It wasn’t quite the result they were looking for, but the Rockets played a strong, consistent game for 60 minutes plus overtime Wednesday night and earned a single point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Fernie Ghostriders.
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 5 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.
Despite maybe wanting another chance at the OT goal, Parsons was spectacular for most of the game and made several game saving stops in the third. His highlights included a fantastic save with about seven minutes remaining when a Riders’ forward was stymied by his left pad on a tight play down low.
Head coach Ty Davidson acknowledged that, while Parsons wasn’t perfect, the Rockets goaltender played a very strong game overall.
“He really held us in the game, especially in the third period. He made some incredible stops,” Davidson said.
The Ghostriders opened the scoring early with a power play goal from 6’3″ forward Dylan Robertson. Golden managed just 6 shots on net throughout the opening frame, but managed to limit the Riders to 10 of their own.
The Rockets appeared to be in a heap of trouble early in the second when Nick McCabe and Michael Anderson took penalties a minute apart, giving the Ghostriders a lengthy 5-on-3 man advantage. However, the Rockets’ penalty killers stepped up in a big way, thwarting the oppositions’ attempts to enter their zone time and again. The kill seemed to build some momentum and confidence for Davidson’s club. Golden failed to equalize on several power play opportunities of their own soon after – despite numerous opportunities – and it wasn’t until late in the second that the Rockets finally found pay dirt.
A nice hustle play from Cole Mckechney allowed him to chase down the puck ahead of a Ghostriders defenceman. McKechney fed the puck to linemate Braeden Allkins, then received a return feed in front to pot his 10th goal of the season.
“That whole line (Mckechney, Allkins and Jacob Macpherson) has been playing very well. They’re pretty much our go-to line when it comes to the offensive side of things,” said Davidson.
The tie was short lived, as the Ghostriders went ahead early in the third period on Robertson’s second power play goal of the game. During the club’s recent losing streak, this might have been the time where their game would start to crumble, but this was a more confident Rockets team and they responded just under two minutes later when defenceman Daniel Dahlin scored a power play goal from Mckechney and Macpherson.
The Rockets’ best chance at the go-ahead goal came towards the end of the third when Tanner Watt was sent in alone on Riders goaltender Austin Wells. Watt didn’t get a clean shot off, and the attempt was turned aside by Wells without too much difficulty.
Neufeld’s overtime marker sent the Rockets away without a win, but the point is still a decent result for a team that is taking steps towards getting back in the playoff race.
“Getting the one point was big for us tonight…it was a good effort for us tonight,” Davidson said.
Golden now sits 6 points behind the Columbia Valley Rockies for the final playoff spot in the Eddie Mountain Division. They’ll be back on home ice Friday night when they play host to the Kimberley Dynamiters.