Leading series 3-2, Rockets face Castors at home Wednesday night, March 4, at 7:45 p.m.

The Rockets’ Launch Pad

by Rob Sadler
General Manager
North Dundas Rockets

The Quarterfinals of the National Capital Junior Hockey League are winding down and have been interesting to say the least.  The South Grenville Ranger have eliminated the Metcalfe Jets in 4 straight; The Gatineau Hull Volants upset the 2nd ranked Vankleek Hill Cougars; the Bytown Royals are battling back against the St Isidore Eagles after being down 3 – 0 and the North Dundas Rockets are currently up on the Clarence Creek Castors 3-2 with Game set set to take place in Chesterville March 4th, Wednesday night at 7:45pm.  Moving into the semi-finals, one match up is already set between the Rangers and the Volants; but anything goes moving down the stretch to see who will take part in the second bracket.

Game 3 of the Rockets vs Castors series took place in Chesterville, Friday, February 28th, in front a filled rink.  This game also marked the return of Jarrett WIlliams and Mat Pietrkiewicz who would both have significant impact on the outcome.  Williams would open the scoring unassisted at 15:06 of the first period beating Castors goalie Corey Camirand with a wicked snapped shot low blocker side for the lone goal of the first frame.

The Castors would even the score at 11:08 on a goal by Austin Laprade (Jayden Tadiello, Zach Lugli). A few moments later  Pietrkiewicz (Williams 9:12) would spring up the middle with a breakaway from the red line in firing a shot low blocker on Camirand to give the Rockets a 2 to 1 lead heading into the third period.

A Power Play goal from the point by Brett Lannin (Justin Lefebvre, Williams 15:04) opened the third period offence with the rest of the period being a dog fight right to the end.  The Castors would find the back of the net with 47 seconds left in the game as Jordan Croll-Stevenson (Nathan Melee, Brandon Legare) tapped in a back door puck on a missed assignment.  The excitement would end once Nicholas Carroll (Cameron Brown) found the empty net with 25 seconds left on the clock to seal the victory for North Dundas.

Both clubs were back in Chesterville Saturday, February 29th, for Game 4 that saw a hot goaltending performance out of Camirand down the Rockets 4 to 1.  Jacob Servant (Unassisted 8:28) opened the scoring in the first period following a Rockets turn over while Joel Hunt (Lefebvre 5:25) even the score ending the first period.

Nicholas Gaumond (Logan Lefebvre, Servant 18:44) scored the only goal of the second period giving the Castors a 2 to 1 lead heading into the 3rd.  Clarence would find the net two more times before the game was done on goals from Tadiello (Servant 15:24) and Melee (unassisted 0:14 EN) tied the series up at 2 – 2

Sunday March 1st, 2020 both Clubs suited up again to face off in Clarence Creek in front of a capacity crowd who would not be disappointed as the Rockets prevailed in a double overtime 4 to 3 taking a 3-2 series lead.  The first period saw lots of offense with 5 total goals scored.  The Rockets Nicholas Carroll (Brown, J. Hunt 12:52) tapped in a back door pass for the first goal of the game while Melee (Lefebvre, Dominik Bourgeois 9:21) returned fire for the castors.  Melee (Lefebvre, Gaumond 2:57) found the net again off a rebound before Lannin (Drew Holmes, Lefebvre 1:53 PP) scored on a point shot off the left wing.  Clarence would put the pressure on when  Connor Head-Smith (Servant, Gaumond 0:15) scored to give the Castors a 3 to 2 lead into the 2nd period

Both teams, despite their best efforts could manage to beat Castors AJ Lariviere or the Rockets Anthony Kervin between the pipes.  Into the third the game remained 3 to 2 for Clarence until the 5:40 mark when Lefebvre (Hunt, Carroll) toed dragged around a sprawling defender and ripped a shot high glove side under the bar to send the game into overtime.

The first overtime period saw both teams exchange scoring opportunities to no avail, while North Dundas managed to kill off a cross checking penalty at the end of; and beginning of the second OT period.  Finally, at the 14:25 mark of double overtime Nicholas Carroll was able to bank a shot from behind the goal line off Lariviere and into the cage for the 4 to 3 win giving the Rockets a slight 3-2 series edge heading into game 6 at home.

