Rockets on verge of Jr. B final

STEVE GREEN, SUN MEDIA; FREE PRESS SPORTS REPORTER

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

STRATHROY -- All in all, it was a pretty good night for Sherrie Klaver.

Not only did she cash in on the 50-50 draw, splitting $805, she got to watch son Jeremy, the Strathroy Rockets captain, score twice in a 5-2 win over the Cambridge Winter Hawks last night that has the Rockets on the verge of ending a 39-year wait.

The Rockets improved to 2-1 in the three-team Sutherland Cup round-robin and clinched at least a tiebreaker game. If they win Monday night in St. Catharines -- or if Cambridge loses at home to the Falcons tonight -- the Rockets will be in their first OHA junior b championship series since 1968.

Six of the seven goals came on power plays while the seventh was short-handed into an empty net as the teams combined for 33 minor penalties in a game that was far from rough.

"With such an important game as this, emotions get so high and that's what we've really got to work on -- keeping our emotions in control," said Klaver, who scored on a pair of howitzers from the blue line. "We knew we could beat this team, but we sort of got a little ahead of ourselves to start off. They came out flying and that woke us up a bit."

Klaver isn't taking a berth in the final for granted, but he's relishing the prospect.

"This is my fourth year here and I've been through all the ups and downs. We finished dead last my first year and we've slowly climbed the ladder," he said.

"And if we get to the final, we'll be tough because we're one of those teams who just won't go away."

The Rockets also owed the win in no small part to goalie Justin Roethlingshoefer, who made 48 saves in a superb outing.

"When you're in a game like this, it can come down to a bounce here or a bounce there and we were lucky enough to get them tonight," Roethlingshoefer said. "It would be fabulous to get to the final, but we never look ahead. All we're looking for is another win Monday.''

Rockets coach Mike Bondy agreed the penalty parade made for a difficult game.

"We knew what we had to do was continue on from what we started Tuesday (a 5-4 overtime win over the Falcons), but the first period we were a bit too lax and cambridge got some chances.

"Luckily, Justin held us in there until the guys found their game and we got better as the game went on. It was a tough game to play and you really start to rely on your key guys, the special teams guys, and they came though tonight, especially on the penalty-kill."

Cambridge coach Greg Bignell was left shaking his head at some of the calls.

"They called it both ways, but I don't know what a penalty is any more. You've got two good teams out there, why not let them play? Obviously, their power play was better than ours tonight."

Joe McDonough scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the final period for Strathroy.

GAME GLANCE

Rockets 5, Winter Hawks 2

Strathroy goals: Jeremy Klaver (2), Joe McDonough, Kyle Moore, Eric Beauchamp

Cambridge goals: Jordan Bonneville, Reggie Traccitto

Next: Cambridge (1-2) finishes its Sutherland Cup round-robin tonight at home to St. Catharines (1-1). Strathroy (2-1) is at St. Catharines on Monday night.


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