It was probably a little too close for comfort, but at the end of the day, the Rockets took care of business with a 4-3 win over the North Okanagan Knights.
The Knights came into the game with the KIJHL’s worst record but they gave the Rockets all they could handle in front of a spirited crowd at the Plywood Palace.
“I love the fact that we never quit, and we always come from behind but at some point we have to put 60 minute efforts together,” said Rockets coach Ty Davidson. “No disrespect to North Okanagan, but they’re not one of the better teams in the league. They’ve struggled right from the get go, and that’s a team that we should have an easy night off (against) to be honest.”
The Knights got on the board first when Austin Fournier slipped one past Rockets goaltender Magnus Viberg. With six and a half to play in the first, Cole Mckechney, who supplied the heroics for Golden a night earlier, tied things up with the help of his linemates Tanner Watt and Ian Desrosier.
Matthew Krusky scored his first goal as a Rocket early in the second with Braeden Allkins parked in front of the net and providing the screen.
“He’s good at (getting in front of the net),” Davidson said about Allkins. “He’s very good at deflecting pucks.”
At that point, the Rockets got themselves into some penalty trouble. While the club killed off the first few penalties with ease, Logan Geefs eventually got the tying goal when he slid one past Viberg from a sharp angle. It was probably one the Rockets’ steady netminder would like to have back.
It was the power play that struck again for the Knights early in the third, as Jordan Passmore found twine for a 3-2 Okanagan lead.
The deficit seemed to finally wake the Rockets out of their slumber, and it was Mckechney who knotted things up with his third goal in the past two games.
The big centreman picked off a dangerous Knights pass to send himself in alone against goaltender Mitch Profeit. Mckechney faked left before firing the puck home on the near side.
With Allkins once again parked in front of the net and Golden a man up, Rockets defenceman Brennan Fuoco got the puck through traffic. Allkins skillfully tipped it home to give Golden its second, and what turned out to be final, lead of the game.
There were few, if any, scoring chances for North Okanagan as time ran out as Golden took its second win in as many nights.
The Rockets will be back on the ice tomorrow afternoon for a road matchup with the Columbia Valley Rockies. Puck drop is at 1:00 p.m. in Invermere. Look for Viberg to get the start again, as the Rockets have been without a bonafide backup goaltender since Mitchell Privett left the team earlier this month.
Davidson said a deal was just about completed to bring in a goaltender that, according to him, will push Viberg for playing time going forward and give the Rockets a reliable duo in net.