Only three points back of the Rangers
The Rockets’ Launch Pad
by Rob Sadler
North Dundas Rockets
The North Dundas Rockets closed the gap this weekend between themselves and the South Grenville Rangers to within three points in the battle for 1st seed in the Western Division of the National Capital Junior Hockey League.
Friday night, January 18th, 2019 the Rockets traveled to Vanier to face off against the Bytown Royals at the Bernard Grand Maitre Arena. The first period was a fast paced, playoff like 20 minutes with both teams skating to a 0 to 0 draw despite exchanging multiple scoring opportunities. In the second period Connor Roth (Jarrett Williams, Matt Cowley 18:05 SHG) opened the scoring while killing a penalty to give the Rockets a 1 to 0 lead that lasted all of a minute and half before Sam Paquette replied for Bytown at 17:30. Both teams would then exchange another pair of goals less then a minute apart with the Rocket Hugo Lusignan (Williams, Zack Parent 14:42) followed by Paquette again for Bytown at 14:32. Justin Lefebvre (Tom Fingler, Brad Stitt 11:25) would restore the North Dundas lead only to have Bytowns William Lachappelle reply at 8:39 to end the second period in a 3 to 3 tie.
The third period would see North Dundas jump out in front when Lefebvre (Fingler, Brad Stitt 11:25) buried a shot from the slot. The lead would hold up until Justin Proulx redirected a shot from the point off a faceoff with 1:22 left to send the game into overtime where Connor Roth (Cameron Brown, Tom Fingler 3:49 OT) would play the hero for the second Friday night in as many weeks ripping a shot glove side coming down the left wing giving the Rockets a 5 to 4 win on the road.
Saturday night, January 19th, 2019 North Dundas played host to it’s highway 31 rivals from the south, the Morrisburg Lions. The Lions entered this contest sporting a 3-21-3 record, good for 9th place in the NCJHL this season.
The first period offense started for the Rockets when Zack Parent (Carter Tait 7:16) helped North Dundas to a 1 to 0 lead through the first 20 minutes. Morrisburg would not the score at 1 after Justin Shay (Devon Burns 15:55) ripped a slap shot glove side. Both sides exchanged opportunities when the flood gates finally opened at the 9:00 minute mark as Justin Lefebvre (Cameron Brown, Tom Fingler PP) started a string of five goals for each side to close out the period. Contributing for the Rockets were Connor Roth (Jarrett Williams, Matt Cowley 2:56); Lefebvre (Fingler, Roth 1:13); and Lefebvre (Fingler, Brad Stitt 0:10). The Lions goal was scored by Hayden Horner (Cal Bilmer 0:58)
The third and final frame of the contest would see the Rockets outscore the lions 2 to 1 for a 7 to 3 win. Williams (Roth, Dylan Robinson 12:11) and Robinson (Williams, Roth 8:13) rounded out the Rockets offence on the evening.
At the moment the Rocket are still chasing the South Grenville Ranger for top spot in the West Division sitting 3 pts off the lead heading into a critical weekend where they host the Metcalfe Jets on Saturday, January 26th at home in Chesterville for a 7:30pm puck drop before travelling to Cardinal for a show down with the Rangers on Sunday.
From an organizational stand point, and 8-2 record in our last 10 games is a positive. It’s given us some light and a new found desire to continue chasing home ice advantage in the playoffs. As General Manager I feel fortunate to have a great group of kids on this team that have all seemed to turn the corner in terms of a commitment to winning as a team. Our leaders have really stepped up, and the club can’t say enough about our Captain Brad Stitt and Tom Fingler who have been travelling back and forth on weekends from Brampton and Guelph respectively to help this team win hockey games. Justin Lefebvre continues to chase the top spot in League scoring with 30 goals / 37 assists for 67pts and Connor Roth continues to dissect the opposition scoring another over time winner this weekend and sits at a 48pts in just 20 games played so far this season. We are hoping this positive stretch continues and that the commitment remains intact as we push towards the final month of the season.
Thanks to all those who came out to watch Saturday on a stormy night, and we are looking forward to earning the communities support the rest of way.
See you at the Rink!