Maroons hit the road for playoff opener against LaSalle

Chatham Maroons forwards Brett Fisher (20) and Dallas Maurovic (71) warm up ahead of a home game. February 23, 2020. (Photo by Matt Weverink)

The fifth-seeded Chatham Maroons will be the underdogs heading into LaSalle for Game 1 of the GOJHL playoffs Wednesday night.

But Chatham Maroons head coach Tyler Roeszler is confident that his group doesn’t see it that way.

The Maroons finished one place behind the fourth-ranked LaSalle Vipers in the standings. Chatham also lost its first five meetings with the Vipers during the season, but managed to finish off its season series with LaSalle with a 3-2 win in Chatham in February.

Roeszler said that’s an indication of how far the team has come over the past few months.

“It’s very clear that when we play our best hockey, we’re able to beat any team in the league,” said Roeszler, adding the makeup of the team is a lot different now than it was to start the season. “The whole make-up has changed, not only the personnel, but we’re playing systematically.”

When it comes to the team’s strengths, goal-scoring is certainly near the top of the list. The Maroons finished the regular season ranked sixth in the entire GOJHL in goals for, putting away 206 goals in 50 games.

However, when it comes to the defensive side of the puck, the team has struggled a bit down the stretch, allowing the second-most number of goals in the Western Conference alone at 233.

The team is also somewhat inexperienced heading into the playoffs. Thirteen players on the Maroons will be playing their first GOJHL playoff game Wednesday night, including six of the team’s seven starting defencemen and both of their goaltenders.

While some might see that lack of experience as a weakness, though, Roeszler said they can use it to their advantage.

“There’s a certain level of excitement that comes from inexperience… it’s just a matter of managing that so that we can stay focused on the task but still play with jump,” said Roeszler. “We’ve been playing playoff-type games for the last two or three weeks now, I think since that last LaSalle game, we’ve been trying to get as close to home-ice advantage as we could… now you’re going to see guys blocking shots and doing whatever it takes to win.”

Puck drop for Game 1 of the series is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Vollmer Recreation Complex in LaSalle.

You can find the full series schedule below.

All of the games will also be broadcast live on-air on Country 92.9FM / 630 AM CFCO or online by clicking here.

Round 1 Playoff Schedule — #4 LaSalle Vipers vs. #5 Chatham Maroons

Game 1 – Wednesday, February 26 at 7 p.m. in LaSalle

Game 2 – Thursday, February 27 at 7 p.m. in Chatham

Game 3 – Saturday, February 29 at 7 p.m. in LaSalle

Game 4 – Sunday, March 1 at 7 p.m. in Chatham

Game 5 (if necessary) – Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m. in LaSalle

Game 6 (if necessary) – Saturday, March 7 at 2 p.m. in Chatham

Game 7 (if necessary) – Sunday, March 8 at 2:30 p.m. in LaSalle