A 6-1 exhibition loss to the Revelstoke Grizzlies wasn’t an ideal start for the Golden Rockets. Then again, the team rolled through last year’s exhibition schedule before stumbling badly when the games started to count, so perhaps it would be a mistake to look too far into last night’s game.
The game got off to a solid start for the home team when Travis Kelley buried a loose puck around the Grizzlies’ crease. Rookie defenceman Alex Astasiewicz registered the lone assist on the goal that proved to be the Rockets’ only marker on the night. In addition to the assist, Astasiewicz made his presence felt throughout the game, but unfortunately it came at both ends of the rink. Playing alongside captain Daniel Dahlin, the soon to be 16-year old moved the puck well and showed great instincts when joining the rush, but also had a couple of costly giveaways. One of his first period turnovers lead directly to a Grizzlies goal.
“He’s trying to add things to his repertoire and he’s trying to do things…and it’s his first game in the KIJHL and maybe he’s trying to do a little too much because he’s trying to impress,” said head coach Ty Davidson.
After the 1-0 marker, it was all Grizzlies, as they scored three times in the first, once in the second and added another two in the third for a 6-1 final score.
Tuesday also marked the Rockets debut for goaltender Mitchell Privett. Overall, it was an uneven start for the California native, but he was left out to dry on more than one occasion by the team in front of him, most of whom are still just learning Davidson’s defensive system. The Grizzlies registed just 17 shots on net, but the majority of them were dangerous.
“I think he would definitely agree he wants the first one back, it kind of squeaked through him,” Davidson said. “But all the other ones, they were such glaring mistakes that I don’t know if he had much of a chance to make the saves.”
The Rockets registered a disappointing 15 shots themselves and struggled to create sustained pressure in the offensive zone. The shot total is something the Rockets will want to improve upon immediately.
“My philosophy is you want to try and get 15 shots every period,” Davidson said. “You get your 15 shots, that’s 45 shots a game…that (typically) gets you 4 goals and sometimes maybe more.”
The Rockets will look to exact a measure of revenge tonight, as they’ll travel west for a rematch against the Grizzlies. Golden will wrap up the exhibition schedule on Sunday in Fernie before opening the regular season Sept. 12 in Princeton.