VANKLEEK HILL – Despite missing a good chunk of their roster, the North Dundas Rockets managed to defeat the Vankleek Hill Cougars (11-12-1) 5-2 Sat., Jan. 13.
The Rockets rolled into Vankleek Hill boasting a roster made up of only 10 skaters and two goalies. Other players were missing due to injury or in the case of Shayne Lynott and Tanner Barnett, commitments to plow snow.
Despite the short bench, the Rockets buried four goals in the first period to give them a healthy lead heading into the middle frame.
Brad Stitt opened the scoring at 13:44 on the powerplay. Bryden van Kessel, the Rockets’ captain and leading scorer, picked up an assist on the goal.
Less than 30 seconds later, van Kessel netted a goal of his own, firing a wrist shot up and over Cougars’ goalie Sebastien Moreau.
With a little over six minutes left in the first period, Justin Lefebvre scored to push the Rockets’ lead to three goals.
Shawn Simms added a shorthanded goal to close out the first period. Lefebvre chipped in the assist.
The second period only saw one goal belonging to Cougars’ forward Ryan Allen who beat Rockets’ goalie Jason Buma at 17:48.
The first 15 minutes of the third period was scoreless before the Cougars cut the Rockets’ lead in half. Charles Doyon took a pass from Nicolas Castonguay at 5:02 to give the home crowd some hope.
Jack van Kessel sealed the Rockets’ win as he beat Moreau with 1:33 remaining in the game. B. van Kessel and Simms were credited with assists.
“I can’t say I was overly optimistic about our odds Saturday night,” said Rockets’ general manager Rob Sadler. “Ten guys showed up and did the job. I don’t know if we have gotten a more important two points this season.
Sadler also pointed to Rockets’ goalie Buma as a key component to the team’s victory.
“Jason Buma was an absolute pillar in net, backstopping a tired team as the game progressed,” he added.
Rockets vs. Gatineau-Hull (Jan. 20, 7:30 pm)
Rockets @ South Grenville (Jan. 21, 1:30 pm)