Rockets goaltender Magnus Viberg couldn’t remember the last time he posted a shutout.
“It’s been a while. It’s not something I usually get,” he said.
It hadn’t happened across a season and a half of play in the KIJHL, a span of 38 games. That is, until Saturday night.
Viberg was a perfect 42 for 42 against the Spokane Braves, allowing the Rockets to cruise to a convincing 6-0 victory, their second in as many nights.
Nick Hoobanoff got the festivities underway early with a power play goal, his first since November 1st.
The game remained tied through one, but not for long.
At the tail end of a shift, Braeden Allkins fed teammate Tanner Wit with a delicious cross-ice pass. Wit had little trouble buying the pass behind Braves goaltender Trevor Dilauro for a 2-0 Rockets lead.
Zack Finlay and Nic Noseworthy later added goals of their own to give the home team a commanding 4-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.
The Braves’ shot count escalated with 18 more in the third period, but few were of the high-end variety and Viberg was only called on to make a handful of solid stops down the stretch.
“Most of my shots tonight were all from further out, even if they were in the slot I could see them from a mile away. They did a great job of boxing everybody out…they were a huge part of it,” Viberg said of the defence in front of him.
With 7:42 remaining, Ryan Turner knocked the monkey off his back when he registered his first goal of the season while shorthanded. Allkins later fed Tanner Watt for a breakaway goal, with the Rockets forward going backhand shelf in what turned out to be the final goal of the night for either club.
There were a lot of positives for Golden, not surprising given the final score, but chief among them was the penalty kill, which turned aside several Braves’ power plays with ease.
“Our penalty kill, if you look at it in the last ten games, it’s been spectacular,” Head Coach Ty Davidson said. “We’ve done a really good job of pressuring teams and reacting. We’ve got out system down to the letter.”
Golden won’t have any time to rest after their most lopsided victory of the season. They’ll be back on the ice tomorrow afternoon when the Kelowna Chiefs pay them a visit.
It’s a confident group that will take on the Chiefs, and one that has gotten progressively better as the season has wore on.
“This team hasn’t come on in spurts, it’s been a gradual build…we’ve really earned our confidence,” Davidson said.