Take-off was a success as the fresh-faced Strathroy Rockets started their regular season with a 4-3 overtime win on the road last Friday over the St. Marys Lincolns.
The winner was scored on a great two-on-one play that ended with defenceman Cole Smith driving to the front of the net and potting a beautiful pass from Mt. Brydges’ own Nigel Piercy. Rookie forward Andrew Jaques got the secondary assist on the goal.
Jaques scored the third Rockets goal; pride of Sherbrooke, Quebec Victor-Antoine Fortier scored the opening goal in his Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League debut; and new team captain Kaden Hoggarth got the second Rockets goal in the second period on the powerplay.
Rookie goalie and Oshawa Generals first-round pick Liam Reid was outstanding with 45 saves for the win. The Rockets put 29 shots on Lincolns goalie Matteo Lalama.
Hoggarth is from Goderich and is in his third season and second full season with the team. The 20-year-old former Mitchell Hawk forward had 12 goals and seven assists in 47 games last season.
“His presence in the dressing room is well known and respected by all. Kaden plays a 200-foot game, and is a great 2-way player who comes to practice every day eager to improve himself and others around him,” said coach Jason Williams in the preseason announcement.
The Rockets bring their crew that includes two rookie goalies, two rookie defencemen and nine rookie forwards on the road for five more games before their home opener Oct. 1 versus the St. Thomas Stars. Fans can keep tabs on their progress with live video and audio play-by-play on the Rockets website.
The season is back to 50 games, with two out-of-conference games during the GOJHL Showcase in Pelham Sept. 23-25. One of those games will be against the Stratford Warriors, a team the Rockets have not played since 2008.
Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner