Rockets trade leading scorer while GOJHL postponed

·2 min read

Health restrictions have shuttered arenas across Ontario. That leaves the Strathroy Rockets stalled on the pad and Komoka Kings fans royally bummed out.

When the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League is allowed to get back on the rink, the Rockets will be missing some key faces.

Top scorer Riley Wood and goaltender Gordie O’Dwyer were traded over the weekend to the London Nationals for forward Michael Elliston and defenceman Charley Barnes.

Wood, 18, had 34 points in 29 games before the Covid shutdown. O’Dwyer, 19, had three wins in 15 games with the Rockets with a 3.95 GAA and .887 save percentage.

Elliston, 19 and a rookie, comes into Strathroy with 18 points in 22 games for the Western Conference-leading Nationals. Barnes, 17 and also a rookie, had eight points in 21 games on the blueline before Christmas.

The Rockets currently sit seventh in the Western Conference with 21 points in 29 games. That is 14 points back of neighbouring Komoka Kings who are third in the conference during the postponement and have only played 27 games.

Komoka have come out as the tough guys this season. They are one penalty minute behind the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs for the league lead. The kings were whistled down for 556 minutes in the first half of the season.

While Carter McLlwain leads the team with 36 points and 20 goals in 27 games, defenceman Josh Tidgwell has the penalty crown with 80 PIMs. Nicholas Yearwood is next with 70 minutes in the box, and he has 24 points in 22 games to boot putting him fourth on the team in scoring.

Whether the second half of the season will be a full second half is yet to be seen. The GOJHL has not announced make-up games or its plan the scheduled playoff start date of March 16.

The GOJHL Showcase and Future Stars/Top Prospects event were postponed without any rescheduling announced yet.

On Jan. 5 when the Province announced the restrictions, commissioner Brent Garbutt put out a statement on his desire the Province review sport league safety plans when making these decisions.

“We wish the Ontario government would continue to review the many sport organizations, including the GOJHL, who have implemented comprehensive safety plans and mandatory vaccinations for the opportunity to have our athletes continue to work towards their professional and educational aspirations by being designated as an Elite Amateur League,” said Garbutt.

Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner

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