Knocking off the top clubs in the Western Conference of the GOJHL is beginning to become common place for the Strathroy Rockets.

The Rockets, who stumbled out of the gate this season winning just 1 of 8 games before recovering and winning 8 of 13, are making a habit of saving their best for the best clubs in the West.

On October 25 the Rockets edged the undefeated Sarnia Legionnaires 3-2 to halt the perfect start to Sarnia’s season at 13-0.

November 1 the Rockets became the first club seeded fifth or lower to defeat the first place Leamington Flyers and now the Rockets have become the first club seeded fifth place or lower to down the fourth place LaSalle Vipers.

The win was a convincing one, a 5-2 triumph at the WMMC on Saturday, November 8 in front of 425 fans.

The win moved the sixth place Rockets to within a point of fifth place London and increased their lead over Lambton Shores and St. Thomas to six points.

The loss dropped fourth place LaSalle into some shaky territory. They lead London by just a single point and the Rockets by two points. After going 3-6 to start the season, the red-hot London Nationals have won 6 in a row and threaten to vault into the fourth spot.

After starting the season going 6-0, the Vipers have struggled winning just 4 of their last 12 games.

The Rockets led by period scores of 1-0 and 3-1. They built a 5-1 lead in the third period with a pair of goals 22 seconds apart before the Vipers scored late in the game.

Brett Dalton led the Rocket attack with a pair of goals, including a beautiful tic-tac-toe goal with linemates Nick Boyer and Stuart King. Dalton’s first goal of the night came just 18 seconds after the Vipers had cut the Rocket lead to 2-1.

Nick Griffin, Sam Vokes and Dan Chapman added singles.

Kyler Carter and Brett Primeau replied for the Vipers.

The shots were even at 35-35. Both clubs went 1 for 5 on the powerplay.

The win improved the Rockets home winning streak to 4 games, a season high.

The win was even more impressive as the Rockets were playing with just 15 skaters. Kieran Milne, Dylan Newman and Mark MacAulay were absent and no affiliated players were available. The Rockets went with three forward lines. The Rocket defense all had outstanding games.

The Vipers were without six regular players but had three affiliated players dressed for the game. LaSalle was able to ice a full squad of twenty players.

Mat Ouellet earned the win for the Rockets while Eli Billing was tabbed for the loss. Both goaltenders had solid outings. The best save of the game came when Billing stopped Griffin on a 3-on-1 Rocket attempt.

The Entertainment Tonight Players of the Game for the Rockets were Dalton, Ouellete and defenseman Kurtis Sander.

Both teams will see action this Wednesday. The Rockets will travel to the Western Fair to play the London Nationals while the Vipers will host the Chatham Maroons.

David Honsberger

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