The Rockets’ Launch Pad
by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets General Manager
The National Capital Junior Hockey League opened its playoffs this weekend, and the North Dundas Rockets fell short of their expectations — trailing the Cumberland Bandits 2 to 1 in the quarterfinal best of 7 series.
The series opened in Chesterville with the Rockets taking a 3 to 1 win on the back of some great defence and solid goaltending from Jason Buma. Brandon Mullin opened the Rockets scoring unassisted at 8:55 of the first period while Bryden van Kessel scored the second marker with 39 seconds remaining in the first on the power play. Liam Morrow would add the third and final goal in the second period on play made by Shawn Simms and Brandon Mullin. Game 1 gave us a glimpse of the team we can be, defensively oriented, some timely scoring, great goaltending and disciplined, all components of what a team must do in order to have success in the playoffs. It was a great way to start the series for our club.
The club travelled to the Ray Friel Arena Saturday night to play game 2 of the series, and despite the momentum carrying over from the first game, we found ourselves down 4 to 0 after the first period. We did not appear to be the same hockey team that played so well the night before. A series of turnovers and defensive lapses handed Cumberland and early lead, to be honest we beat ourselves. As the game moved on into the second a couple of bad bounces and breaks ended up foiling an impressive rally with the final score being 7 to 5.
Game 3 was held in Chesterville Sunday afternoon and was a good hockey game that saw us fall on the losing side 3 to 2. We did everything but score on some timely opportunities, specifically a huge 5 on 3 man advantage in the third period when trailing 3 to 2 at the time. It was entertaining hockey on Sunday, it’s a shame we could not find a way to pull out a win.
The team will travel back to the Ray Friel Arena Tuesday, February 21st for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop to see if we can even the series at 2 games apiece. The level of frustration was evident following Sunday’s loss at home, the guys on this team want to win and have to keep in mind that playoffs are a marathon and not a sprint. In Junior C hockey the tide shifts dramatically and often; if we bring a good work ethic and believe in ourselves as a team I feel we can get back in this series pretty quick. No matter how it plays out, as GM I am proud of the guys we have in our room, they are giving it everything they have, the desire is there; now we just have to figure out how to get the results we want.
Thanks to all of those who attended the games Friday and Sunday in Chesterville, it was great to see the community support like that, we can’t express enough how much we appreciate it.