Rockets head coach Ty Davidson isn’t one to be satisfied with a loss, and that’s surely not the case here. But what was satisfying for Davidson was seeing his tired team fight its way back from a 4-0 deficit before eventually succumbing to a strong Osoyoos Coyotes team by a 6-3 score. It was the fatigued club’s sixth game in nine days.
“I thought we had a pretty good effort just to stay in the game,” Davidson said. “If we were a little fresher, with a little more gas in the tank, I think we would have fared much better. I give our guys a lot of credit.”
Coming off a two-game sweep of the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, the Rockets were brought back down to earth in a hurry against the Coyotes on Saturday. The Coyotes forced an early turnover, leading to a Jackson DeMatos goal and a quick 1-0 deficit for the Rockets after just over a minute of play.
In similar fashion the ‘Yotes scored an early goal in the second period before adding two more to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
“Obviously you try and keep it positive so they don’t get down on the bench,” captain Daniel Dahlin said about the deficit. “You try and turn anything into a positive.”
The fourth goal came on a breakaway after Rockets forward Tanner Witt had his shot blocked in offensive zone.
Witt would atone for that mistake on the very next shift when he buried a play that was started by Riley Barnes.
The goal seemed to give the home team some life and exactly two minutes later the Rockets took another bite out of the Coyotes’ lead.
With five and a half to play in the second, Nick Hoobanoff streamed down the right wing, hesitated for a moment and found a fast charging Zack Finlay alone in front of the Coyotes net. The impressive KIJHL rookie made no mistake and fired the puck into a wide open Coyotes net.
Soon after, Osoyoos came perilously close to seeing their lead shrink to one when Rockets leading scorer Braeden Allkins narrowly missed putting home a one timer from the top of the crease late in the third.
The Rockets had another slow start in the third period, but goaltender Mitchell Privett held the Coyotes at bay until a shorthanded marker from Rainer Glimpel restored his team’s three goal lead. The goal wasn’t without some controversy, as Glimpel appeared to re-direct the puck into the Rockets’ net with his skate. The referee judged that it wasn’t a kicking motion and the goal stood.
Tre Mason brought Golden back to within one with his first goal in a Rockets uniform, but Colten Braid put the game away for good for the Coyotes with a power play goal of his own.
Golden can take some consolation out of the fact that Osoyoos has been running over all of their opponents so far this season, including an 11-0 defeat of the North Okanagan Knights in their season opener last week. In fact, the game against Golden was the closest contest they’ve had so far.
Davidson’s group will finally have a chance to take a breather this week before they host the defending KIJHL champion Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Friday night.