STRATHROY – ST. MARYS BATTLE IN ROCKETS’ HOME OPENER

The Rockets moved into a three-way tie for second place with the London Nationals and the Sarnia Legionnaires in the Western Conference standings of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League with a 4-3 win over the visiting St. Marys Lincolns in front of 418 fans at the Rockets’ home opener at the West Middlesex Memorial Centre.  Domino’s Pizza was the corporate sponsor for the game.

In a game that featured the top two penalized teams in the Western Conference, the Lincolns and Rockets sent a steady stream of players to the penalty box.  The two teams combined for 132 penalty minutes which resulted in 5 players receiving disciplinary action.  Three Lincolns were suspended along with two Rockets, Jeff Williams and the Rockets’ second leading scorer Spencer Allen.  A pair of brief scraps after the final buzzer resulted with Williams missing the following match with Sarnia and Allen sitting out the next three games.  Lincoln Josh Higgins will miss the next four contests after a first period match penalty for attempting to injure.  Tanner Hertel will miss 3 games and Oliver Wieringa will miss a single game.

The game was one filled with momentum shifts, an outstanding performance from Rocket TJ Harris and another solid outing from Rocket netminder Zack Weir.  Harris had a pair of goals and an assist for a 3-point evening.  Harris is scoring at a goal-a-game clip and now has registered 5 goals and added 4 assists for 9 points in 5 games.  He leads the Rockets in scoring.  Weir improved his fine record to 3-1.  The Rockets were outshot 35-30.  Evan Morrison was tabbed for the loss.  The Lincoln netminder’s record dropped to 0-1-1.

Nicolas Grandy and Harris, with his first goal of the game, paced the Rockets to a 2-0 first period lead.  Grandy’s goal came shorthanded.

St. Marys responded in a second period where they outshot the Rockets 13-8 and evened the score at 2-0 with a pair of their own goals by Jared Bogdon and Dalton Smith.

The Rockets took a temporary 3-2 third period lead with Harris’ second goal of the game at 6:21 before the Lincolns knotted the score again with a Clayton Lewis  powerplay marker at 12:15.  A Greg Marks wrist shot through traffic from the point on a Rocket powerplay proved to be the game winner just 34 seconds later.  Morrison was pulled for an extra attacker in the dying moments but the Lincolns were unable to find an equalizer.

David Honsberger

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