Nick Hoobanoff set the tone with a couple of thunderous hits on the opening shift while Braeden Allkins and Zack Finlay contributed three points apiece in the Rockets convincing 5-2 win over the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Thursday night in Golden.
Not to be forgotten was the game-breaking goal that Ian Desrosier scored in the third.
With the Rockets shorthanded and hanging on to a slim 3-2 third period lead, Desrosier stole a puck and went in alone against Thunder Cats goalie Olivier Charest. The Golden native deked to his left and finished strong on his backhand to extend the Rockets’ lead and take the wind out of Creston’s sails.
“Ian’s been here a long time and he knows what I expect,” said head coach Ty Davidson. “He’s got extremely good speed, he’s very gritty…he showed it there by breaking free and putting it away for us.”
Outside of Desrosier, it was the Allkins and Finlay show offensively. Oozing chemistry from the drop of the puck, and benefiting from some physical play from linemate Hoobanoff, the duo dazzled on numerous occasions including a wonderful passing play that gave the Rockets a 2-1 advantage late in the first.
At 17 years old and entering his third full season with the Rockets, Allkins is making it clear that this could be his year to really take his game to the next level.
“I think he’s going to be getting points almost every night,” said head coach Ty Davidson. “Every time he touches the puck he’s dangerous. He has great vision and his hands are incredible.”
In net, Mitchell Privett faced just 25 shots but had to be sharp on numerous occasions, including saves on a pair of breakaways during the second period that kept the Rockets in front. Privett finally relented the Cats’ tying goal late in the second, but James Gaume put the home team back in front with Spencer Gerth and Daniel Dahlin contributing the assists.
Playing in front of their home fans for the first time this season, the Rockets played a physical brand of hockey that was all too often absent from their game a year ago. In addition to Hoobanoff, Dahlin and Gerth stood out for their physical play throughout the game.
“The one thing about our group this year is that we have a little more sandpaper than our team last year,” Davidson. “I think we skate well, therefore we get there a little bit quicker to deliver some of those hits.”
With the win the Rockets moved to 2-1-0-1 on the young season, good enough for top spot in the Eddie Mountain Division (with other teams holding a few games in hand). They’ll have a rematch against the Thunder Cats tonight in Creston before hosting the Osooyoos Coyotes on Saturday.