CHESTERVILLE – The North Dundas Rockets were matched up with the Vankleek Hill Cougars for their first round series in the National Capital Junior Hockey League playoffs.
In front of a capacity crowd at the Chesterville Arena, the Rockets knocked off the Cougars 7-2 in game one Fri., Feb. 23.
Connor Roth got the scoring started at 15:30 on an unassisted tally.
The Cougars evened the score five minutes later on the power play when Marc-Antoine Doyon found the back of the net. Charles Doyon and Riley Sauve had the assists.
Roth gave the Rockets their lead back less than two minutes into the second period after taking passes from Bryden van Kessel and Tom Fingler.
The lead didn’t last long as Sauve evened the score yet again at 12:51 in the middle frame.
In the last minute of the period, Chris Marchand gave North Dundas a one-goal advantage on a breakaway goal.
North Dundas jumped ahead by two goals at 11:51 when van Kessel fired a shot off the cross bar and into the Cougars’ net.
van Kessel, Justin Lefebvre and Shawn Simms sealed the win with goals in the final 10 minutes of the third period.
Cougars 4 – Rockets 1
The Rockets travelled to Vankleek Hill Sat., Feb. 24 for game two of the best of seven series where they fell to the Cougars 4-1.
After coming out flat and failing to take advantage of great scoring chances, the Rockets found themselves in a 3-1 hole heading into the third period.
Ryan Allen, Tyler Dopelammer and C. Doyon had the goals for the Cougars. Fingler scored the lone Rockets’ marker.
Johnathan Leblanc sealed the victory at 6:37 in the third period to even the series at a game apiece.
Rockets 5 – Cougars 1
Both teams travelled back to Chesterville Sun., Feb. 25 for game three of the series.
After a scoreless opening period, Doyon beat Rockets’ goalie Reilly Tondreau for the game’s first goal.
Trailing by one and shorthanded, van Kessel scored on a breakaway to tie up the contest for the Rockets.
van Kessel netted his second tally less than two minutes later after taking a pass from Landon Veenstra.
Lefebvre capped off the Rockets streak of five unanswered goals with a pair.
“I feel we had a great start to the series this weekend,” Rockets’ general manager Rob Sadler said. “Great crowds, great atmosphere, which really helps push our guys on the ice. We got great goaltending out of Jason Buma in game one and Reilly Tondreau in game three.”
Sadler credited coaches Nik Paas and Lenard McLean for preaching a “defence first and more disciplined” strategy to the Rockets. The strategy is being enforced due to the types of goals the Cougars are scoring.
“Vankleek Hill has been scoring on power plays and odd man rushes,” Sadler said. “Both situations speak for themselves.”
Rockets @ Cougars (Fri., March 2, 8 pm)
Cougars @ Rockets (Sat., March 3, 7:30 pm)