The Golden Rockets dropped both games this past weekend ending what was a rough September for the team.
Friday night’s home game was tight, but the Rocket fell 3-1 to the Spokane Braves. The Rockets led the majority of the game in shots on net, but Braves netminder Trevor Dilauro was solid in net stopping 30 of 31 shots.
“It’s frustrating for me right now as a coach, we’re playing hard but now all of a sudden we can’t get the puck in the net,” said Head Coach Jason Stephens. “That’s half the battle you got to get the puck to the net and in the net.”
Rockets netminder Canon Whitbread was equally up to the task stopping 28 of 31 shots helping his team stay in the game.
The Rockets fell behind quickly after Dawson Tritt of the Spokane Braves slipped one past Whitbread making it 1-0 for the Braves. The Rockets kept fighting and ended the first period ahead in shots.
The Rockets tied things up 2 minutes into the second period with a tip from Nick Runnalls assisted by Ryley Bast and Colt Lawson. The game quickly picked up pace with back and forth action and lots of pressure from both teams.
The Rockets fell into penalty trouble in the second period taking three minor penalties and one double minor penalty. Penalty trouble for the Rockets continued into the third period with another minor penalty making six penalties in the game while the Braves finished the night with one.
The Braves broke the 1-1 tie scoring 20 seconds into the third period with Paxton Malone slipping one passed Whitbread. Malone added an empty netter with 10 seconds remaining sealing the deal for the Braves.
While penalties seemed to be an issue for The Rockets, their penalty kill stepped up to the plate and killed all six penalties including the four minute double minor, but Stephens said their focus needs to be elsewhere.
“We can’t just be killing penalties,” Stephens said. “We need to be putting the puck in the net. That needs to be our priority.
One fan was unhappy with the referees and said he thought the referees missed too many penalties against the Rockets.
“They need to go back and referee minor hockey,” said Rusty Lawson. “It was ridiculous. Every week it’s the same.”
The struggle to score goals for the Rockets continued into Saturday’s away game in Kimberly when they were shut out 5-0.
Stephens said they will be challenging the team to step it up at practices and in every aspect as they prepare for the coming games in October.
“Now we will
regroup, reevaluate things and get ready for next weeks road trip to Grand Forks and Beaver Valley,” Stephens said.
The Rockets’ next home game will be Oct. 13 when Beaver Valley comes to town followed by Kimberly the following day.