Travis Kelley (left) and Tony Festa battle for the puck against Trevor Van Steinburg of the Kimberley Dynamiters Saturday night.

Rockets still searching for first win

Despite a competitive weekend against the top team in the KIJHL, the Rockets couldn't find an elusive first victory of the season.

The Golden Rockets remain winless.

That’s the harsh reality after a pair of weekend losses to the Kimberley Dynamiters.

The good news for Jason Stephens’ squad is that they didn’t look out of place while sharing the ice with the defending champions, earning a point in a 5-4 OT defeat on Friday night in Kimberley before falling 5-2 at home a night later. All told, it wasn’t a terrible weekend result against a veteran team that now boasts a sparkling 11-1-0-2 record across its 14 games.

The Rockets could have earned even better results if they had played a full 60 minutes of hockey and been able to build on the leads they had in each game.

On Friday, Golden jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after goals from Tanner Wit and Kyle Rosolowski less than six minutes into the opening frame. The Dynamiters found their stride late in the first and squared the contest at two goals apiece before the close of the period.

The Rockets, not deterred by the sluggish end to the period, went up by a pair once again after power play markers from Terix Fischer-Kobes and Mathew Thiessen in the second.

Frustratingly for Golden, the Dynamiters had an answer yet again.

Jordan Busch brought the home team to within one before Eric Buckley took the wind out of Golden’s sails with a power play goal with just over three minutes to play in regulation.

During the 4-on-4 portion of overtime Justin Meier put an end to Golden’s hopes for a maiden victory when he beat Rockets goaltender Brody Nelson for the winner.

A night later the Rockets again jumped out to a 2-0 lead courtesy of Wit and Thiessen. That was the end of the scoring for Golden, however, and the Dynamiters again had an answer for Nelson, who played another solid game in the Rockets net.

Altogether the Dynamiters managed five goals from five different players on their way to the 5-2 win.

“It was a little bit of a lack of effort in the third period. The first two periods we seemed to really battle and in the third we just backed off a notch. Against a team like Kimberley, you back off an inch and they’re going to take a mile,” Stephens said.

The losses drop the Rockets’ record to a miserable 0-11-0-1. While there is some obvious frustration in the team’s locker room, the Rockets’ captain maintains that the players still have a positive attitude.

“It’s frustrating trying to get one. We’re one step closer and we just gotta play 60 minutes. We’re trying to keep it light, trying to keep it positive. The minute you get negative you just break down and everything goes astray,” Wit said.

One of several areas where the Rockets still need to improve is on the power play. While they managed three goals over the course of the two games, their play with the man advantage left a lot to be desired, especially on Saturday.

“It’s something we’ve been working on and working on. I don’t  know what it is but we’ve gotta figure out something that works for us as a group. We’ve tried different combinations and different D-pairings. We struggle to get out of our own end with the puck,” Stephens lamented.

If they can shore up that area of the game and get some of their many injured bodies back in the lineup, the Rockets will have a good chance to grab their first win of the season next weekend against either the 100 Mile House Wranglers or the Columbia Valley Rockies. The Rockies currently sit seven points clear of the Rockets for the final playoff spot in the Eddie Mountain Division.