Rockets win provincial and league titles in near-perfect season

The Redvers Rockets midget hockey team capped a near-perfect season by winning both the league and provincial titles.

The Rockets won the provincial title by defeating Edam 12-3 in the two-game, total-goal provincial midget D final. Redvers set the tone for the series by winning 6-1 in Turtleford, a game that they led 3-0 after the first period and 5-1 after two.

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They were tied 2-2 after two periods of Game 2, but then the Rockets scored four times in the third to blow out Edam in Game 2.

They also won the Moose Mountain Minor Hockey League’s midget division by defeating the Arcola-Lampman Combines in the best-of-three league final. Redvers won both games by a 4-1 score.

“Last year we won provincials, but we lost out in the league final to Carnduff,” said coach Syd Chicoine. “Our goal this year was to make it to the league final and make it to the provincial final, and we did that. And then we won both of them.”

Sixteen of the 23 players on the Rockets were there last year.

Chicoine said the Rockets had very good offence from their forwards, and strong defensive play. They also had three goaltenders, including 17-year-old netminder Zack Lees who was great at the end of the year.

The Rockets had to sit three skaters and a goalie each night, which meant a lot of line juggling on a nightly basis, but the players handled it well.

He believes their experience also helped in provincials when they faced teams they hadn’t played before.

“I think coming in we knew to expect big crowds and a lot of attention on us, and I think we could stand up to that a lot better this year than we did last year,” said Chicoine.

The team’s goal was to go into Edam and win by a few goals, but they wound up getting the five-goal advantage.

That lead eased their nerves, but they were still confident entering the game.

The Rockets went 30-0-1 between their games in league play, provincials, playoffs and tournaments.

“Going into the final game, we were still wanting to win that game to have an unbeaten year, so we were good with the series, but we wanted to win that final game,” said Chicoine.

He’s not sure if the players realize how special it was to go unbeaten during a season, but he expects they will reflect on it one day.

Fourteen players will be eligible to return next season, and with a strong contingent of talent ready to come up from the bantam team, he expects they’ll be strong again next year.

“We’ll have a lot of experience going into provincials next year, and hopefully we can go through it and bring it home again,” said Chicoine.

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