For most of Friday night’s contest against the Kimberley Dynamiters it appeared as though the Golden Rockets were poised to extend their season-long winning streak to four and go into Saturday’s game against Columbia Valley with all kinds of momentum. Unfortunately for Golden, a couple of defensive breakdowns (along with some bad bounces) led to a pair of Dynamiters goals and a 2-1 home loss for the Rockets.
Just before the eight minute mark of the first period, with the team’s fourth line on the ice, the Rockets drew first blood. Some gritty work down low by Travis Kelley and newcomer Jay Sidhu allowed them to get Coltin Berard the puck with a crowded shooting lane in front of him. The veteran’s slapshot found its way through a maze of Rockets and Dynamiters for his fifth goal of the season and a 1-0 Rockets lead. With an assist, Sidhu was awarded his first point in a Rockets uniform in his fourth game.
Less than a minute later Berard found himself in a similar situation and once again he let it rip from the point. This time, however, Berard’s shot rang squarely off the crossbar and it remained a one-goal game by the slimmest of margins.
From there the Eddie Mountain Division rivals gave each other a very limited number of opportunities and the shot clock read just 14-11 in favour of the Rockets after two periods of play.
As is usually the case when the Dynamiters are in town, there were plenty of extra-curricular activities in between whistles and some borderline hits during play as well.
“We’re aware (of the nature of these games) because they seem to be chippy. I don’t think we’re a chippy team,” Rockets head coach Ty Davidson said. “We don’t make too much of a big deal out of it other than we want to stay disciplined and let them get involved in that stuff.”
Dynamiters defenceman Darren Martin was sent to the sin bin for head contact late in the first and Berard was given the roughest holding penalty you’ll ever see when he flattened a Dynamiter forward midway through the second period. All in all, the Rockets took five penalties while the Dynamiters took three in a game that likely left players from both teams with a few more cuts and bruises than usual.
Perhaps battered and bruised from the first 40 minutes of play, the Rockets seemed to take their foot off the gas momentarily in the second and it cost them.
A couple of strange bounces in front led to a Jason Richter goal just under six minutes into the third period and Martin put Kimberley in front with just over eight minutes to play in regulation.
The Rockets had a few opportunities to tie it in the late stages of the third and they put tons of pressure on the Dynamiters with their own net empty but they couldn’t manage to get anything past Dynamiters goaltender Jeremy Mousseau.
It was a disappointing result that was made easier by the fact that the Columbia Valley Rockies also lost, leaving the Rockets two points back of the Rockies with two games in hand. They’ll have a chance to even things up Saturday night in Invermere.
If Davidson’s club is going to pass the Rockies and make the playoffs, they’ll need to improve their play on the road which has been nothing short of disastrous so far this season.
“We’ve gotta find ways to win on the road. I don’t know if there is one thing or a couple things that we gotta do differently,” Davidson said. “We’ve gotta find a way when we get on that bus to do a better job and get some points.”
The Rockets have a 2-16-1-0 record away from the Plywood Palace this season. Their next four games, as well as seven of their next nine, will be played away from home.