Weekend Recap for Jan. 23-25

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a good weekend.

This weekend started with St. Thomas Stars hosting Strathroy Rockets.  The Rockets appeared to be too much for the Stars as they defeated them 4-1.  Story from David Honsberger.


After dropping a pair of close games to the front-running Leamington Flyers and LaSalle Vipers, Strathroy Rockets’ head coach Mike Bondy felt that his club played well but did not bury their chances and failed to convert their chances when they presented themselves during the game.

With time dwindling and the post season looming about a month away, coach Bondy also stressed to his troops how important these last 11 games are, especially the race for fourth place among the Rockets, the LaSalle Vipers, London Nationals and St. Thomas Stars.

The top four clubs all qualify for home ice advantage in the quarterfinals.

The Rockets listened well to their coach and carried out the battle plan to perfection.

After a slow start at the Timkin Centre in St. Thomas on Friday night, the patient Rockets responded with a 4-1 victory keeping pace with the fourth place Vipers, who were 6-1 winners over the last place St. Marys Lincolns.

The Vipers remain four points ahead of the fifth place Rockets, however the Rockets have two games in hand and have a much lighter schedule in the remaining games than do the Vipers.

The two points also moved the Rockets four points ahead of London and improved their lead over the Stars to 7 points. The Rockets also have one game in hand on the Nationals.

The spirited and rejuvenated Stars put in an impressive opening twenty minutes.

A blast from a Josh Sleger’s one-timer from the point beat a well screened Mat Ouellet in the Rocket goal just 1 second after a Mark MacAulay interference penalty ended at 2:24 to give that Stars an early 1-0 lead.

The Stars enjoyed a wide territorial edge in play in the first period but were thwarted by Ouellet’s outstanding netminding.

MacAulay knotted the game at 1-1 with 56 seconds remaining in the first period when his shot from a scramble in front of Brendan Polasek found the top corner.

The goal seemed to change the complexion of the game and gave the Rockets a huge shot of confidence.

At 2:06 of the second period Rocket defenseman Andrew Martin jumped out of the penalty box, raced down the right wing pushing the Stars defense back and beat Polasek with a wrist shot from the faceoff dot.

It would turn out to be the game winner.

Before the period was over Eddie Schulz decided to shoot on a two-on-one opportunity beating Polasek on the glove side to give the Rockets a 3-1 lead.

Speedy Nick Griffin also tallied by shooting on a two-on-one shorthanded chance to put the Rockets up 4-1. It was Griffin’s fifth shorthanded goal of the season.

Star coach Ron Horvat pulled Polasek for an extra attacker with almost six minutes remaining in regulation time but the Stars could not get any closer.

Final shots favoured St. Thomas 38-37. Both teams failed to convert on the powerplay. The Rockets had 3 chances, the Stars had four.

The Rockets will host the Chatham Maroons on Saturday, January 24 while the Stars next game will be on Sunday, January 25 in Forest against the Lambton Shores Predators.

Nick Boyer and Kieran Milne both returned to the Rocket lineup after sitting out the past two games with injuries. Ocean Check saw his first action in a Rocket uniform after coming over in a deal with the St. Marys Lincolns.

Rocket rearguard Matt Laberge was sidelined with a foot injury. Austin Blais was impressive as a callup playing alongside Matt Knight-Bedour.

The Rockets have won all four games this season against the Stars.

The myFM Players of the Game were Ouellet for the Rockets and Ryan Valentini for the Stars. Rocket defenseman Dalton Good was the myFM Hardest Working Player. The myFM Hit of the Game was Rocket Sam Vokes on Adam Truax.


Also on Friday, St. Marys Lincolns hosted LaSalle Vipers.  The Vipers dumped on the Lincolns 6-1.  Story from www.lasallevipers.com

Vipers sweep season series with Lincolns

The LaSalle Vipers took a 6-1 decision over the St. Marys Lincolns Friday night at the Pyramid Recreaion Centre.

The win gives the Vipers a sweep of the season series. LaSalle has not lost to the Lincolns since Nov. 21, 2012 and St. Marys have lost their last 22 games overall.

LaSalle has won 11 of their last 13 games and pulled to within two points of the Chatham Maroons for third place in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League Western Conference. However, the Maroons have four games in hand.

Daniel Beaudoin scored 1:43 into the contest and Graham Pickard made it 2-0 before the end of the first period, giving the Vipers all the offence they would need.

Connor Rosaasen and Brett Primeau scored in the second period, while Brendan Harrogate and Korey Morgan found the back of the net in the third. Evan Krassey had the lone goal for St. Marys.

