The success of a two-loss weekend; playoffs begin Friday in Chesterville

The Rockets’ Launch Pad

by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets General Manager

This weekend was marked with two losses, a cancelled All Star Game due to weather, and yet somehow for the North Dundas Rockets couldn’t have worked out any better. A 3rd place finish in the NCJHL this season, two of our guys winning three league awards, the match-up we wanted with Cumberland for the playoffs due to geography, and no injuries of relevance heading into the first round of the playoffs next weekend.  As General Manager I never would have guessed that I would be writing about the successes of a two loss weekend, but that seems to be the situation.

Friday night we travelled to Embrun and lost 7 to 2 against the first place Panthers.  The score speaks for itself; they scored more then us and we lost.  The positive that came out of this game is that we escaped with no injuries or suspensions.  Our minimal offense was provided by Brandon Mullin and Bryden van Kessel with Shawn Simms and Landon Veenstra picking up assists.  Embrun saw six different players get on the board with Connor Roth leading the way scoring a couple of nice goals in the win.  From an organizational standpoint just getting through that game unscathed in terms of injuries or issues is a miracle given what was again a below average showing by the officiating crew — particularly the referee who came to the rink, but left his whistle at home.  It did appear briefly in the third period at the 8:03 mark, when he assessed our bench three consecutive bench minors at the same stoppage of play, which is ridiculous, something I have never seen before, and probably will never see again.  I reached out to Panthers head coach Jay Campbell for his thoughts on the game; his official response was “no comment.”  The Panthers will meet the winner of the playoff tie breaker between St. Isidore Eagles and the Morrisburg Lions Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 in Morrisburg.

Saturday night we hosted the Gatineau Hull Volants in Chesterville and continued our perfect 0-4 record against them on the season.  Cam Dykstra and Bryden van Kessel provided the goals for us, and Jason Buma looked in great form heading into the playoffs, which is excellent too see.  It goes down in the books as a 3-to-2 loss although the game was called with about five minutes left in the third following an altercation on the ice between Tyson Sherrer (NDR) and Alexandre Gravel (GHV)  that carried over into the lobby involving numerous players, parents and eventually the police. No injuries or charges resulted.  Looking at it from a General Managers point of view, I was thrilled that we got out of that game with no injuries and only one suspension (Sherrer) that, given the circumstances, was a teammate protecting his teammates, which I have no problem with at all.  The boys and our fans should be proud of themselves for sticking together; we will need that mentality in the playoffs next weekend, it’s ‘us’ against ‘them’.

League Awards

Congratulations are in order to Bryden van Kessel (24G/44A/68pts/27GP) for winning the NCJHL’s Most Valuable Player and the Leagues Best Defenseman awards; as well as to Brandon Mullin (19G/50A/69pts/30GP) for winning the League Scoring Title with 69 pts.  This season marks the first year any North Dundas player has been the recipient of league awards; as an organization we could not be prouder.  Brandon and Bryden have shown tremendous dedication to this team throughout the season and are easily two of the best people I have had the privilege of coaching/working with in my junior GM/Coach career, they both deserve tremendous praise for their efforts, and we are thrilled they got the recognition from the league they deserve.

The awards will be presented at our home playoff game this Friday night.  Originally they were scheduled to be presented at the NCJHL All-Star game last Sunday that was cancelled due to the 30 cm of snow we received.  I would like to say thank you to Felix and his staff in St. Isidore for their efforts in organizing what would have been a great event. The Rockets organization appreciates it and empathizes at the same time that the game did not take place.

Playoff Schedule

The playoff schedule is now finalized:

Game 1:        Friday, February 17th, 2017 @ 7:30pm  – Chesterville Arena

Game 2:        Saturday, February 18th, 2017 @ 7:30pm – Ray Friel Arena

Game 3:        Sunday, February 19th, 2017 @ 3:00pm – Chesterville Arena

Game 4:        Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 @ 7:30pm – Ray Friel Arena

Game 5:        Friday, February 24th, 2017 @ 7:30pm – Chesterville Arena (if necessary)

Game 6:        Saturday, February 25th, 2017 @ 7:30pm – Ray Friel Arena (if necessary)

Game 7:        Sunday, February 26th, 2017 @ 3:00pm – Chesterville Arena (if necessary)

We appreciate all those who come out to support our team every weekend, and would like to thank all the sponsors for making possible a great regular, the best this franchise has had.  Without the support of the community The North Dundas Rockets would not be possible.

See you at the rink!


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