Never one to mince words, Rockets head coach Ty Davidson was rather blunt when asked what he thought of his team’s effort on Friday night.
“Horrible. It was our worst effort of the year, not even close. That includes preseason,” he said of the club’s 4-1 loss to the visiting Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
Davidson gave full marks to the opposition for a well played road game, but it’s clear he felt the game was there for the taking if the Rockets played up to their capabilities.
Truth is, it had the look of a long night from the opening face-off.
An innocent looking rush into the Rockets’ zone ended with an early goal for the NItehawks after forward Mitch Foyle fired one past goalie Mitchell Privett just over a minute into the game. While the shot came from some distance out, it was a fantastic wrister that gave Privett little chance on the glove hand side.
The early goal continued a troubling trend of slow starts for the Rockets entering a period after they surrendered a pair of early goals in last Saturday’s loss to the Osoyoos Coyotes.
“To me we weren’t ready to go, we weren’t competing, we weren’t jumping on pucks, we weren’t moving like we have…our feet were in sand all night,” Davidson said. “I just don’t think we were mentally ready to go as a group, so that’s my job to address that.”
The period didn’t get much better from there, as a seeing-eye shot through traffic from defenceman Lyle Frank made it 2-0 for Beaver Valley while a big Privett rebound allowed Tyler Hartman to cash in with just under three minutes remaining in the opening twenty.
Golden managed just a handful of shots and were badly in need of a spark going into the second.
A big hit by defenceman Tre Mason seemed to give them that spark late in the period. A couple minutes later Allkins made a beautiful move around a Nitehawks defenseman to free himself up for a chance. Hawks tender Carson Schamerhorn made the initial stop, but the rebound went right to Nick Hoobanoff and the Canal Flats native buried the rebound to narrow the Beaver Valley lead.
With time ticking down on the period it looked like the Rockets might have some reason for optimism going into the third.
However, a brutal giveaway from behind the Rockets’ net went into the slot to Hawks forward Tyler Hartman who one timed the errant pass home to restore his team’s three goal cushion.
“That was a big goal for sure,” said Beaver Valley coach Terry Jones. “Once they got that momentum from their goal you know you have to respond quickly…it was a big play at a big time for us.”
The third period had just a handful of chances for either side, with Beaver Valley continuing to stifle the Rockets’ attack with stout defending. A scoreless frame sent the Rockets to a second straight three goal defeat.
The one positive for Golden was the line centred by Zack Finlay which again contributed a goal and looked dangerous on numerous other occasions.
“(Finlay and Hoobanoff) are pretty quick and they see the ice really well. When there’s an opening they usually hit it,” Allkins offered when asked about his line’s success.
A lack of secondary scoring has been evident so far this season. Ian Desrosier leads all Golden forwards beyond the top line with two points (both goals) in seven games.
Help should be on the way, however, as last year’s co-leading scorer (along with Allkins) Tanner Watt is set to return to the club shortly. Watt produced 18 goals and 23 assists a year ago, production the club could surely use once again.
The Rockets will have to get back on the horse immediately as they’ll travel to Fernie for a game tonight against the Ghostriders, who are off to a fast 4-1 start this season.