The Rockets’ post-holiday schedule is off to a rocky start after a pair of road losses to the Spokane Braves and the Eddie Mountain division-leading Fernie Ghostriders.
The game against Spokane was a particularly tough one to swallow, as Golden had a win in its sights before it was snatched away in the dying moments.
The Braves got on the board first when Dillon Bogart beat Rockets netminder Mark Becica with an early goal. Becica would prove to have a busy night in front of the Rockets’ cage while facing 48 shots.
Golden responded in the next frame when Braeden Allkins tied the score. Nick Hoobanoff and Matthew Krusky provided the helpers.
After a low-scoring opening 40, the third proved to be a wild one.
Tyler Wilkerson restored the lead for the Braves, but it would be short lived.
Cole Mckechney and Ian Desrosier scored a pair of goals three and a half minutes apart and suddenly Golden had its first lead of the hockey game with just minutes left to play.
Unfortunately for the Rockets, a win was not in the cards. And neither was an overtime loss.
The Braves first tied the game with just under two minutes to play courtesy of forward Justin Loepker, who picked an opportune time to notch his first career KIJHL goal.
Just 33 seconds later, Bogart tallied his second of the night to put Spokane ahead for good, by a 4-3 final score.
Perhaps still licking their wounds from the night before, the Rockets went down quietly the next night against Fernie.
Goaltender Magnus Viberg got the call and, like Becica, was exceptionally busy, facing a total of 51 shots on the evening.
Joel Burgess got the Riders an early lead with just over four minutes gone in the first period and the game settled into a goaltender’s duel from there, with Viberg making 38 saves on 39 shots through two periods.
The floodgates finally opened late in the third period and it was the Rockets who were the victims of the onslaught.
Tayler Sincennes, Evan Reid and Justin Peers tallied a trio of goals 68 seconds apart for the Riders to put the game out of reach. Aaron Neufeld added a capper in the dying seconds for a 5-0 Fernie win and the Rockets’ second loss in as many nights.
The winless weekend proved costly in the standings, as the Kimberley Dynamiters took full advantage with a pair of dominant victories over basement-dwelling Columbia Valley. The Dynamiters now hold second place in the division, one point clear of the Rockets.
That will make Saturday’s home matchup against the Dynamiters all the more important as the Rockets look to regain second place. Before that, Golden will host the Princeton Posse in their first home date since Christmas.