The North Dundas Rockets welcomed the Morrisburg Lions to the Chesterville Arena on Sat., Feb. 3, in the NCJHL. The Rockets’ Captain Bryden Van Kessel had another big game with three goals and an assist in the Rockets’ 5-3 win over the Lions. Van Kessel is now in a dead heat in league scoring with 63 points with St. Isidore’s Maxime Choquette and Jacob Belanger.       O’Donohue photo

Jeff Moore
Record Staff
CHESTERVILLE – The North Dundas Rockets played two games this past weekend.

Rockets 5 Lions 3: The Rockets welcomed the Morrisburg Lions to the Chesterville Arena on Sat., Feb. 3, in the NCJHL. The Rockets went into the game barely holding on to fourth place after picking up a tie in their previous game against the Metcalfe Jets. With the single point, the team moved into sole possession of third place but that didn’t last long as the Cumberland Bandits won their game moving a point ahead of the Rockets and the St. Isidore Eagles for third place.

It was pretty much a “must win” game for the Rockets if they wanted to keep home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The two teams battled to a scoreless first period but the Rockets outshot the Lions 19-4.

The Rockets opened the scoring just 38 seconds into the second period as Shawn Simms blasted one home from Justin Lefebvre and Bryden Van Kessel. The Lions tied the game when former Rocket Bailey Norman slapped one to the back of the net from Alec St. Gelais and Brian Landry at 10:15 on the power play.

The Lions took the lead at 12:11 as Josh Barnes scored an unassisted goal but the Rockets tied the game at the 16-minute mark as Matt Cowley pounded one to the back of the net from Simms on the power play.

The Lions retook the lead when Aaron Smith slid one home from Cal Bilmer on the power play with just 1:41 remaining in the second period. The Lions took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission despite being outshot 41-15 in the two periods. The Rockets tied the game at 6:45 of the third period as Van Kessel snapped one home from McKay Balaton to make it 3-3.

The Rockets took their second lead of the game as Van Kessel sniped his second of the game at 16:49 unassisted. Van Kessel wasn’t done there as he completed his hat trick with just 1:02 remaining in the game from Lefebvre on the power play.

The Rockets hung on for a 5-3 victory moving into a third-place tie with the Cumberland Bandits. Picking up the win in the Rockets’ goal was Jason Buma, making 18 saves on 20 shots, and suffering the loss in the Lions’ goal was Dean Gauvreau, making 66 saves on 72 shots.

Rockets 4 Jets 4: The Rockets travelled to the Larry Robinson Arena in Metcalfe to take on the Jets on Fri., Feb. 2, in the NCJHL. The Rockets dropped to fourth place after an embarrassing weekend last week losing both games and were blown out by the first-place Papineau Vikings 8-2. The Rockets trailed the St. Isidore Eagles by just a point in third place and sit just one point ahead of the Cumberland Bandits in fifth and two points ahead of these Jets in sixth place.

The Jets sat in six place and have 34 points and there are only six points separating sixth and second. The Rockets opened the scoring at 13:18 of the first period as Bryden Van Kessel sniped one from Connor Roth on the power play to make it 1-0.

The Rockets hung on and took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission. The Rockets made it 2-0 when Shawn Simms snapped on to the back of the net from Justin Lefebvre just 2:01 into the second period also on the power play.

The Jets answered with four goals at 4:06 as Tyler Jodoin scored from William Lachapelle and Payton Melvin, 7:53 as Lachapelle lit the lamp from Evan Mantha and Nathan Bols on the power play, 11:35 as Bols slapped one home from James Horvath and finally with just 1:22 remaining on the clock in the middle frame as Jodoin scored his second from Lachapelle on the power play.

The Jets took a 4-2 lead into the second intermission. The Rockets regrouped after the break and got to within one as Lefebvre blasted one home from Simms and Matt Cowley at 9:17 of the third period.

The Rockets tied the game when Van Kessel scored his second of the game from Simms and Lefebvre at 11:27. Neither team was able to find the back of the net before the end of regulation so the game headed to a three-on-three five-minute overtime frame. The teams traded scoring chances but neither were able to find the back of the net so the game ended in a four-all draw. Playing in goal for the Rockets was Reilly Tondreau and for the Jets was Danik Gervais.

Up next: Sat., Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m., Rockets vs. Clarence Castors, Chesterville Arena; Sun., Feb. 11, 7:30 p.m., Rockets vs. Papineau Vikings, Chesterville Arena.