Brevard Rockets B Team wins playoff title in dramatic fashion
Members of the Brevard Rockets B Team pose with the championship trophy after coming back from deficits of 4-0 and 5-1 to win the CFHSHL playoff title in a shootout.
photo courtesy of Brevard Rockets
Things are looking up in more ways than one for the Brevard County Rockets.
Not only are more kids coming out to play high school hockey, but the Rockets’ B Team rallied from deficits of 4-0 and 5-1 to defeat the Volusia Stingrays 7-6 in a shootout that went eight players deep to win the playoff championship of the Central Florida High School Hockey League (CFHSHL).
Merritt Island’s Thomas Batchelor scored the game-winning goal and Viera goalie Dan Thew came up big in the net in what Rockets coach Randy Just would call, “One of the most thrilling hockey games I’ve ever been associated with.”
Based out of the Space Coast Iceplex in Rockledge, the Rockets are made up of high school players from throughout Brevard County along with some players from surrounding counties where hockey is not offered.
Just said when he first got involved with the team four years ago, they struggled to put together a roster of more than 15 players to form an A Team and a B Team.
This season, the Rockets had 36 players.
“The numbers have increased. The talent has increased,” Just said. “The commitment from the kids to play, play as a group and play together (has gotten better).
“We have a really good group of kids that are staying together this winter. We’ll start back up in late August, early September and they’re going to play together, which will be really helpful. Generally, when the winter months come, everybody scatters to play elsewhere.”
The A Team, which made last year’s CFHSHL finals, reached the semifinals this year before losing 5-3 to Jacksonville.
The B Team, meanwhile, was down four goals in its championship game before making its comeback.
Steven Rossi had two goals and three assists, Zach Scorer had a goal and two assists, Cody McCauley added a goal and an assist and Donovan Dininny had an assist.
Alex Snyder also had an assist and a goal as the Rockets rallied for a 6-5 lead.
Volusia tied the score and the game eventually went to a shootout where Thew made eight saves and Batchelor scored the game-winner his first goal of
Members of the Rockets’ A Team included: Jackson McVay (Melbourne); Collin Patterson (no school given); Nick Rossi (Viera); James Barrall (Edgewood); Alex Hubbard (Merritt Island); Chandler Byrd (no school given); Jason Dowden (Merritt Island); Matt Ayres (Cocoa Beach); Will Thew (Viera), Curtis Batchelor (Merritt Island); Will Patjens (Viera), Leif Erikson (FLVS) and Scotty Barnikow (FLVS).
The B Team was made up of: Thomas Batchelor (Merritt Island); Gabrielle Bice (Merritt Island); Lorenzo Bona (no school given); Anton Bucaj (IRCH); Donovan Dininny (Cocoa Beach); Sammie Hagedorn (no school given); David Kozak (Viera); McCauley (Edgewood); Cole Pittman (Merritt Island); Scorer (Edgewood); Alex Snyder (Viera); James Sorenson (Vero Beach); Steven Rossi (Viera); Hunter Stahl (St. Cloud); Marc Walker (Viera); Nick Warner (Melbourne); Ian Wertheimer (Merritt Island); Shelby Barnikow (FLVS); Elijah Rappaport (Lake Mineola) and Dan Thew (Viera).