Brevard Rockets claim fall season hockey championship


Members of the Brevard Rockets pose on the ice at Amway Arena after beating the Volusia Stingrays 9-0 to claim the Central Florida High School Hockey League fall season championship.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of Kristy Patjens

The Brevard Rockets are champions once again.

Following an unbeaten regular season, the Rockets defeated the Volusia Stingrays 9-0 last month to win the Central Florida High School Hockey League (CFHSHL) championship for the fall season.

It’s the second consecutive fall season title for the Rockets, who also won the B Team championship in the spring.

“We played very well,” Rockets coach Randy Just said. “We had been off, obviously, for the holidays and had sporadic practices, so as a coaching staff, we were a little concerned how the boys would react.

“But we played great. It was a great game from our goalies to our defense to our forwards. Our first line scored in the first 30 seconds to set the tone.”

Nick Rossi scored that first goal on an assist from Ryan Just and would finish with three goals for the hat trick on the night.

Ryan Just had a goal to go with four assists.

Steven Rossi would score twice for the Rockets and Zach Scorer, Lorenzo Bona and Will Thew each scored once.

Goalies Elijah Rappaport and Dan Thew combined for the shutout.

The Rockets, who are based out of the Space Coast Iceplex in Rockledge, are made up of high school players from throughout Brevard County along with some players from surrounding areas where hockey is not offered.

This year’s team featured 11 players from Viera High School: Nick Rossi; Steven Rossi; Ryan Just; Dan Thew; William Thew; James Barrall; Tyler King; David Kozak; Will Patjens III; Alex Snyder and Marc Walker.

Other team members included: Thomas Batchelor (Merritt Island); Ethan Brass (Rockledge); Bona (Vero Beach); Jason Dowden (Merritt Island); Rappaport (Lake Minneola); Scorer (Edgewood) and Nick  Warner (Melbourne).

The top seed in the tournament after going 8-0 in the regular season, the Rockets actually got a bye into the championship game when one of the four teams that qualified pulled out. The title game was played at  Amway Arena, home to the Orlando Solar Bears of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).

Rockets players got to watch the Solar Bears beat the Jacksonville Icemen 3-1 that day before taking the ice themselves.

“It was a great thrill for the kids,” Randy Just said. “It was good for them to get out on the ice and skate out there.”

Although the Rockets are the league champions, their fall season is not over … yet.

The team is playing an extended schedule with games running through the end of this month.

Randy Just said he was looking to set up a few contests in the Miami area and the team is heading to the Boston/Providence area during Presidents Day Weekend. The Rockets will play two games on Feb. 17 and two more on Feb. 18 before returning home.

Earlier this season, the Rockets made a similar tip to St. Louis.

“The kids are looking forward to it,” Randy Just said of the team’s upcoming travel plans. “We had a great St. Louis trip. We went 2-1-1 and not only did the kids play good hockey — it’s nice to play other teams and see other hockey out there — but it was good for the camaraderie. It brought the team together and they had a good time.

“We’re looking for a good trip in February as well.”