CHESTERVILLE – The North Dundas Rockets have moved on to the second round of the playoffs in the National Capital Junior Hockey League.

The Rockets defeated the Vankleek Hill Cougars in a pair of weekend contests, giving them a 4-1 series win.

North Dundas travelled to Vankleek Hill Fri., March 2 for game four of the series, picking up a 4-3 overtime victory.

After Nicolas Castonguay opened the scoring following a Rockets’ turnover on the powerplay, North Dundas’ captain, Bryden van Kessel, responded on the man advantage.

Cougars’ captain Tyler Druce restored the home team’s lead before the first period came to a close.

Vankleek Hill cushioned their lead to three goals after Byron Lavictoire was set up by Druce heading into the final frame.

The Rockets’ offence came alive in the third period as Tom Fingler cut the Cougars’ lead down to one.

The final 10 minutes of the period saw Brad Stitt (Jack van Kessel, Matt Cowley) find the back of the Vankleek Hill net, sending the game to overtime.

Less than a minute into the extra period, Justin Lefebvre beat Cougars’ goalie Sebastien Moreau from the slot for the win.

Rockets 4 – Cougars 2
The Rockets took advantage of their chance to clinch the series with a 4-2 win against the Cougars Sat., March. 3.

Connor Roth netted North Dundas’ first tally of the game after Lefebvre and Shawn Simms crafted passes to the Rockets’ forward.

Fingler struck on the power play with a shot that beat Cougars’ netminder Dominik Turcotte.

The Rockets’ defenceman struck again before the middle frame came to a close, giving the local team a 3-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.

Connor Roth scored at 10:20 of the third period, giving the Rockets their third goal of the game on the man-advantage.

Ryan Allen and Hugo Blanchard netted goals to give the Cougars life, but the Rockets held on for the win.

“The games this past weekend were both different,” Rockets’ general manager Rob Sadler said. “We didn’t show up until the third period in the Friday’s win, where as I felt that Saturday we were real good off the start.”

Sadler also thanked the fans who have supported the Rockets in the post-season, including the many former Rockets’ players who’ve cheered on the team at the games.

Up next:
North Dundas now awaits the winner of the St-Isidore-Cumberland series before finding out their second round opponent. The Rockets have home games scheduled for Fri., March 9 at 7:30 pm and Sun., March. 11 at 4 pm.

Rockets’ captain Bryden van Kessel (left) was presented with the NCJHL’s Most Valuable Player and Defenceman of the Year awards by Rockets’ president Kevin Byers. Courtesy photo