The Rockets closed the books on a difficult January with a pair of losses to division rivals over the weekend. The back to back home defeats left Golden with a dismal 2-8 record since the start of 2015 and has all but guaranteed them a first round date with division powerhouse Fernie once the playoffs begin later this month. Encouragingly, the Rockets outshot their opponents across both games, but once again failed to finish on too many opportunities.
“We’re outplaying teams…but we are not being rewarded. We are having a tough time putting the puck in the net and it’s not for a lack of chances, we just aren’t finishing the plays,” said head coach Ty Davidson.
Golden 1, Columbia Valley Rockies 3
Friday’s date against the last place Columbia Valley Rockies would have seemed like a good opportunity for the Rockets to bust out of their January slide, but their Highway 95 rivals had other plans.
After a scoreless opening two periods where goaltender Mark Becica stopped all 16 shots he faced, Ian Desrosier notched his team-leading 30th of the season 12 seconds into the third to give Golden a 1-0 advantage.
The lead evaporated in the span of three minutes midway through the period when Randy Teeple, Kale Johnston and Dario Piva beat Becica to give the Rockies a commanding 3-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Becica ended up making 27 saves on 30 shots in a losing cause.
Golden 2, Creston Valley 4
The Rockets scored first again a night later with the Thunder in town. Braeden Allkins tallied a power play goal just under halfway through the first, but what proved to be the Rockets’ lone lead of the game ended less than a minute later when Thunder forward Carson Cartwright scored his first of three on the night.
Cartwright got number two 11 minutes into the second but the Rockets found the equalizer before the end of the period courtesy of Tanner Watt.
Cartwright completed the hat trick with the game winner with under 7 minutes to play and Connor Kidd added insurance for Creston with five minutes left. The Rockets outshot the Thunder Cats by a 34-23 count, with Magnus Viberg making 19 out of 23 saves for Golden.
The Rockets have five games left in the regular season to pull out of their funk, with home dates against the Grand Forks Border Bruins and Creston scheduled for this weekend. They’ll wrap up the regular season on Feb. 15 and Davidson is hoping his club can build momentum before the games start to really count.
“It is important that we play well and get some wins under our belt and get some positivity going,” he said.