Rockets retire Van Kessel’s #24
The North Dundas Rockets celebrated their former captain, Bryden Van Kessel on Sat., Oct. 13, by retiring his #24 jersey. Van Kessel wrapped up his NCJHL junior hockey career after last season. The Chesterville native, won two National Capital Junior Hockey League (NCJHL) most valuable player awards; two NCJHL top defenseman awards and two defenceman leading scorer awards. He is also the Rocket’s all time leading scorer recording 150 points with 56 goals, 94 assists in 60 regular season games played. The playoffs were no different as he is also the all time playoff points leader with 56 points in 33 games played. In the photo are Rockets’ co-owner, Kevin Byers, Van Kessel, co-owner, Kent Young and general manager, Rob Sadler. Sawyer Helmer photo
CARP — The North Dundas Rockets played two games this past weekend as their long-awaited home opener finally happened as they welcomed the Vankleek Hill Cougars on Saturday night and the travelled to Carp on Sunday evening to take on the West Carleton Inferno.
Rockets 7 Inferno 0
The North Dundas Rockets travelled to the W. Erskine Johnston Arena in Carp to take on the West Carleton Inferno on Sun., Oct. 14, in the NCJHL. The Rockets were coming off their first win of the 2018-19 season and looked to move up the standings in the East Division.
The Rockets opened the scoring just 2:31 into the first period as Jeremie Lefebvre slammed one to the back of the net from Mckay Balaton and Brad Stitt on the power play to take a 1-0 lead. The Rockets made it 2-0 when Lefebvre netted his second goal of the game from Balaton and Connor Roth.
The Rockets took the 2-0 lead into the first intermission. The Rockets made it 3-0 when Roth lit the lamp from Tanner Barnet at 6:04 of the second period. The Rockets kept the pedal to the metal as Brad Nash ripped one from Carter Tait and Barnett at 10:04 and at 13:42, Hugo Lusignan slid one home from Tait to make it 5-0.
The Rockets added another goal at 14:51 as Roth scored his second of the game from Stitt and took a 6-0 lead into the second intermission. The Rockets scored the lone goal of the third period as Pierce Egan scored his first of the season from Jack Van Kessel and Lusignan with just a half a second remaining in the game.
The Rockets took the game 7-0 moving into a second-place tie in the West Division with the Morrisburg Lions. Picking up the shutout in the Rockets’ goal was Caleb Gervais making 18 saves.
Rockets 7 Cougars 5
The North Dundas Rockets welcomed the Vankleek Hill Cougars to the Chesterville Arena on Sat., Oct. 13, for their NCJHL home opener. The Rockets were still snake-bitten starting the season with an 0-4 record as they looked to draw off theme town energy.
The Cougars sat in second place in the East Division with a record of 5-1 so the Rockets would have their hands full. The Cougars opened the scoring at 9:30 of the first period taking a 1-0 lead but the Rockets soon tied the game as Jack Van Kessel slid one home from Thomas Leggett and Carter Tait at 12:46.
The Rockets took their first lead of the game as Hugo Lusignan pounded one home from Brad Nash and Matt Cowley at 15:30. With time winding down in the opening frame, the Cougars tied the game with just 1:13.
The teams took a two-all draw into the first intermission. The Rockets came out with purpose and took control of the game. The Rockets retook the lead when captain, Brad Stitt lit the lamp just 49 seconds into the second period from Connor Roth taking a 3-2 lead.
The Rockets made it 4-2 when Cowley rifled one home from Stitt and Justin Lefebvre at 8:56 and 5-2 at 14:57 as Lefebvre sniped one from Roth and Logan Leonard. The Rockets took a four-goal lead when Nash slipped one to the back of the net from Leggett at 16:46.
The Rockets made it 7-2 when Stitt scored his second of the game from Landon Veenstra and Leonard with 2:10 remaining in the middle frame. The Rockets took an impressive 7-2 lead into the second intermission.
The Cougars picked it up a bit in the third period scoring two quick goals in the middle of the frame at 7:04 and 8:37 to make it a 7-4 game. With time winding down in the final stanza, the Cougars got to within two scoring with 1:41 but it wasn’t enough as the Rockets hung on for the 7-5 victory.
The win made the Rockets feel like they got a huge monkey off their back tying the Metcalfe Jets for third place in the West Division. The Rockets were outshot in the game 59-40. Picking up the win in the Rockets’ goal was Reilly Tondreau making 54 saves on 59 shots.
The North Dundas welcome the West Carleton Inferno to the Chesterville Arena on Sat., Oct. 20, at 7:30 p.m.