Try as they might the Rockets couldn’t manage to recover from a sluggish opening 40 minutes, eventually falling to the Kimberley Dynamiters by a 4-3 score.
“We got away from our game plan tonight. Our game plan was to really pound their defence and we got into a track meet with a track star team,” said head coach Ty Davidson after the loss.
With the Rockets playing in their first of three home games this weekend, it was the visitors who opened the scoring with a power play goal from Jason Richter, who had the look of the best player on the ice for either team. A Dynamiter point shot was stopped by Rockets goalie Magnus Viberg, but the rebound went to a waiting Richter who buried the chance into the open cage.
Viberg was outstanding despite allowing four goals and kept the Rockets alive and breathing throughout the first two periods.
Ian Desrosier continued his assault on the league’s scoresheets with a goal just a few moments later. The Rockets’ leading goal scorer was left alone in front and buried a one-timer from linemate Cole Mckechney, who has similarly been on fire since Tanner Watt returned to the lineup.
From there, the Dynamiters took over for the better part of a period and a half.
When the first two periods were complete, the Rockets found themselves in a 4-1 hole. Richter continued to play a starring role, contributing an assist on the Dynamiters’ next three goals to give himself a four point night.
The Rockets didn’t go away easily, however, and Desrosier, “stuck” on nine goals for the entirety of the second period, managed to get his total to double digits early in the third.
After a sloppy turnover in the Dynamiters’ zone, Daniel Dahlin fed Mckechney who found his linemate Desrosier to narrow the gap to two.
The goal put the Golden native just two back of the league lead, which is held in part by Josh McCulloch of the Rockets’ Saturday night opponent, the Fernie Ghostriders. Desrosier is only four goals away from tying the mark he put up all of last season.
“I think just the extra year you build up your confidence. Our line with Tanner (Watt) and Cole…we’ve just been clicking,” Desrosier explained.
The Rockets showed a lot more jump from there, and the comeback attempt was fully on when defenceman Alex Astasiewicz rushed up ice into the Dynamiters zone and dished a beautiful cross-ice pass to James Gaume for a highlight-reel goal.
It was a good indication of the talent that Astasiewicz possesses. The rookie has looked increasingly comfortable on KIJHL ice over the past several games and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by Davidson.
“I think it’s safe to say that he will be in Everett next year. I’d be very shocked to see him back in Junior A or Junior B,” Davidson said of Astasiewicz, who was drafted by the WHL’s Silvertips in the 3rd round of the 2013 Bantam Draft.
Gaume was playing on the Rockets’ second line in place of an injured Watt and didn’t look out of place. Watt expects to return to the lineup tonight.
The Rockets pressed for the equalizer late in the third but Kimberley goaltender Tyson Brouwer was up to the task and preserved the 4-3 win for the visitors.
Some questionable calls both from the linesman and the referee seemed to go against the Rockets and didn’t help Golden’s cause. A rather blatant high stick on Astasiewicz in the third was particularly upsetting for the 201 fans in attendance. Davidson elected not to comment on the officiating after the game.
The Rockets will look to get off to a better start tonight when they host the Fernie Ghostirders. Fernie continues to lead the Eddie Mountain Division with a sparkling 9-1-0-1 record. Their OT loss, however, came at the hands of the Rockets during a wild 7-6 game two weeks ago.