Rockets vs Mustangs rivalry: It doesn’t get any better than this!

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by Murray Link

When it comes to senior men’s hockey in Eastern Ontario, one doesn’t have to travel far to see it in  person.  On Saturday Dec 9th, the North Dundas Rockets took on the South Stormont Mustangs in a game that boasted the top two teams in the Eastern Ontario Super Hockey League.  The much anticipated “battle of the East” game which had been talked about for weeks didn’t disappoint. In front of a full house, the barn in Chesterville was full of excitement hours prior to the event. “There were people from Long Sault in the stands two hours prior to the puck drop” stated Rob Sadler, Rockets Head Coach. “They came early to make sure they had a good seat”, and a good thing they did because it was standing room only for anyone who came late to the rink.  

Right from the get-go, the game was fast paced and very physical. The first period saw the Mustangs hitting every Rocket in sight, creating early scoring opportunities that were capitalized on by the Mustangs as they went up 1-0 early in the first. “It was a rocky start for sure”, mentioned Sadler, “we lost two guys within the first two shifts……not the way you want to start a game”. Rockets forward #91 Andrew Radjenovic was leveled with an open ice hit and #14 Deric Boudreau took a puck to the face.  Both players returned later in the first period; luckily, Radjenovic had the wind knocked out of him but Boudreau was not so fortunate and required four stitches to stop the bleeding. The latter part of the first saw a momentum swing as Rockets newcomer #17 Jack Nevins potted a short handed goal with 1:07 left in the first period to tie things up. #66 Brett Gustavson beat the horn with two seconds remaining in the first to give the Rockets a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.   

The second period saw things turn a little heated as the Mustangs recorded 6 penalties and the Rockets 5.  With both teams playing shorthanded at different stages of the second period, it looked like it could be anyone’s game. Fortunately, the home team was able to capitalize with power play goals by #27 Mike McNamee at the 7:00 minute mark and #90 Tanner Williams at the 13:30 mark of the second period.  The Mustangs made it a 4-2 affair with only 4 seconds remaining in the second period as they capitalized with a power play goal of their own by former Rocket #4 Dillon Clement.

In the 3rd period, the Rockets protected their lead and played smart defensive hockey. The Mustangs came out hard with 14 shots in the final period but were denied by North Dundas goaltender Matt Jenkins. Jenkins, who leads the league in wins with 10, also has a 2.90 goals against average which is also tops in the league. “Jenks has been outstanding in goal” stated Sadler. “He is definitely dialled in and I would say is looking the best that I’ve seen him since joining the squad three years ago”. Veteran forward Dean Byvelds capped off the scoring for the Rockets in the middle of the third putting the nail in the coffin for a 5-2 final score. Byvelds also took home first star of the game and a custom “player of the game” helmet donated by the North Dundas Fire Department.  

Once again, off the ice the Rockets were winners as they continued their pledge to give back to the community. All proceeds of the $25,000 shootout will be donated to the North Dundas Christmas Fund.  Fans also brought in non-perishable food items and toys that will also be donated to the Fund.  

It is safe to say that the rivalry between these two teams is just starting to come to a boil, and luckily both Rockets and Mustangs fans won’t have to wait long for a rematch of this weekend’s fantastic game.   The next Rockets home game will be Dec 23rd at 3:30 vs the South Stormont Mustangs.  Be sure to get to the rink early and cheer your home team on. The question is North Dundas:  ARE YOU GOING TO THE GAME!

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