All engines were firing for the Strathroy Rockets offense, but goals were not as easy to land as the team went 1-1-1 the last three games.
Strathroy fired an average of over 35 shots per game on opposing goaltenders, including 44 on London Nationals’ Aiden Berry. London fired 41 back.
The effort on Nov. 13 in Strathroy made for an exciting but incomplete comeback for the home team, who lost 5-3 after the Nationals scored an empty net goal with 25 seconds left.
The difference may have been the powerplay as the Rockets went one for five, and the Nationals scored two in five chances.
The Rockets are in the middle of the pack with their powerplay sitting at 16.2 percent, but their penalty kill is worst in the Western Conference at 71.4 percent. They have allowed 20 goals while a man down so far this season.
Leading Rockets scorer Riley Wood had two goals in the game. After adding an assist versus St. Thomas the next game Nov. 19, he is now thirteenth in Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League scoring with 11 goals and 14 assists for 25 points in 19 games. Captain Carson Perry is not too far behind with six goals, 17 assists and 23 points.
The game versus the St. Thomas Stars was a little bit tighter defensively, with the Rockets shooting 28 on Stars goalie Tyler Roberts. He only let one in during a game that had to go into extra time to settle the score.
St. Thomas came out on top with an overtime goal by Nick Houben just over a minute into the extra frame.
Strathroy did pick up its win against the Sarnia Legionnaires, who now sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings two points back of the Rockets.
The Rockets had 35 shots on net, including a stratospheric 22 in the second period. They then shut it down in the third period, where shots were 5-4 for Sarnia.
The Legionnaires scored their lone goal with just under four minutes left, but Rockets goalie Chazz Nixon turned the rest aside.
Nixon came over from the Leamington Flyers and has played all the last three games for the Rockets. He has an impressive .926 save percentage in his time with Strathroy.
The Rockets have two games this weekend Friday in St. Marys versus the Lincolns and at home Saturday against the Chatham Maroons before the London rematch next Wednesday.
The final games of 2021 are Dec. 4 and 5 versus St. Marys and Komoka.
Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner