Strathroy rocket up standings

The Strathroy Rockets are moving on up and are four games above .500 after knocking off the top two teams in the GOJHL Western Conference.

First it was a 6-1 Friday night shallacking of second-place St. Marys Lincolns on the road.

Four of those Rockets goals came in the first period, including Caden Faulkner’s 12th goal and 23rd point through 18 games this season. That gave him the team lead in points. Rookie Brennan Faulkner got his second assist of the game on Ethan Facchina’s ninth of the season that put Strathroy up 4-0, and would get another assist the next night to pull even with the elder Faulkner.

The score might be a bit misleading on the Lincolns’ effort. They outshot the Rockets 20-10 in the first frame.

Strathroy goaltender and Oshawa Generals product Liam Reid stopped all 20 in the first, and 51 of 52 for the win. He would only let in a mid-third period powerplay goal when the game was already 5-0 Rockets.

The 17-year-old rookie has played 15 games so far this year, going 6-4-3 and leading the team with a .905 save percentage. Reid has faced by far the most shots in the Western Conference at 538. He has faced the third-most in the entire 25-team GOJHL and is a huge reason for the Rockets’ success.

Coming back home for Saturday night, the next competition was the top team in the conference. The London Nationals only had one loss in regulation before the bus ride to Strathroy.

This one was a much more even match, with shots 33-30 for London. Reid again did his thing in back-to-back nights.

The rest of the team bent but did not break. Down 2-0 going into the third period, the Rockets fuelled up and took off for three straight.

Dylan Richter got the game-winner with just over three minutes left in regulation. It was his team-leading 13th goal of the season and was a beauty. He caused the turnover at the red line and proceeded to blow by four of the Nationals who thought they were headed into the Rockets’ end before a sweet little move to the backhand that beat sprawled out London goalie Michael Emslie.

Strathroy’s next home game is Saturday at West Middlesex Memorial Centre versus the LaSalle Vipers, who are nipping at their heels in the standings. Puck drop is 7:30pm.

Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner