#DineenCupPlayoffs Series Preview: Mercer Chiefs vs. Rockets Hockey Club

By Joshua Boyd / NCDCHockey.com 


Rockets Hockey Club (3) at Mercer Chiefs (2)

All Games At ProSkate Ice Arena 

March 27, 1 p.m. 

March 28, 1 p.m.

March 29, 7 p.m. (If Necessary)


The Dineen Cup Playoffs for the Atlantic Division will begin on Wednesday afternoon, when the Mercer Chiefs, who finished at No. 2, will face the Rockets Hockey Club, which came in at No. 3. 

For the Chiefs, a year-over-year difference of one point marked the difference between the fourth seed and second seed. They went 27-22-2-1 this year for 57 points and they’ll get the chance to host the Rockets, whereas their 26-20-1-3 record for 56 points put them at fourth and on the road against the former Founders Cup Champion Jersey Hitmen, who they went on to eliminate after the Hitmen had won two straight Dineen Cups. 

That was then, this is now and the Chiefs aren’t reading history books, they’re looking to write the news. They have a minimum two games against the Rockets and they are looking for two wins in either two or three games to move on. 

“The series between the Chiefs and the Rockets should be a fast, well-played entertaining one,” said Chiefs Head Coach Rob Broderick. “The Rockets have one of the most highly skilled rosters in the NCDC, and Head Coach Jared Kersner always has his team prepared. I expect some really well-played, great hockey.”

The Rockets have marked four straight seasons – each one since the creation of multiple divisions in 2020-21 – of finishing third or higher in the Atlantic. This year, they finished at 21-23-6-2, for 50 points, a slight drop from the 57 points they had last year. The Rockets drew the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders in the first round and could only watch as the Long Island squad push its way to their first Dineen Cup. Now, the Rockets hope it’s their time to keep the Cup in the Atlantic Division. 

“We are excited for a great series. We need to be prepared to play our best hockey. Rob has done an incredible job with that team. You can tell they are emotionally connected. They play really hard for each other. We have played a really good brand of hockey down the stretch and I am excited to watch our team compete,” said Kersner. “This is playoff hockey. The best team never wins, the team that plays the best will win this series.” 

Between the two teams, the Chiefs held the upper hand during the season, putting up a season series record of 6-1-1-0 (the Rockets’ record in the series was 2-5-0-1). However, five of those eight meetings were decided by one goal, including their final game, a 3-2 Mercer shootout win on March 2.

Swedish import Henri Spoof led the Chiefs in scoring this year with 20 goals and 48 points in 49 games, while Ethan Byrne averaged exactly a point per game over 39 games. Michael Sullo, a later arrival, finished with 21 points in 19 games. Jameson Klein led the defense with 23 points in 47 games. 

Dominick Gatto, a goalie who joined Spoof at the 2024 NCDC All-Star Game on Jan. 15 in Boston, and his 20 wins ranked fourth in the NCDC. His .927 save percentage ranked sixth. 

On the Rockets side, Cam Bergeman comes in as the leading scorer among active NCDC players with 144 points in 138 games, which is also third in NCDC history. His 73 career goals is good for second all-time. 

This year, Bergeman put up 35 goals and 60 points, which ranked him fifth this year in scoring. Rookie Sam Blanton put up 51 points in 47 games, while defenseman Jonah Copre 49 points in 51 games, led the NCDC in defenseman points (49) and assists (41). 

Chace Hale was the leading goaltender for the Rockets in the regular season, playing 30 games, and finishing with a .914 save percentage.