Paolo Battisti stopped 19 shots in the win, while Tyler Beattie stopped 43 in the loss.

Dalton Langlois (2 assists), Primeau and Pickard (1 goal, 1 assist each) all had multi-point games.

The Vipers next contest is Wednesday evening at the Vollmer Centre against the Lambton Shores Predators. Game time is 7 pm.


Sat. night, it was a battle at the WMMA as Strathroy took on Chatham Maroons.  The Maroons shut out the Rockets 3-0.  Story from Chatham Daily News.

Maroons’ Bessette shuts out Rockets


STRATHROY – Chatham Maroons goalie Bo Bessette showed no signs of rust Saturday.

Making only his second start in more than six weeks, Bessette had a 27-save shutout in a 3-0 win over the Strathroy Rockets before 468 fans at West Middlesex Memorial Arena.

Ian Faubert, Jared Dennis and Brayden Hopkins scored as the Maroons extended their winning streak to five games and their point streak to nine games.

The Maroons took at least 20 shots in each period while outshooting the Rockets 65-27.

Bessette was playing in his second game since Dec. 11. In his previous start, he was pulled after a three-goal first period Jan. 9 in St. Marys.

The 20-year-old from North York was the Maroons’ No. 1 goalie until former London Knights netminder Jake Patterson was acquired in late November.

Despite being a backup for the past month, Bessette still leads the Western Conference with four shutouts and is tied for second overall in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Bessette made 13 saves in a scoreless first period while the Maroons fired 20 at Rockets goalie Mat Ouellet.

Faubert scored the winning goal on a power play 2:36 into the second period.

Dennis scored early in the third and Hopkins tallied on a power play with just over five minutes left. Steven Beenackers assisted on both goals.

The Maroons were 2-for-8 on the power play and the Rockets were 0-for-3.


Sun. was a busy day in the West with 3 games.  The first was a late afternoon game of Leamington Flyers hosting Sarnia Legionnaires.  The Flyers picked up the points with a 5-2 win.  Story from C. Scott Holland.

Flyers Top Legionnaires 5-2 In Play-offStyle Game

Except for the fact that the atmosphere wasn’t there because of the low attendance, the contest between the hometown Leamington Flyers and visiting Sarnia Legionnaires was very much like a playoff game. Its intensity was high and the game’s physical aspect was obvious throughout the entire 60 minutes. Yet the final 5-2 score for Leamington did not truly reflect the closeness with which these two top teams played, or the game’s high calibre of action.

Heading into the game, the Flyers held a lengthy 11 point lead over the second-place Legionnaires, but the Legionnaires came into the game needing the two points as badly as the Flyers. Both teams were out to strengthen their final playoff positions.

Leamington clung to slim leads of 1-0 and 2-1 over the first 40 minutes before Sarnia battled back to knot the game at 2-2. Then near the midway point of the third, the Flyers surged ahead, added an insurance marker to put Sarnia down 4-2 heading into the final minutes when an empty-net goal sealed the Flyers win.

Just three minutes into the first, Sarnia’s Branden Layman and Flyer Ryan Shipley were sidelined with coincidental minors for roughing which happened behind the Flyers net. That was as nasty as things would get in the opening stanza. The Flyers got a break at 12:42 when a wicked shot from the left point by Thomas Virban was tipped by Mitchell Amante past starter Andrew Masters. That tally put the Flyers ahead 1-0.

After having survived a Sarnia powerplay attempt at the outset of the second, the Flyers struck for a 2-0 lead. What originally began as a two-on-one breakaway ended in a three on one situation. Shipley and JP Grineau initiated the rush. Grineau moved quickly down the left lane, put his shot just a tad wide to Shipley who was parked near the left side of the net and Shipley immediately flung the puck to the slot where Chris Scott snapped the goal at 2:28. The Flyers would play strong defensively until 15:13 when Kyler Keating and Ryan Vendramin hooked passes with Davis Boyer who was by the right side of the Flyers net and knocked the puck past Trevor Wheaton, who was down along the ice on the play. Boyer’s goal cut the lead to 2-1.

With a one goal difference in favor of the Flyers at the start of the third, the Legionnaires came out flying and pressed Leamington. At 1:32 Nathan Mater and Boyer worked hard to get the puck to Tyler Prong who blasted a screen shot from the top of the slot. Prong’s shot eluded Wheaton thus making it 2-2.

