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Stars down Kings 4-2 with clinched berth

 Third period surge carries Stars


   With playoff berth in hand St. Thomas defeats Komoka, 4-2, with   

   Amaral and Mazza both having three point games


  March 25, 2022


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By Rob. J. Ross 

ST. THOMAS - The St. Thomas Stars are heading for the playoffs.

Their playoff spot was clinched prior to the game, but the Stars went out and defeated the Komoka Kings, 4-2, to end a three game slide in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

With four games remaining on the schedule, St. Thomas moves four points ahead of the Strathroy Rockets, looking to lock down seventh place. The Stars can do so, with a win at Strathroy, Saturday.

"This is a big game for us. It's very good for the guys," said Jackson Phillips, who had the game winner. "This will get our momentum up, confidence up."

The Stars trailed 1-0, heading into the third period, before Maddox Amaral, with his 14th goal of the season, Nicholas Mazza and Phillips scored.

Carter McLlwain pulled the Kings back to within a goal with 1:05 remaining and goalie Omar Hage on the bench. Stars' captain Tristan Roberts found the yawning cage with 10 ticks left on the clock.

"It's good to have that spot secured and be playing playoff hockey before playoffs," Roberts said. "We had good goaltending that kept us in the game. We played hard in the third period. We saw that our goalie kept us in the game, so we had to put some goals in for him."

Stars' goalie was Roberts' brother, Tyler, who made 23 saves. Hage was the busier netminder facing 40 shots.

Tristan Roberts, who also picked up an assist on the Mazza goal, was at his usual aggressive self on the fore-check, keeping the Kings off balance.

"I just want to set an example," said Tristan. "I'm one of the older guys. I've seen a lot of things, been through a lot of games. If I can do something and it reflects to the other guys on the bench I'm going to do it. If it means working in the corners or getting the puck to the net, I'm going to do it. If I lead by example, I don't have to talk as much on the bench."

The Stars own a 16-24-3-1 record, but are 7-6-2-0 since the season resumed Feb. 4.

St. Thomas had a season best four game win streak, before dropping games on three consecutive nights last week, two at LaSalle and one at home against Leamington.

Phillips believes the Stars are playing their best hockey as the playoffs near.

"We're on a roll now. We'll just keep doing what we're doing. We're cycling low, working them hard down low in the offensive zone," Phillips said. "We're bonding well. We pass really well during the games. Chemistry, it's more about chemistry than anything."

Amaral and Mazza, both had a goal and two assists.

Mathieu Paris, out with an ankle injury, continues to lead the Stars with 20 goals and 40 points. Roberts has 16 goals and 19 assists and Tyler Alexander, 10 goals, 22 assists. Oliver Bonk had a team high 26 assists.


Stars honour Jones

In a pre-game ceremony, the Stars honoured the life of Tom Jones, trainer, dressing room and equipment volunteer for close to three decades. Jones passed away in January, at age 71.

Stars' owner and general manager Joe Daniels said, Jones saw many players and coaches come and go through the organization over his nearly 30 years with the club.

"He'd always talked to you. He'd always give you whatever he could. That's the type of guy he was. He's going to be missed there's no doubt," said Daniels in January. "It's always nice to show up at the dressing room, even if things are going bad as the team, to a smiling face."

Jones had a lasting impact on Stars alumni.

"I had a lot of players reach out to me," Daniels said. "That means they respected and are very thankful for the job that he did over the years. They remember."



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