OTTAWA—The Rockets were to have played four games this past week but ended up just playing one as they travelled to Ottawa on Wednesday night to take on the Bytown Royals. The season was called off the following day after Hockey Canada suspended the hockey season on Thursday due to COVID-19.
Rockets 7 Royals 5
The North Dundas Rockets travelled to the Bernard Gandmâitre Arena in Ottawa on Wed., March 11, to take on the Bytown Royals for game two of the best-of-seven NCJHL semifinal. The Rockets took the first game of the series 4-1 and looked to take a 2-0 series lead with a victory on the road. The big line of Justin Lefebvre, Joel Hunt and Nicholas Carroll was held fairly quiet in game one as Hunt was away but he returned for game two.
The Rockets opened the scoring when Hunt snapped one home from Lefebvre and Cameron Brown on the power play at 8:55 taking a 1-0 lead. The Rockets made it 2-0 when Hunt scored his second of the game from Lefebvre and Carroll at 11:23 but the Royals got one back at 12:44 as William Lachapelle scored from Sam Paquette and Nicolas Loyer.
The Rockets retook a two-goal lead when Will Watson slammed one home from Xavier Langevin and Brown with just 28 seconds remaining in the opening frame. The Rockets took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
The Rockets took a three-goal advantage as Hunt completed his hat trick, slipping the puck between the Royals’ goaltender’s wickets on a breakaway just 1:07 into the second period from Brown and Drew Holmes.
The Royals got back to within two as Paquette scored from Gino Peloso and Mickey George on the power play at 6:24. The Rockets restored a three-goal lead when Carroll ripped one to the back of the net from Matt Pietrkiewicz and Cole Hodges at 11:04.
The Royals would not go away, scoring another goal at 12:21 as Lachapelle scored his second of the game from Paquette and Loyer. They got back to within one as Peloso slapped one home from Lucas Prud’homme at 13:28. The Rockets returned fire as Evan Barosso scored a diving goal at 1:12 from Devon Thompson and Langevin. The Rockets took a 6-4 lead into the second intermission.
The teams remained scoreless in the third until the Royals pulled their goalie in favour of an extra attacker with less than one minute to go; the move paid off as Peloso scored his second of the game from Josh Renaud and Paquette with just 24 seconds remaining in regulation, closing the gap to one.
The Royals pulled their goalie for a second time hoping to tie the game but this time it backfired as the Rockets’ Barosso closed out the scoring into an empty goal from Lefebvre with just 16 seconds remaining.
The Rockets took the game 7-5 and took a 2-0 series lead heading back to home ice. The Rockets outshot the Royals 35-32. Picking up the win in the Rockets’ goal was Anthony Kerwin making 27 saves and suffering the loss in the Royals’ goal was Zachary Bourassa who replaced starting goalie, Danik Gervais, stopping a combined 28 shots.
Unfortunately, Hockey Eastern Ontario and Hockey Canada have cancelled the rest of the season. As of Thurs., March 12 there will be no more hockey for the remainder of the season due to fears of COVID-19.