The GOJHL Showcase isn’t always an easy place to win games.
The 2.5 hour bus trip, the far from usual game times, and the unfamiliar opponents from out of conference. Throw those all together and you’ll have to play some good hockey, against good opponents, to come away with some points. The Rockets came away with 3 of a possible 4 points on the weekend though, and continue to play good hockey to open the season.
Strathroy opened the showcase on Friday afternoon, with a 2pm game slot against the 4-0 Ayr Centennials. Brennan Faulkner opened the scoring just 7:10 into the hockey game, with linemates Caden Faulkner and Ethan Facchina picking up the assists. Ayr would even the contest not long after, but a Rockets powerplay goal would put them back out front heading to the second. Periods 2 & 3 were all Rockets. They outshot the Centennials 23-14 in the last two periods, and added 3 more goals for a 5-1 win! Caden Faulkner led the way with 2 goals and 4 points, with Brennan added 3 points of his own including a goal. Kaden Hoggarth and Ethan Facchina both had goals of their own, while Damian Pancino had two assists. Liam Reid started his 4th straight game to begin the season, and stopped 27/28 on route to the win.
A slight delay slowed the start of day 2 of the showcase, but after a 20 minute wait the Rockets and Warriors dropped the puck on Saturday morning. The Rockets fell behind out of the gate, with two Stratford goals in the first 10 minutes to take an early lead, a lead they held on to through the first period. Ethan Facchina got the Rockets on the board early in the 2nd, but it didn’t last long as Stratford scored again just over two minutes later. Facchina would add another goal midway through the 2nd, and Dylan Richter’s powerplay goal at the 13:17 mark of the period tied the game at 3! Heading to the final frame, we knew an exciting finish was on the horizon. Stratford scored just before the halfway point in the period to go up by a goal, a lead they held until the Rockets pulled the goalie and tied the game on a nifty backhand shot by Caden Faulkner with 1:37 left on the clock. Surely, overtime was on its way. But the Warriors came back down the ice a minute later and scored with 30 seconds to go, once again taking a 1 goal lead. Cue the dramatics. With the extra attacker on, the puck made its way to the Warriors end. Then a clearing attempt is knocked down in the slot by who else but Caden Faulkner, who fired it passed the goaltender to once again tie this game, with 14 seconds to spare. Overtime would solve nothing and a shootout would be needed. 7 rounds of shooters would be needed, but the Warriors would finally get the best of the Rockets in this one, 6-5 the final score.
Strathroy top performers at GOJHL Showcase:
Caden Faulkner: 4G-3A-7PTS
Brennan Faulkner: 1G-5A-6PTS
Ethan Facchina: 3G-1A-4PTS