The North Dundas Rockets welcomed the expansion Bytown Royals to the Chesterville Arena on Sat., Jan. 6, in the NCJHL. The Rockets’ Captain had a big game scoring four goals including a shortie and the game winner. Van Kessel also leads the league in scoring with 21 goals and 32 assists for 53 points. The Rockets went on to take the game 6-2.   O’Donohue photo

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

Rockets 6 Royals 2: The Rockets welcomed the expansion Bytown Royals to the Chesterville Arena on Sat., Jan. 6, in the NCJHL. The Rockets went into the game in third place, four points behind the Gatineau Hull-Volant and six points behind the Papineau Vikings in first place. The expansion Royals have had zero luck this season with just one win in 22 games although that win was against these Rockets.

The Rockets got things started when Bryden Van Kessel scored an unassisted goal at 9:48 of the first period to take a 1-0 lead. The Rockets took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission. The Rockets made it 2-0 when Van Kessel scored his second goal of the game from Brodie Barkley at 11:45 of the second period on the power play but the Royals answered with just 1:39 showing on the clock in the middle frame.

The Rockets took a slim 2-1 lead into the second intermission. The Rockets made it a 3-1 game when Van Kessel scored his hat-trick goal just 35 seconds into the third period from Justin Lefebvre on the power play. Van Kessel scored his fourth of the game while short-handed at 9:49 from Tom Fingler to give the Rockets a 4-1 lead.

The Royals got some life scoring with 3:47 remaining but the Rockets put the game out of reach when Shawns Simms sniped one from Nick Sourges with 2:20 remaining and Brodie Barkley added an exclamation point with just four seconds remaining to give the Rockets a 6-2 victory.

The Rockets moved to within two points of the second-place Volant with two games in hand. Picking up the win in the Rockets’ goal was Jason Buma making 22 saves on 24 shots.

Rockets 9 Inferno 1: The Rockets travelled to the Blackburn Arena in Ottawa on Fri., Jan. 5, to take on the Blackburn Inferno in the NCJHL. The Rockets went into the game in third place, four points behind the Gatineau Hull-Volant in second and just two points ahead of the St. Isidore Eagles in fourth. The Rockets were coming off a 9-5 victory over the CP of Meyrin Swiss Junior team and hoped to carry some momentum into this game.

The Inferno haven’t had a whole lot to cheer about in their inaugural year with just four wins, 17 losses and a tie and are tied with the Morrisburg Lions for 10th and the last playoff spot. The Rockets opened the scoring when Jack Van Kessel snapped one home from Shawn Simms and Justin Lefebvre just 1:57 into the first period to take a 1-0 lead.

The Rockets made it 2-0 when Landon Veenstra deposited one to the back of the net from Brad Stitt at 6:42 and 3-0 when Tom Fingler blasted one home from Veenstra and Matt Cowley at 13:30. The Rockets took the 3-0 lead into the first intermission.

The Rockets increased their lead to four goals when Stitt scored an unassisted goal just 35 seconds into the second period. The Rockets made it 5-0 when McKay Balaton batted one home from Bryden Van Kessel at 2:31.

The Inferno finally got on the board at 9:49 but the Rockets had an answer for that too, as Bryden Van Kessel plowed one to the back of the net from Jace Legue at 17:48. The Rockets took a 6-1 lead into the second intermission. It was all Rockets in the third period as Fingler scored his second of the game from Nick Sourges and Veenstra at 3:54 to make it 7-1.

Jack Van Kessel added his second of the game from Lefebvre and Simms at 8:25 and Lefebvre closed out the scoring at 14:43 from Simms as the Rockets took the game in a walk 9-1. The Rockets are four points behind the Gatineau Hull-Volant after they beat the Clarence Castors 3-2. Picking up the win in the Rockets’ goal was Jason Buma.

Up next: Sat. Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m., Rockets vs. Cougars, Vankleek Hill Arena, Vankleek Hill.

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