• The Spirit secured their playoff spot last Friday with a 5-2 rematch victory over the Markham Royals.
  • They will face the Trenton Golden Hawks in the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s first playoff round.
  • The Golden Hawks are ranked #1 in the OJHL’s Eastern Conference and #6 nationally per the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Top 20.
  • Stouffville, ranked eighth in the Eastern Conference, faced Trenton three times this season, winning two games and losing one in overtime.
  • The seven-game series begins with an away contest in Trenton at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, followed by a home game at the Stouffville Arena at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 10.
  • The full series schedule is below:
    • March 8 at Trenton, 7:30 p.m.
    • March 10 at Stouffville, 2:30 p.m.
    • March 12 at Trenton, 7:30 p.m.
    • March 14 at Stouffville, 7:30 p.m
    • March 15 at Trenton, 7:30 p.m.
    • March 17 at Stouffville, 2:30 p.m.
    • March 19 at Trenton, 7:30 p.m.

Stouffville played well through the last week of their 2023-2024 regular season, clinching their playoff spot with two victories over the #7 Markham Royals. They finished the regular season with a 29-20-5 record.

“We had a great final week,” Spirit Coach TJ Hill told Bullet Point News. “We played hard, everybody bought into playing Stouffville Spirit hockey, and we were rewarded with some big wins.”

Spirit players celebrated their victory and assured shot at playoff glory on Friday, and Sunday’s final regular season game saw the team commemorate four graduating players now in the final stage of their last season with the Spirit: Cam Kosurko, Nathan Twohey, Myles Yearwood, and team captain Odero Ewere.

“I have been fortunate enough to spend the last three years here with the Spirit, and I have made memories that will last a lifetime,” reminisced Ewere in a conversation with Bullet Point News. “From my first game until now, I have not only grown as a player but more importantly as a person. In my final postseason campaign, I am looking forward to making a run with this very young and exciting team.”

Their first playoff round is a best-of-seven battle, and Coach Hill is focused on preparation: “Trenton is an outstanding hockey team. Our focus is on doing everything we can to prepare and be the best version of ourselves when the puck drops Friday night.”

As captain, Ewere plans to lean on his experience and do what he can to keep his teammates relaxed and focused. “That was a big finish to the year, and the team fought through a lot of adversity to get to where we are now,” he explained. “Leading up to game one, we are focused on a lot of video on the other team and on how we can improve.”

Ewere also knows that one game doesn’t define a series, and he will stress the importance of recovery and hydration as the Spirit progress through each stage. “We feel ready and excited for a hard-fought series,” he added.

The Spirit are hopeful for a strong turnout from the Spiritville fanbase, with the first home playoff game coming this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. “The fans will be a massive factor, and I encourage everyone to come support us,” Ewere proclaimed. “We need you to be our 7th player on the ice!”

*Cover image by Andy Corneau, courtesy of OJHL Images