Back home in Chesterville for Game 5 on Saturday, St. Paddy’s day
The Rockets’ Launch Pad
by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets General Manager
The Rockets opened the National Capital Junior Hockey League Semi-Finals this past weekend with a pair of homes games in Chesterville against the Saint-Isidore Eagles. The Rockets beat out the Vankleek Hill Cougars in the quarter finals a week earlier, while the Eagles won a hard fought 7 games series over the Cumberland Bandits this past Wednesday.
Friday night, in front of another capacity crowd at the barn in Chesterville, the Rockets fell short 3 to 2 in the most disappointing effort of the season. With the exception of Jason Buma in net who faced 53 shots while stopping 50, the rest of the team should have stayed at home. Saint Isidore built a 3 to 0 lead over the course of the first two periods on Power play goals from Patrick Ranger (JP Souligny 13:20 1st); and a pair from the point by Captain Nicholas Souligny. Maxime Choquette; Jacop Belanger; Fred Gagnier and Alex Leclerc draw assists on the two goals which were scored less then three minutes apart in the second period.
The Rockets mounted a brief come back in the third period with goals from Tom Fingler (Connor Roth 14:05) and Ryan Carbonette (Shawn Simms, Justin Lefebvre 9:46). The 3 to 2 lead would hold and the Eagles took a early 1 game to 0 lead.
Sunday afternoon, with the rink packed to capacity again, the Rockets would not disappoint coming out hard right off the start. The 1st period started with a good hard hitting pace with the local team hitting three posts early on. Matt Cowley (Brad Stitt 4:12) finally broke the seal giving the home team a 1 to 0 lead on a shot from the point through a screen. The second period continued at the same pace early on with both teams exchanging quality scoring opportunities until Matt Cowley (Brad Stitt 4:16) found the back of the net again with another point shot that beat Eagles goalie Philippe Roy on the glove side high.
The third period boasted another great, fast period of hockey. The Rockets were able to lock things down defensively resulting in a turn over which lead Chris Marchand (Tom Fingler, Bryden van Kessel 6:10) breakaway down the left wing and a snap shot short side goal sealing the win the Rockets in Game 2.
As General Manager of the club the show of community support so far through this payoffs has been phenomenal, I simply can’t say enough about our fans; it’s unbelievable. On that same note I would like to apologize to those of you who turned out Friday night too watch our team stink the rink out. Jason Buma was the only thing worth watching Friday night as he stopped 50 of 53 shots to give us a chance; but the effort was not there from the minute the puck dropped. I heard a lot of complaining about the officiating Friday night, and yes there was some poor calls, but the reality is, as a hockey club, we were awful.
Sunday afternoon was a great bounce back effort from our guys. We skated right off the start and played an excellent playoff hockey game. A 3 to 0 win speaks for itself. We got great efforts out of forwards/defence; some great goaltending out of Reilly Tondreau, and I felt coaches Nik Paas and Lenard Mclean really did a great job with the line up and the preparation before the game. Our leaders on the team took control of the game and the room. As a team we have been pointing the finger at everything else when we loose, I feel that Sunday afternoon we looked in the mirror a little bit and realized that we can win if we want it; and have hold ourselves accountable. Very proud of the effort Sunday.
Games 3 and 4 are on the road Tuesday and Thursday of this week. The Rockets will be returning home Saturday, March 17th, 2018 on St. Patricks Day for game 5, puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. in Chesterville.
See you at the rink.
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