The Rockets’ Launch Pad
by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets
The North Dundas Rockets had two contests this past weekend and were able to skate away with wins at home and on the road closing the gap behind the South Grenville Rangers to five points in the National Capital Hockey League’s Western Division.
Saturday night, January 3rd, in the first game of the new year the Rockets hosted the 6-16-1 Metcalfe Jets who were fresh off a loss to the last place West Carleton Inferno at home on the previous night. The first period saw Chesterville native Jack Vankessel (Curtis Bowman 11:37) open the scoring on a great pass from North Dundas’ Curtis Bowman, a local affiliate playing in his second game with the club and recording his first career NCJHL point. Metcalfe would respond a few minutes later when Devon Upton (Tristan Staff, Josh Boice 6:17) deflected a shot from the point high on the glove side of Rockets netminder Reilly Tondreau. Seventeen seconds later Connor Roth (Tom Fingler 6:00) would give the Rockets a 2 to 1 lead heading into the second period.
Roth (unassisted 18:58) put North Dundas up 3 to 1 early in the second until the Jets replied when Evan Mantha (Cameron Gallant 16:02) watched the seas part off a faceoff and scored an defensively uncontested goal making it 3 to 2. Justin Lefebvre (Brad Stitt 9:41) doubled the lead before Winchester native Tom Fingler (Lefebvre, Roth 5:42) would put it away with the fifth goal in what would end up being a 5 to 2 win on home ice.
Sunday afternoon the Rockets travelled twenty five minutes south down Highway 31 for a matinee with the Morrisburg Lions. North Dundas got up early in the first when Connor Roth (Jarrett Williams, Dylan Robinson 18:19) made it 1 to 0. Former Rideau St Lawrence King Cameron Brown (Hugo Lusignan, Tom Fingler 5:16 pp) would add to the lead on the Power Play with a screen shot from the point.
The Second period really opened up for both teams with a total of eighth goals between the two and no defensive play to be found anywhere. Scoring for the Lions were Devon Burns (Zach Leblanc, Zenin Biron 15:51); Francis Chartrand (Devon Burns 12:37); Burns (Chartrand 9:13); Burns (Jensen Tysick 3:32). Replying for the Rockets were Dylan Robinson (Roth, Cowley 18:55); Roth (Williams, Barkley 10:41); Finch native Carter Tait (Will Watson, Jack Vankessel 3:23); Roth (Justin Lefebvre, Williams 1:53 PP).
The third and final frame would see the Rockets come out with a 9 to 5 win while Mountain resident and team Captain Brad Stitt (Brad Nash 13:07); Roth (Robinson, Williams 11:23); Lefebvre (Roth 8:40) would outscore the Lions who’s fifth and final goal came off the stick of Zach Leblanc (Kevin Doyle 11:44)
Tondreau got both wins on the weekend.
From a General Manager point of view, obviously a great way to start the new year for this team. We had four lines and six defence for both games. Connor Roth really lead the way this weekend with six goals, three assists for nine points in the two games. Former Kemtpville 73 and Mountain resident Jarrett Williams was in Cuba for the Saturday night game, but came straight from the Montreal Airport Sunday morning to play in Morrisburg and was an absolute horse setting Connor Roth up for all four of his goals in the win over the Lions. The club also got a great effort out of the Will Watson, Jack van Kessell and Carter Tait line in the Sunday afternoon game as well. Vankessel got big goals in each win as did Tait on Sunday. Our Back end was excellent on Saturday night’s win at home keeping the Jets to only 2 goals; and our affiliate player Curtis Bowman had a real solid game Saturday night proving that size has nothing on ability as he recorded his first career junior point and was awarded the teams top performer of that game; which is selected by our players as a group after each win. Tom Fingler is also an infectious player when he’s in our line up, a positive attitude, a strong work ethic and a real leader everywhere he goes; it’s going to be great for our team having him around more in the second half this season.
As the January 10th final player movement deadline approaches, the Rockets are looking to add in some capacity; but nothing is set in stone at the moment.
We are on the road both games this up coming weekend in Gatineau on Friday night then travelling to Vankleek Hill on the Saturday. The Rockets next home game will be January 19th, 2019 in Chesterville at 7:30pm against the Morrisburg Lions.
The organization has a great crowd in attendance this past Saturday night and we thank all those in the community that come out to support us at our home games. It is truly appreciated.
See you at the rink!