CHESTERVILLE – Captain Bryden van Kessel cracked three goals and led the hometown North Dundas Rockets to a 6-3 win over the visiting Clarence Creek Castors.
Saturday’s (Oct. 28) win extended the Rockets’ home game record to a perfect 3-0-0 and inflated the team’s overall mark to 8-2-0, good enough for a share of first place in the National Capital Junior Hockey League standings with the Papineau Vikings (8-2-0). Three teams – Gatineau-Hull Volant, Cumberland Bandits and Metcalfe Jets – own 6-3-0 records and are tied with 12 points, six back of the co-leaders.
Dundas County’s other entry, the Morrisburg Lions (3-8-0), have six points and stand 10th (12 teams) one point behind the Blackburn Inferno (3-5-1).
The Rockets’ weekend began Friday (Oct. 27) in Gatineau where they rallied from a 4-1 deficit and defeated the Volant 6-5.
Referring to the club’s 8-2-0 record GM Robyn Sadler said, “This marks the first time in Rockets history that the team has been in first place, which is a huge milestone for the franchise and shows just how far we have come as an organization.”
Sadler, on behalf of the Rockets organization, offered condolences to the CCHL2 Renfrew Timberwolves and the families of the two young men, Brandon Hanniman (died at scene) and Alex Paquette (passed in hospital on Monday), who died as a result of a car accident, which involved four members of the team. The accident took place at midnight on Friday (Oct. 27) on the Calabogie Road. The other two players Jake McGrimmon and Ben Scheuneman remain in hospital in serious condition.
“Accidents like this devastate the hockey community, and the lives of families, something North Dundas knows too well,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
Rockets 6 – Castors 3
North Dundas carried a 2-1 lead into the final frame of Saturday’s home game. Landon Veenstra (unassisted and van Kessel (PPG, Connor Roth, Brad Stitt) counted the first two markers.
Roth set up a SHG for van Kessel to start period three. Goals by Stitt (GWG, Justin Lefebvre, Chris Marchand), van Kessel (Roth, Shawn Simms) and Veenstra (Roth, Simms) salted win number eight away. Jason Buma posted the win.
Rockets 6 – Volant 5
North Dundas had never won a game in the Robert Guertin Arena and the host Volant roared into a 4-1 lead, which they carried into the final frame.
A five-minute major penalty to the Volant gave the rockets a five-minute power play to start the third period.
North Dundas’ comeback launched with three PPGs by Lefebvre (Veenstra), Marchand (unassisted) and Brodie Barkley (Lefebvre, Bryden van Kessel).
Marc Olivier Lafreniere gave the Volant a 5-4 lead at 13:25, but van Kessel (PPG, Roth) knotted the count 5-5 and less than a minute later Marchand (Dylan Nixon) ripped home a slap shot to break the tie and hand the Rockets the victory.
“As general manager I cannot say enough positive things about the weekend,” said Sadler. “The adversity we faced as a team Friday night and claw back and win that game was overwhelming.”
“The odds were not in our favour, and yet we continue to refuse to quit as a team,” added the GM. “We get the job done, stay focused and play a real solid game.”
The Rockets have just one game on this week’s schedule, a home game on Sat., Nov. 4 when they will host the Vankleek Hill Cougars in a 7:30 pm contest.