GOALIES BATTLE AS ROCKETS EDGE FLYERS

Not many things in the hockey world perk up ears as quickly as the words “goalie fight”. It’s a rarity to see and is usually more comical than it is nasty.

On Saturday night at the WMMC Leamington Flyer starter Trevor Wheaton and Strathroy Rockets starter Mat Ouellet squared off at 9:40 of the third period forcing Flyer Michael Barrett and Rocket Dane Gubbels to come on in relief.

The game quickly developed into a chippy affair in the third period as the Rockets hung on for a 5-4 win. The Rockets had enjoyed leads of 2-0, 3-1, 4-2 and 5-2 before a pair of late Flyer goals by Cale Allen and Cale Phibbs at 15:44 and 17:48 turned the ending into a nail-biter.  Rocket Lucas Latina drew a slashing penalty with 66 seconds remaining in regulation time to add fire to the Flyers’ furnace.

Former Rocket captain Tyler Duarte assisted on the Phibbs marker.  It was Duarte’s first appearance at the WMMC since the five-year-veteran demanded a trade to the Flyers last month.

Stuart King and defenseman Matt Laberge on a powerplay gave the Rockets a 2-0 first period lead.

Eric Henderson cut the Rocket lead to 2-1 when he tipped a point shot from Alex Derkson.

Dan Chapman put the Rockets up 4-2 when he converted a goalmouth pass from Kurtis Sander after the Rocket defenseman carried the puck up the length of the ice. Goaltender Ouellete also assisted on the play. The two clubs were playing 4-on-4 at the time.  The Rockets are 4-1 on four-on-four situations thus far this season.

Blaine Bechard brought the Flyers back to within a goal as the two clubs headed into the second intermission with the Rockets leading 5-4.

Things looked comfortable for the Rockets when Jakob Rody and Sam Vokes put the Rockets up 5-2 by 8:22 of the third period.  Vokes’ goal would eventually stand up as the game winner.

It was Rody’s first game in a Rocket sweater. He was injured in training camp and has been on assignment with the Lucan Irish.

The fireworks broke out on the first play following the Vokes’ goal.  There were 18 penalties called.   Kyle Quick and Dylan Newman were also sent to the showers for fighting.  The Quick-Newman bout was ruled as the second fight same stoppage of play and will be suspendable offences.  Goaltenders Wheaton and Ouellet were fingered for leaving the crease, fighting and gross misconducts for the removal of their masks/helmets.  The Flyers objected to some robust play by Rocket Jack Kilgour.  Kilgour was issued a roughing call but his main antagonist Blaine Bechard received roughing and checking to the head penalties.

The Rocket win ended a six-game Flyer winning streak.  The 14-5 Flyers have only lost 3 times in their last 15 outings and are tied for first place in the GOJHL Western Conference standings with the Sarnia Legionnaires.  Sarnia had two games in hand on Leamington.  The 8-11 Rockets have now won four of five games and moved to within one point of the idle fifth-place 8-8-1 London Nationals.

The Alex Friesen – Cale Allen – Kyle Perkowski line was the most dangerous unit for the Flyers.  Leamington was without veteran Mitchell Amonte who was preparing for an exam, while the Rockets were missing pepper pot Nick Griffin and scoring leader Mark MacAulay whom was serving a suspension.

The two clubs will hook up this coming Thursday at the Heinz Arena in Leamington.  The Flyers will be in LaSalle the previous night. The Flyers lead the season series 2-1.

Final shots favoured Leamington 38-29. The Rockets went 1 for 6 with the man advantage while the Flyers were 0 for 7. The Allen goal for the Flyers was scored just as Rocket Stuart King was stepping on the ice after serving a slashing call.

David Honsberger

1 Comment

  1. Welland fan

    November 2, 2014 at 4:36 am

    Did I see the Strathroy player throwing punches with his gloves on??? C’mon!

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