A key turning point in the game came minutes later when Leamington’s Chris Scott was ushered to the penalty box for highsticking and 20 seconds later Blaine Bechard joined him for roughing. Sarnia held a five-on-three advantage for nearly 90 seconds yet the Flyers defence kept Sarnia’s powerplay attack off balance until Legionnaire Jordan Fogarty took a highstick call. But once again, the Flyers got a break when with only seconds left on the powerplay, Virban and Kyle Perkowski created a neat passing play going right side to left then back to the right side where Eric Henderson unleashed the go-ahead powerplay tally.

The game’s intensity was cranked up one more notch at this juncture and it was the Flyers who reaped the rewards thanks to their hard work checking and passing. With the puck behind the Sarnia net, Henderson dug it out and tossed a pass to Kyle Quick who was several feet out from the left goal post. Quick one-timed a shot that surprised Masters who was trying to follow the puck but found himself unable to react fast enough.  That fourth Flyers goal at 11:42 made the Legionnaires task that much more difficult, yet Sarnia maintained as much pressure as they could apply and never gave up. Constant forechecking and plenty of digging for the puck plus good shots by both teams down the stretch made the final minutes worth watching. Trevor Wheaton was stellar in the final 10 minutes for Leamington.

With just over one minute left, Masters was lifted for an extra-attacker, but the stingy Flyers defence wouldn’t allow the Legionnaires to gain the Flyers end zone and Zak Parlette chipped a puck out along the boards and Quick who was anchored near the benches triggered a shot that found the vacated Sarnia net 19:20 to complete the scoring.

NOTES:  Sitting out the game for Sarnia was PJ Vandervaart while for the Flyers Cale Phibbs, Joe Ogden and Zach Guilbeault were on the sidelines …Leamington outshot Sarnia 36-23 and did so by badly outshooting the Legionnaires 13-4 in the first and 11-5 in the second …The Flyers were one for three on the poweplay while Sarnia was blanked on six attempts …It was one of Leamington’s lowest crowds of the seasons, only 417 fans paid to see the game …It was Leamington’s last off-night contest of the regular season.           


Sun. night, Chatham took on London Nationals.  I’m not sure London even got on the bus as the Maroons hammered them 9-2.  Story form Chatham Daily News.

Maroons’ snipers take down Nationals

By Mark Malone, Chatham Daily News


The shots keep coming from the Chatham Maroons, and so do the wins.

They unloaded a 59-shot barrage Sunday in a 9-2 win over the London Nationals before 870 fans at Memorial Arena.

The Maroons are averaging more than 60 shots in their last three games.

That number doesn’t tell the whole story, Maroons head coach Tyler Roeszler said. It’s more important to get high-quality scoring chances, but the Maroons are racking up plenty of those, too.

“Any time you see back-to-back games with over 60 shots, you know that our guys are really working to get to the net and create chances,” Roeszler said. “If we continue to put up that many shots, you’re not going to lose many hockey games.”

The Maroons haven’t lost many lately. They ran their winning streak to six games and their point streak to 10 games (9-0-1) with the latest victory.

They also regained a one-point lead over the Sarnia Legionnaires for second place in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Western Conference.

Alexander Morgan led the attack with two goals and two assists. Brennan Feasey also scored twice for a season total of 31 goals, second-most in the GOJHL.

Recent acquisitions Luc Knight and Gus Ford each added one goal and two assists.

Jared Dennis, Steven Beenackers and Connor Doran also scored. Ian Faubert and Trevor Richardson chipped in with two assists apiece.

Bo Bessette made 26 saves for his second win in two nights after starting only once in the previous six weeks.

“He continued to work, even when he wasn’t playing, to get better in practice and be ready for when he got a chance,” Roeszler said. “I’m proud of Bo.”

After posting a 27-save shutout in Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Strathroy Rockets, Bessette looked sharp again Sunday. He blanked the Nationals for more than two periods while the Maroons built a 6-0 lead.

“It’s nice to be back in the cage,” Bessette said.

Derek Todosichuk spoiled Bessette’s bid for a second straight shutout by scoring 48 seconds into the third period.

Morgan restored the Maroons’ six-goal lead just over a minute later with his second of the game.

Bessette admitted he “fell off the map” for awhile, but he praised Jake Patterson for earning the bulk of the minutes.

He said practising well helped to keep him game-ready.

“It’s always good to be playing,” said Bessette, who’s first in shutouts (four) and tied for second in wins (18) in the Western Conference. “We practise hard – Rozzy always makes us practise hard – and that’s going to help us on the ice.”

