On Friday night, Rockets head coach Ty Davidson opined that he’d be shocked if defenceman Alex Astasiewicz wasn’t playing for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL next season. After a pair of goals in the Rockets’ 8-4 win – one of which was of the “did he really do that?” variety – the 16 year-old might just be ready now.
That’s a bit of hyperbole, as there is still plenty for him to learn in the KIJHL, but Astasiewicz seems to be coming into his own over the past couple weeks and his immense talent is becoming increasingly obvious every night.
The game last night against the Fernie Ghostriders was still very much in the balance when Astasiewicz broke down the right wing and found himself up against his former teammate, defenceman Dustin Watt.
“I saw it was Watt our former teammate there. I just put it around him and the puck was kind of wobbling but I just shot it and it went far side…it made it look pretty good” Astasiewicz said of the play.
The highlight reel goal only made it 4-2, but it had the look of a dagger for a Fernie team that’s been stricken with a flu bug and played without several regulars.
The Rockets scored three more unanswered in the third, two of which came from James Gaume, before the Ghostriders could muster a response. Gaume’s goal with just under 13 minutes left gave the rookie forward a hat trick. Gaume, who moved up a line for the injured Tanner Watt, looked very comfortable once again with linemates Ian Desrosier and Cole Mckenchney, who each had 4 point nights.
“It’s a lot of fun playing with those guys,” Gaume said. “They gave me two tap-ins tonight and I was just lucky enough to bang in the hat trick.”
The Riders managed to score a pair of late goals, which sandwiched a shorthanded effort from Desrosier, to make the score a little closer.
A night after the club got down early and could never fully recover, the Rockets got off to a flying start in the first with goals from Travis Kelley and Astasiewicz.
“We did a lot of good things tonight, we scored some goals and played some pretty good defence,” Davidson said. “Our object was to be a lot quicker out of the gates for sure.”
A Fernie power play goal cut the early lead in half, but Gaume responded soon after with his first of what would eventually become a banner night.
Riders forward Cole Keebler scored a late goal to keep the Rockets on edge heading into the second. From there, Astasiewicz and Gaume took matters into their own hands, helping deliver an important two points for the Rockets against first-place Fernie. It was the Riders’ third loss of the season, with two having come against Golden.
The Rockets will finish off their homestand this afttenoon when they host the Summerland Steam. A win would put them into a three-way tie for first in the Eddie Mountain Division, albeit with some extra games played compared to both Kimberley and Fernie.