ROCKETS OVERPOWER PREDS

On Saturday afternoon the Strathroy Rockets were participating in the annual Strathroy Lions Club – Ricco Food Distributor Santa Claus Parade.

Later that night the score clock at West Middlesex Memorial Centre was lit up like a Christmas tree.

The Rockets and the visiting Lambton Shores Predators combined for 13 goals and 197 penalty minutes as the Rockets humbled the Preds by a 10-3 score.

The Rockets led narrowly 1-0 after one period. They exploded for six second period goals, including four in a span of 1:45, to take a 7-2 lead into the second intermission.

The four quick markers set a new franchise record for fastest four goals smashing the previous record.

Dan Chapman and Mark MacAulay led the assault with three goals each. They were the first career hat tricks for both players with the Rockets.

Brett Dalton, Stuart King, Kieran Milne and Sam Vokes added singles.

Dalton also registered five assists on the night tying a franchise record for most assists in a single game. The previous record holders were Mac Westgate (1966), Max Campbell (2006) and Derek Nap (2011).

The MacAulay-Dalton-King line combined for 5 goals and 14 scoring points.

Colin Burns, Ryan Fraser and Sean Ross replied for the Predators.

Mat Ouellet went the distance in goal for the Rockets while Anthony Hurtubise and Andrew Harriman-Duke split the goaltending duties for the Predators.

The Preds went 1 for 12 with the man advantage while the Rockets were 0 for 8. Each club scored a shorthanded goal. The Rockets also scored while the two teams were playing four aside improving their 4-on-4 record to 5-1.

The Rockets led the season series 3-0.

The win extended the Rockets’ home-winning streak to six games and improved their record to 13-13.

The extra curricular activities left six players suspended. Predators Brent Hammett and Drew Marlatt will miss the next two games and Bryan Boersma will miss one.

The hard-nosed rearguard Boersma, who gathered 441 PIM over the three previous seasons, was playing in his first game of the year for the Preds.

Rockets Jacob Rody and Jack Kilgour will sit out the next two games while defenseman Nick Whitworth will be sidelined for one game.

The Rockets were playing without the services of Lucas Latina and four-year veteran Nick Boyer.

The Rocket win combined with the LaSalle Vipers 9-5 victory over the Predators the following night in LaSalle kept the Rockets and the Vipers tied for fourth place. The Vipers do have three games in hand on the Rockets.

LaSalle and Strathroy trail third place Chatham by 7 points and lead sixth place London by 5 points.

In attendance at the WMMC was former Rocket and NHL alumni Patrick O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan was the Rocket Rookie of the Year in 1999-2000.

The Rockets will be idle this week until they host the Vipers at the WMMC on Saturday.

David Honsberger

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