Between Wednesday and Friday’s games, Rockets’ captain Brett DeFrias asked for a trade to his hometown team, the Kamloops Storm. According to head coach Ty Davidson, a trade will only happen if the Rockets receive fair compensation. Barring an unexpected turn of events, it appears as though DeFrias has played his final game as a Rocket and the team is now moving on without him. Look for more information to be released regarding this ongoing situation in the near future.
In Defrias’ last game, the Rockets put in a solid effort in an overtime loss last Wednesday night and edged the Kimberley Dynamiters on Friday to earn three of a possible four points at home last week.
While they weren’t rewarded with a victory in Wednesday night’s contest, the Rockets did take a point after pushing the Fernie Ghostriders to overtime.
With the game knotted at 2-2, the teams played a tight checking five minute session of 4-on-4 hockey which decided nothing. The next five minutes were scheduled for 3-on-3, which is a format that the NHL is now considering for inclusion in the regular season. With the extremely wide open ice, a goal seemed inevitable and it was the Ghostriders who scored to take the victory when Aaron Neufeld beat Rockets netminder Brian Parsons glove side from a poor angle.
Still, Davidson was pleased with what he saw.
“Getting the one point was big for us tonight…it was a good effort for us tonight,” Davidson said following the game Wednesday night.
The Rockets built on that effort Friday night when they hosted the Dynamiters. Tanner Watt opened the scoring on a first period power play when he tipped home a Nick Hoobanoff shot. Travis Kelley extended the lead for the home team with just 25 seconds left in the first and Golden had an early 2-0 advantage after 20 minutes of play.
Kimberley got to within one when Tristan Pagura scored with Bowen Alcock in the penalty box for the Rockets, but Braeden Allkins finished off some excellent puck movement with a power play goal of his own to restore the two goal advantage. Early in the third, Alcock atoned for his earlier penalty with his second goal of the season, giving the Rockets a 4-1 advantage. The Dynamiters scored another power play goal late in the third, but it was far too little and far too late for them to mount any semblance of a comeback.
“The one thing I loved about our game was how good we were defensively in our own end. It was a really great group effort…All 20 guys that dressed tonight contributed,” said Davidson after the victory.
Playing without DeFrias, the Rockets needed their defence to step up and newly named captain Michael Anderson felt the defence core did just that.
“Tonight, I think our young guys (Dustin) Watt and (Edouard) Larouche really stepped up back there and played really hard and really well…I thought the whole back end was really strong tonight,” Anderson said.
The Rockets have gained five of a possible six points since they snapped their 11 game losing streak and will look to keep the momentum going this week with a trio of road contests against two of the KIJHL’s top teams.
The Rockets will play Friday night against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, travel to Nelson for a Saturday night game with the Leafs, and then return to Creston for a Sunday afternoon game.
“Creston is a very good team and Nelson is a very good team, so it will be a good test for us to see where we are at in terms of the best teams out there,” said Anderson.