New milestone as Rockets hit first place in league standings

To play Cougars in Chesterville this Saturday night, Nov. 4

The Rockets’ Launch Pad

by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets General Manager

The North Dundas Rockets Organization would like to start by offering our condolences to the Renfrew Timberwolves and the families of the two young men, Brandon Hanniman and Alex Paquette, who were taken from their loved ones and teammates following a car accident this past week.  We would also like to send best wishes too the other two players injured, and wish them good recoveries.  Accidents like this devastate the hockey community, and the lives of families, something North Dundas knows all too well.  Personally, my heart absolutely aches for all those involved in this tragedy; thoughts and prayers are with them.

The Rockets won both games this weekend, pushing the team into first place in the National Capital Junior Hockey League with a record of 8 wins – 2 losses.  This marks the first time in Rockets history that the club has been in first place boasting a perfect 3-0 record at home with a 5-2 record on the road.  This marks a huge milestone for the franchise and shows just how far we have come as an organization.

Friday, October 27th, we travelled to Gatineau to play the Volants at the Robert Guertin Arena, a venue the Rockets have never won a hockey game in throughout it’s eight-year history.  Early in the contest it did not appear as though the result would be any different as the Volants took a 4-to-1 lead into the third period.  The Rockets caught a break when Olivier Marceau was given a 5 minute major for spearing Landon Veenstra at the end of the second period giving us a a full 5 minute powerplay to start the third.

The comeback started with three PP goals from Justin Lefebvre scoring (assisted by Veenstra); Chris Marchand (unassisted); and Brodie Barkley (Lefebvre, Bryden Vankessel).  Gatineau would take the lead again at 13:52of the period on a goal by Marc Oliver Lafreniere only to see Bryden Vankessel tie the game again on another powerplay goal set up by Connor Roth.  Less then a minute later Chris Marchand would cash in the game winner with a quick low snap shot that beat Ian Girard five hole with the assist going to Dylan Nixon on the back end.

Saturday, October 28th, we hosted the Clarence Creek Castors in Chesterville for the first time this season.  The first two periods we saw the Rockets take a 2 to 1 lead into the third period on goals from Landon Veenstra (Unassisted) and Bryden Vankessel (Connor Roth, Brad Stitt) on the PP.  Vankessel would open the third period with a shorthanded marker on another play set up by Roth.  The rest of the scoring came from Brad Stitt (Lefebvre, Marchand); B. Vankessel (Roth, Shawn Simms); and Veenstra (Roth, Simms) to round out a 6 to 3 win.

As General Manager I cannot say enough positive things about the weekend.  The adversity we face as a team Friday night to claw back and win that game was overwhelming.  The odds were not in our favor, and yet we continue to refuse to quit as a team.  We were tired on Saturday night, used a lot of energy the night before, but we got the job done, stayed focused and played a real solid game.

The leadership group of this team is phenomenal, Bryden van Kessel, Shawn Simms, Brad Stitt, Landon Veenstra, Brodie Barkley, Chris Marchand, Dylan Nixon, Mckay Balaton, Connor Roth, Tyson Sherrer and Jason Buma are all guys with multiple years of junior experience, they are leaned on to be the leaders of this team, and the character they have showed so far this season is second to none.  The younger core of this team is also proving very effective this season and giving us some much needed depth, and great team moral as well.  It’s been exciting to watch Justin Lefebvre, Bailey Norman, Jacob Robinson, Tanner Barnett, Jack van Kessel and Ethan Gallant all develop each game.   As a Club we are in a great position right now from a personnel stand point, we have a great group of kids playing for us.

This weekend the Rockets will host the Vankleek Hill Cougars in Chesterville, Saturday, Nov. 4, puck drops at 7:30 p.m.  Hope we can see a capacity to crowd to come and support the 14 local players we have on this team, and perhaps enjoy a beverage in the far end of the arena.

See you at the rink!

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