#USPHLPlayoffs Series Preview: New York Aviators vs. Rockets Hockey Club

By Patrick Ramsdale/USPHLPremier.com

New York Aviators (1) vs. Rockets Hockey Club (4)
All games at Aviator Sports and Events Center
Game 1: Friday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m. EST
Game 2: Saturday, March 11 at 5:30 p.m. EST
Game 3: Sunday, March 12 at 12:30 p.m. EST (if necessary)

The defending National Champion Rockets Hockey Club will travel to Brooklyn for a best-of three series against the New York Aviators. The winner of this series will punch their ticket to the USPHL Nationals in Utica.

The Aviators are coming of a series sweep against the P.A.L. Junior Islanders and will now face a tough RHC team.

Mathias Rakell (‘02/Stockholm, Sweden) was a key piece to the Aviators success in the regular season, posting 102 points in 41 games. His scoring touch was on display in round one when he posted nine points in two games, leading the USPHL Premier in points so far this post season.

While the Aviators were able to control the play against the Junior Islanders, it was made much easier by Michael Marino (‘02/Staten Island, N.Y.) between the pipes. Marino made 70 saves across two games, including 38-of-39 in Game 2.

New York will be facing a team that has given them trouble throughout the season. The Aviators finished the season with a 38-5-1 record and three of the Aviators five regulation losses were at the hands of RHC.

The Rockets head into this series after the three-game battle with the Connecticut Jr. Rangers. Rockets Head Coach Jason Kilcoyne knows that the key to this series will be the about the play on the defensive side of the puck.

“Our strengths going into the next round have been our team defense and goaltending,” Kilcoyne said. “Anytime you allow four goals, three goals, and two goals I think you are giving yourself a chance to win in the playoffs. At this point in the season, we are what we are, and we do what we do.”

While the entire Rockets team had impressive showings in the first round, one player had an impressive showing.

“Henry Rust having five points in three games was very nice, but he also played tremendously
defensively,” said Kilcoyne.

Defenseman Henry Rust (‘03/Victoria, BC, Canada) entered the playoffs with 17 points in 26
games. Rust started the post season with a fantastic first outing, recording four assists in Game 1.

While the outcome of this series is hard to predict, Kilcoyne knows that the fan will be in for a
fun series regardless of the outcome, stating “Every time the Rockets play Aviator, they is always
exciting games.”