Rockets defeat Cougars, advance to next playoff round

Bryden van Kessel picks up awards as National Capital Junior Hockey League MVP and Top Defenceman, prior to the Rockets' final home game in the playoff series against Vankleek Hill. Rockets President Kevin Byers hands over the trophies on behalf of the league. Courtesy photo

The Rockets’ Launch Pad

by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets General Manager

The North Dundas Rockets lined up this past weekend to play games four and five of their National Capital Junior Hockey League quarter final playoffs against the Vankleek Hill Cougars leading the series 2 games to 1.

Friday night, game four was held in Vankleek Hill and started off in lackluster fashion as the Rockets forgot their legs in the parking lot for the first two periods.  Nicolas Castonguay (unassisted 12:28 SHG) opened the scoring on a breakaway for the Cougars following a Rockets turn over on the power play.  Bryden van Kessel (Brodie Barkley, Connor Roth 2:02 PPG) responded for North Dundas ten minutes later only to see Cougars captain Tyler Druce (Charles Coyon 1:08) restore a Vankleek Hill lead before the periods end.  Byron Lavictoire (Tyler Druce 14:33) tallied the lone second period goal giving the Cougars a 3 to cushion heading into the final period.

The third period seemed to ice a revitalized Rockets squad when Tom Fingler (Connor Roth, Matt Cowley 15:05 SHG) capitalized on a cross ice pass cutting the lead to one.  In the second half of the third Brad Stitt (Jack van Kessel, Matt Cowley 8:11) even the score forcing an overtime period.  Less then a minute in to overtime NCJHL Rookie of the year Justin Lefebvre (Shawn Simms, Matt Cowley 9:10) got a second opportunity in the Cougars slot and beat goaltender Sebastien Moreau low stick side to give the Rockets a 3 to 1 series leading heading home.

Saturday night, In front of a capacity and rowdy crowd at the barn in Chesterville, the score remained deadlock at 0 through the first period of play.  Connor Roth (Justin Lefebvre, Shawn Simms 15:47) opened the scoring for the Rockets.  Tom Fingler (Bryden van Kessel 9:22 PPG) would add to the lead beating Cougars goaltender Dominik Turcotte with a quick shot in the slot.  Fingler would dent the twine once more before the end of the second giving North Dundas a commanding 3 to 0 lead going into the third, Matt Cowley and Justin Lefebvre drew assists on the powerplay goal with less then a minute to go.

Connor Roth (Matt Cowley, Justin Lefebvre 10:20 PPG) scored the Rockets 3 power play goal of the game half way through the third period making it 4 to 0.  Ryan Allen and Hugo Blanchard would rally the cougars with a goal each in the final ten minutes with the end result being a 4 to 2 Rockets win to clinch the series win.

As General Manager of the club I would like to congratulate Vankleek Hill on a hard fought series and a good season.  The games this past weekend were both very different.  We didn’t show up until the third period in Friday nights win, where as I felt that Saturday we were real good off the start.  Everyone on our team right now in contributing which is great to see.  We’ve timely goal scoring, good defensive efforts and some solid goaltending.

I would also like to thank the fans who have bee out supporting us, it creates a great atmosphere for the guys and our community.  The “sixth man” down in the far corner, which consists of many forward Rockets players; for our home games has been absolutely awesome fellas,  keep it up!

Moving forward we will be playing the winner of the Cumberland vs Saint Isidore Series.   Currently we have a home ice games scheduled for Friday, March 9th at 7:30 p.m. in Chesterville; and Sunday March 11th at 4:00 p.m. in Chesterville.

See you at the Rink!

Justin Lefebvre collects the NCJHL rookie of the year trophy from Rockets President Kevin Byers. Courtesy photo


Rockets’ President Kevin Byers presents Rob Sadler (left) with the NCJHL Executive of the Year Award. Courtesy photo


Lenard Mclean (left) and Nik Paas (centre) were recognized as the NCJHL’s Coaching Staff of the Year. Courtesy photo


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