The Rockets’ Launch Pad
by Rob Sadler
General Manager North Dundas Rockets
The Rockets had a good start to the season this past weekend, splitting a pair of games on the road. Saturday, 23, we traveled to Gatineau to play in the NCJHL Showcase with 13 players and did not show well, suffering a 6 to 2 loss at the hands of the Papineaville Vikings. Definitely not the start we were hoping for from a club stand point, but in reality, given that we were so short handed the result is understandable. We made some early mistakes in the first and got down by 4 heading into the second period. It was an interesting game given the humidity, in third period the ice didn’t freeze at all leading to an almost comical display of hockey for the final 20 minutes.
The positives from this game are:
- That the season is finally underway;
- The guys on our team got a lesson in how important it is to have a full lineup,
- A couple of young lads put goals on the board in Jack Vankessel and Jacob Robinson (1st NCJHL goal), congratulations to Jacob.
- The other real positive was the quality of the officiating, as General Manager I felt the officials did an excellent job in keep that game in control despite circumstances that could have lead to an alternative result.
On Sunday, September 24th, The Morrisburg Lions hosted us in Finch for an afternoon matinee. The result was a 6 to 5 win, our first of the season. The lineup was a lot healthier as we have a couple guys return. It was nice to see the bulk of our team on the ice, I thought Bryden Vankessel and Brodie Barkley had great games on the back end, our goaltending was solid, and we got some offense. We had a couple real highlight goals from Shawn Simms, Bailey Norman and Justin Lefbvre who recorded his first NCJHL career goal on a penalty shot with a nice quick shot just inside the post. Sunday was a step in the right direction, as a staff we have to be mindful that we have a lot of new guys on our team who are learning to play together, that will be a process, it doesn’t happen in one or two games. We are looking forward to watching this team grow.
In trade news, the club has traded veteran defense Tristan Staff to Metcalfe in exchange for veteran Connor Roth. We would like to thank Tristan for the past two seasons, a great teammate and person who has had support at the rink continually, as a club we thank the entire Staff family.
Connor Roth is a game breaker in this league. He won a championship in Embrun last year, while recording 16 pts in 10 playoffs games. A natural center, 6’3 with a heavy shot and good hands, the entire team is looking forward to having Connor join us this up coming weekend in Cumberland.
The Home Opener is October 14, in Chesterville versus the expansion BlackBurn Inferno.