Rockets secure second place and recognition in NCJHL league awards

Three convincing victories for North Dundas squad as regular season concludes

The Rockets’ Launch Pad

by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets General Manager

CHESTERVILLE — The North Dundas Rockets were geared up this weekend to play three National Capital Junior Hockey League games that would determine their final place in the standings heading into the playoffs.  There were four teams tied at 41 pts: North Dundas, Cumberland, Saint Isidore and Clarence Creek as the weekend started.

Saturday night in Chesterville the Rockets hosted the Cumberland Bandits where they squeaked out a crucial 4 to 3 victory.  The first period saw Cumberland excel to an early 2 to 1 lead on goals from Ryan Lanfranchise (Nicholas Bedard 7:44 PP) and Billy Denham (unassisted 3:02 SH).  Bryden Vankessel (Shawn Simms 0:02 PP) responded for North Dundas at the end of the period.

Andrew Oliveira (Josh Boudreau 17:44) opened the second period scoring building the Bandits a two goal lead.  The Rockets would cut the lead to one goal when Justin Lefebvre (Matthew Cowley, Bryden van Kessel 13:00 PP) scored on a powerplay.  Less then five minutes later Chris Marchand (Bryden van Kessel 9:13 SH) would tie the game at 3 on a one timer.

With the score deadlocked at 3, the game winning goal came off the stick of Justin Lefebvre (Shawn Simms 7:53 PP) as the Rockets would hold on for a 4 to 3 win on home ice.

Sunday night North Dundas traveled to Saint Isidore for another crucial hockey game in search of a guaranteed third place finish on the season with a win.  The Rockets launched a five-minute barrage at Saint Isidore goaltender Philip Roy scoring four goals in five minutes to start the game and chase the Eagles netminder out of the game after 5 minutes and 9 seconds of the first period.  Goals came from Tom Fingler (Bryden van Kessel 18:15); Justin Lefebvre (Bryden van Kessel, Shawn Simms 16:48); Connor Roth (Tom Fingler, Chris Marchand 15:22); and Chris Marchand (Tom Fingler 14:51).  The fourth goal came directly after an Eagles time out as coach Mario Galipeau tried to settle his team down following the first three goals.  Maxim Choquette (Jacob Belanger, Mathieu Galipeau 1:04PP) would get the Eagles on the board

With a 4 to 1 lead to start the second period Jeremy Arbour (Patrick Ranger, Tyler Seguin 9:41) would cut the lead in half scoring for the Eagles.  Justin Lefebvre (Connor Roth, Tom Fingler 5:30 PP) and Connor Roth (unassisted 2:43 PP) would round out the second period scoring with the Rockets leading 6 to 2.

The Third Period would see Rockets goals from Connor Roth (Tom Fingler 14:46); Matthew Cowley (Connor Roth, Bryden van Kessel 7:31); and Matthew Cowley (Chris Marchand 4:20 PP).  The final score in the win would be 9 to 3 in favor of North Dundas

Monday Night the Papineauville Vikings were in Chesterville for a make-up game giving the Rockets an opportunity to secure a second-place finish on the season.  The shorthanded Vikings got off to a quick start building a 3 to 0 lead early in the first on goals from Joey Simoneau ( Jacob Osborne, Justin Labrosse 11:00); Hugo Lusignan (Jacob Osborne, Justin Labrosse 5:44); and Justin Labrosse (Joey Simoneau, Jacob Osborne 4:09).  Tom Fingler (Brodie Barkley 3:06) and Justin Lefebvre (Shawn Simms1:52) would respond for North Dundas before the end of the period.

Trailing 3 to 2 heading into the second period Bryden Vankessel (Tom Fingler, Connor Roth 14:20) tied the game and then would put the Rockets ahead 4 to 3 at the 6:24 mark with assists going to Brad Stitt and Justin Lefebvre.

Connor Roth (Bryden Vankessel, Justin Lefebvre 19:04) and Shawn Simms (Nick Sourges 13:29) would seal the victory and a second place finish for the Rockets this season in the NCJHL and more importantly home ice advantage moving into the playoffs.

As General Manager of the club I would like to express how proud I am of the effort our guys put in this weekend.   We have guys fighting through injuries in Matt Cowley and Tom Fingler specifically, and our leaders really showed up and got the job done.  on behalf of the organization we would like to congratulate Bryden van Kessel on winning the league’s MVP and Top Defenceman for the second year in a row, Justin Lefebvre for being named NCJHL rookie of the year, Nik Paas and Lenard Mclean for being named Coaching staff of the year.  On a personal note I would also like to thank the league for naming myself Executive of the year; all of these awards are voted on by the league, and the Rockets are humbled and appreciative of the recognition this season.

Moving forward a playoff schedule remains unconfirmed.  The Rockets will be waiting on the results from the 4 team play down this week involving the Metcalfe Jets, South Grenville Rangers, Morrisburg Lions and Vankleek Hill Cougars.  The playoffs will start this weekend, check the Rockets website for the schedule in the next couple of days.

The Rockets, finally, would like to thank all those who have supported us this season; the fans and our sponsors.  This has been the best finish and regular season in franchise history and was made possible by all those in our community that stand behind us.  The success is about our community, its residents and our local hockey players.

Thank you all very much,

See you at the Rink.

 

Shawn Simms scores shorthanded against the Vikings and seals the Rockets’ 6-3 win over the visitors from Papineau, Monday night — the final game of the regular season.

 


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