The Rockets’ Launch Pad
by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets General Manager
This past week saw the North Dundas Rockets enter into uncharted territory as the club will be advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in its history.
Tuesday, February 21st, we travelled to the Ray Friel Arena trailing in the series against the Bandits 2 – 1, and with a nervous disposition. We got down early after one as Cumberland scored in the final minute of the first period to take a one to nothing lead. The second and third period saw five different Rockets score goals including Dylan Nixon, Chris Marchand, Tristan Staff, Shawn Simms with Brandon Mullin scoring the 4th and game winning goal. We dressed seven defensemen for the contest and got a great effort out of Dylan Nixon who was the leader on the back end Tuesday night without question. Jason Buma was also solid as usual in goal.
With the ties at two we headed home Friday night, February 24th, for game 5 which was played in front of a Rocket setting crowd of over 200 people who packed the Chesterville Arena. The Rockets did not disappoint exploding on the Bandits for a 7 to 1 win, a tremendous effort that feature Shawn Simms as the front runner, scoring the game winning 2nd goal on route to a 6-points night (3G/3A). Marchand, Veenstra, Nixon and Cayen were the other scorers in the victory.
Saturday, February 25th, the six and final game of the series took place at the Ray Friel resulting in a 9 to 4 series clinching win. Six Rockets found the back of the net in the win, Mullin (2), Morrow (2), Marchand, Jolly, Staff, Nixon, and Simms. Bryden van Kessel lead the way on the back end with three assists and a solid defensive effort.
Keys to the Series:
• We found our compete level as a team
• Great goaltending from Jason Buma
• Timely scoring from all three lines
• Strong defensive efforts from our Defense
These keys all necessary to win a series, the compete level being the starting point, and this team is working hard; as GM I am proud of the efforts out on the ice, the boys look like they aren’t just here to play; they are here to win. For me, it all starts there, we are becoming the team that we were hoping to be a month ago; it’s nice to see.
As an organization we would like to extend our appreciation towards the Cumberland Bandits organization who played a hard fought series with a young hockey team that is poised for success down the road. They showed great class in that final game when it ended, we wish them the best of luck in the future.
We would also like to note that as an organization we felt the officiating in this series was excellent, including the two games we lost in the series.
It remains to be determined who we will meet in the next round, that should develop as this week progresses. As General Manager I would like to say congratulations to the guys on our team for the series win, I would like to congratulate Kevin Byers and Kent Young on their outstanding work throughout the series at the gates during our homes games and I would like to congratulate James Kirkwood and Lenard Mclean on a job well done. The next series is looming, the second stage of the playoff marathon, and we are looking forward to challenges that lie ahead. It is important to remember that winning a series is excellent, but the focus now has to shift to the next opponent with the goal now becoming a birth in the NCJHL final.
Thanks to all of those who have been attending our games and showing their support we appreciate it! The playoff schedule will be posted on the NCJHL website as soon as it is available, the Rockets will also post it on the Facebook site and team website. See you at the rink.