As General Manager of the club I was riddled like everyone else with the ups and downs that seem to come in junior hockey playoffs.  I thought our guys played their hearts out, and despite some overwhelming adversity throughout the weekend came through for the organization and each other.  Jarrett Williams was huge on Friday night giving us a scoring boost with 3 points, Anthony Kervin was solid in nets, and our back end continues to work diligently at getting the job done.  I thought Brett Lannin was the best player on the ice for either team in the double overtime win on Sunday night.  It’s also to note the crucial efforts we are getting from the young kids on this team who are participating in their first junior hockey series, Cole Hodges, Matt Pietrkiewicz, Jack Dewan, Kobey Young and Xavier Langevin have all been learning and contributing which is awesome to watch.  Heading into Wednesday night’s game 6, I’m excited to see these guys battle again, it’s been entertaining hockey; and regardless of the outcome this week I am pretty proud of the group we have on our team.

I would also like to thank the fans who’ve been coming out to support our team at the rink!  We are very fortunate as a group to have you all in our corner! Wednesday night’s game start 7:45 p.m. at the Chesterville Arena.

The Rockets’ Launch Pad

(Feb. 25)

by Rob Sadler
General Manager
North Dundas Rockets

The North Dundas Rockets opened the National Capital Hockey League Playoffs this past weekend in Clarence Creek in a rematch of last years semi finals with the Castors.  The first weekend result was a split decision that saw the Castors take game 1 with a 5 to 3 win followed by a Rockets response winning 7 to 3 in game 2.

Game 1 was a back in forth battle for both teams in a feeling out process.  Clarence would benefit from 5 different goal scorers finding the back of the net, Jordan Croll-Stevenson, Logan Lefebvre, Brandon Legare, Zach Payer and Caleb Smith while Evan Barrosso, Justin Lefebvre and Brad Nash Nash responded for the Rockets in turn.

Game 2 would see Justin Lefebvre (Nicholas Carroll) open the scoring at 14:21 of the first frame; but the lead wouldn’t last long when Brandon Lagere (Jacob Servant) event the score at 13:26.  Jordan Croll-Stevenson ( Lagere, Servant) would give the Castors the lead at 3:41 until Nicholas Carroll (Lefebvre, Joel Hunt) beat Castors AJ Lariviere to knot the game up just seconds later at the 3:24 mark of the first.  The Rockets would then explode for two more goals in the remaining minute of the first Lefebvre (Hunt, Carroll) and Carroll (Drew Holmes, Lefebvre).  The Rockets would enter the 2nd period leading 4 to 1 after a sudden turn of events.

The second period was much quieter with the lone goal of a Power Play shot from the point by Brett Lannin (Lefebvre, Hunt) which lead to a 5 to 1 Rockets lead heading into the third and final 20 minutes.  Lefebvre (Hunt, Carroll) open the third period scoring at 17:11; and Zach Lugli (Caleb Smith) returned fire for Clarence at 13:46.  Joel Hunt (Evan Barosso, Carroll) would cap off the games scoring at 10:39 on a real smooth pass off the rush behind the net by newcomer Evan Barosso.

The organization was pleased with the team’s efforts this weekend, and we are excited about another intense playoff series with the Castors.  As GM I was proud of the way our guys showed up on Sunday in a pivotal game.  Nobody wants to start a series down 2 games to 0, obviously our top line of Justin Lefebvre, Nick Carroll and Joel Hunt was firing on all cylinders Sunday night, and our defense corpse of Brett Lannin, Drew Holmes, Evan Barosso, Pierce Egan and Jack Dewan really put in a solid effort in the win.  Xavier Langevin was awarded the player of the game by the guys on our team for his efforts, and his comment after receiving the award was “everyone thinks we are just a one line team; I really think we have a full team in here.”  As head coach I can certainly state that everyone of our guys gave a 100 percent on Sunday in the win, we had Josh Tapp playing forward who did a great job considering he’s a defenseman by nature, and we got great efforts out of Brad Nash, Kobey Young, Cole Hodges and Devon Thompson as.  One line did the scoring, but everyone contributed to the win in my opinion.

On other Rockets notes, the organization would also like to thank the Metcalfe Jets for hosting the NCJHL All Star game on February 14th, 2020.  We would also like to congratulate Justin Lefebvre who was named the NCJHL Most Valuable Player this season and also captured the 2019-2020 league scoring title recording 32 goals/40 assists/ 72 points in 34 games played this season.  The team would also like to congratulate Joel Hunt on being named this years NCJHL Most Sportsmanlike Player.  Joel handles himself with incredible integrity on the ice; is a tremendous teammate, any club would be lucky to have a kid like him playing for them.  Hunt also finished 3 points back of Lefebvre and 2nd in league scoring this season recording 33 goals/36assists/69points in 30 games played.

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