monday with a practice and Tuesday with a practice," Stars' GM Joe Daniels said. "It's a busy first week. Monday's skate will be a lot of scrimmage, high moving stuff."

St. Thomas visits LaSalle, on Wednesday, February 2, before hosting Komoka, Friday, and then traveling to Chatham, on Sunday, the sixth.

"After Sunday's game we'll be exhausted," Daniels said. "Two bus trips and a home game. Hopefully we can get off to a good roll and roll through with emotion rather than the exhausting part of it."

Mathieu Paris and Oliver Bonk, both London Knights' 2021 draft picks, will be two players in game shape as they have been practising with the OHL club.

Following the January 20 announcement from the Ford government, effective Jan 31 at 12:01 a.m., spectator areas at arenas, such as the Joe Thornton Community Centre, will be allowed to operate at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less. Enhanced proof of vaccination will be required to attend games.

Rosters in the GOJHL have been allowed to expand to 25 players and the Stars plan to make use of AP players. This is to help teams with possible injuries.

The season will be 48 games and extend three weeks into April. Only the two showcase games were dropped.

"Our season goes right through until April 3 and then playoffs will start on the sixth," Daniels said. "Hopefully we're still in a playoff spot and hopefully we can do some damage in the playoffs."

The Stars, with 19 games remaining, sit eighth in the Western Conference, with a 9-18-1-1 record, one point behind seventh place Strathroy and five up on ninth place Sarnia.

London and Leamington are tied for first place both having 38 points.

Prior to Christmas the Stars traded their two top scorers, Tanner Dietz (five goals, 22 assists) and Ben MacRobbie (11G, 11A) to the Listowel Cyclones, for forward Jackson Phillips.

This transaction fulfilled both players' request to play close to home. Due to the Stars not billeting players this season, Dietz, from Mitchell and MacRobbie, from Harriston, had long commutes for games and practices.

Paris now leads the Stars with 18 points, on nine goals and nine assists. Team captain Tristen Roberts has nine goals and eight assists.

Daniels would like to see the team and each player get better over the next nine weeks. With the free agent deadline of February 10 approaching, the Stars are looking at adding to their roster.

There is still hope that the Stars may get in a few special events, like Fill the Rink, depending on government guideline changes later in February and in March.

The main priority is completing a full season and having playoffs.

"I hoping that we continue to play to get the season in. It would good to get back to some normalcy," said Daniels. "We did well getting our full schedule in before Christmas."

 

  

 


        rob@hometownplay.ca

 

 

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