Austin Kemp had the Nationals’ other goal midway through the third period.

Bessette blamed himself for both goals but was otherwise happy with his performance.

“This past weekend I feel I’ve gone out there and proven I can play with these guys,” he said. “Hopefully, wins keep coming our way.”

Nationals starter Connor Hughes gave up six goals on 43 shots. Justin Tugwell allowed three more on 16 shots.

The Maroons host the Lambton Shores Predators at 7 p.m. Thursday and visit the St. Marys Lincolns on Friday. They don’t play this coming Sunday.


The last game of the weekend was Lambton Shores Predators hosting St. Thomas.  The Preds had a come-from-behind win defeating the Stars 4-3.  Story from www.stthomasstars.com

St. Thomas falls to Lambton Shores after surprising comeback

Undaunted by a two-goal deficit, the Lambton Shores Predators battled back to claim a 4-3 victory over the St. Thomas Stars.

Lambton Shores let multiple leads slip away before eventually digging out of a two hole to pick up the win. The Predators took a 1-0 advantage on a power play goal by Ethan Sarfati at 4:32 in the first period. Lambton Shores found itself down 3-1 after St. Thomas’ Ryan Valentini put the puck home at 5:25 in the second period. After evening things up at 3-3 on a power play goal by Sean Ross at 13:37 in the third, the Predators got the game-winner from Brenden Trottier at 17:00 in the third period.

With three goals and one assist between them, Sarfati and Trottier teamed up to power the Preds  offense. Sarfati tallied two goals and Trottier also added one goal and one assist.

The Predators forced the Stars goalie Dan Black to work between the pipes, taking 34 shots. The Stars offense rang up 46 shots on Lambton Shores’ net.

Adam Truax also scored for St. Thomas.

St. Thomas totaled 23 minutes in penalty time with four minors and one major and went 0-for-1 on the power play.


So after the weekend, here are your standings


xLeamington 41 32 7 2 66 .805 165 102 908 19-2-0 13-5-2
xChatham 39 26 11 2 54 .692 187 128 746 14-6-1 12-5-1
xSarnia 40 26 13 1 53 .663 181 152 763 16-4-0 10-9-1
xLaSalle 41 24 17 0 48 .585 171 138 901 14-7-0 10-10-0
xStrathroy 40 21 17 2 44 .550 156 133 756 13-7-1 8-10-1
xLondon 41 19 20 2 40 .488 138 133 781 12-6-1 7-14-1
xSt. Thomas 40 16 19 5 37 .463 128 139 584 10-9-1 6-10-4
xLambton Shores 40 13 24 3 29 .363 129 189 909 9-10-1 4-14-2
St. Marys 41 2 35 4 8 .098 69 214 686 2-17-2 0-18-2


Sarnia’s been playing very inconsistent since the deadline and I’m really not all that surprised to see them fall into 3rd place.  In my opinion, LaSalle has been the surprise since Christmas.  They were on a steady decline and since the New Year, they’ve been on fire.  And yes, Chatham’s been on fire lately too, easily the hottest team in the West.

For those interested, Leamington’s magic number to clinch first place is 5.  If they pick up 5 wins in their next 8 games, Chatham can’t catch them no matter what.

It’ll be an interesting end of season race with teams having 8-10 games left.


Coming up this week

Wednesday, January 28

LaSalle Vipers vs. Lambton Shores Predators – 7:00 Vollmer Rec Centre

London Nationals vs. St. Thomas Stars – 7:30 Western Fair

Thursday, January 29

Chatham Maroons vs. Lambton Shores Predators – 7:00 Chatham Memorial

Leamington Flyers vs. St. Marys Lincolns – 7:10 Heinz Arena

Sarnia Legionnaires vs. LaSalle Vipers – 7:10 Sarnia Arena


I’ll probably make it to London and St. Thomas on Wed.  I think Sarnia and LaSalle will be a good game to watch.

Have a good week and I’ll see you again on Wed. for another profile, provided I don’t forget what day it is again.  This week will be a player from the Mid-West.

You all know that I am a die-hard Rockets fan, but I am also a die-hard GOJHL fan, having been watching Jr. B hockey since I was 10 years old. I will only watch the GOJHL and during the hockey season, you never know what arena RG is gonna show up at. I'm bringing you the games, news, and updates of the GOJHL. RG is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheRocketGirl16 and you can find me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheRocketGirl16 If you hear of anything about any of the teams in the GOJHL, or have questions about anything, feel free to post it. If I don't know the answer, I know how to find it.

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