Last playoff run for captain and leading scorer

STRATHROY - They had to wait an extra day thanks to a Friday night snowstorm, but the last run at the Sutherland cup has begun for the Rockets’ C/Kadens.

Captain Kaden Hoggarth and leading scorer Caden Faulkner are graduating from junior hockey this year. They can extend their last season in Strathroy with a first-round playoff win over the St. Mary’s Lincolns.

Game one was in Strathroy Saturday night after the game in St. Mary’s was cancelled. Games two and four will be back at the Pyramid Rec Centre Monday and Thursday, with game three scheduled for Tuesday in Strathroy. The next chance to watch the Rockets at home will be Saturday at the West Middlesex Memorial Centre if the series goes to six games. That would be five games in six days for the Junior B teams.

And if game one was any indicator of what to expect, a lot of Gatorade will be needed to get through those contests. A fast-paced, high-scoring affair ended with Lincolns steering into a 5-4 overtime win over the home team.

Caden Faulkner did get on the scoresheet with the Rockets’ second goal of the game in the last minute of the second period. He had 31 goals and 60 points to lead the team in those categories in just 50 games played.

But it was the other Faulkner whose name was on that sheet the most. Rookie Brennan Faulkner assisted on all four Strathroy goals. That makes sense, since Brennan was the most prolific playmaker for the team in the regualr season with 36 assists in 48 games.

Cole Smith scored on the powerplay and Andrew Jaques scored a pair for the Rockets, including their fourth with less than four minutes to go in the third period to force overtime.

Alas, it was not enough for Strathroy to take the first playoff game. St. Mary’s rookie Owen Voortman got the game-winner 11:17 into the first overtime. It was a good way for Voortman to get back on his coach’s good side after taking a hooking penalty just over three minutes earlier.

Strathroy had plenty of chances to score more on the powerplay, but ended with only two on nine chances. St. Mary’s was one for five with the man advantage.

Rockets goalie Liam Reid stood tall with 34 saves on 39 shots. Lincolns goalie Matteo Lalama stopped 29 of 33 shots.

Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner