Despite their dismal 4-35-1-2 record, the Golden Rockets have been competitive in the majority of their games throughout a difficult season. That wasn’t the case on Friday night, as the team looked overmatched from the opening puck drop in a 6-1 defeat to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
“We came out flat…there’s a lot of offensive power on Beaver Valley, they’re on the top of their division over there, and you come out flat against a team like that and they’re going to take it to you and that’s exactly what happened to us tonight,” said head coach Jason Stephens.
Just over a minute into the contest, the Nitehawks grabbed the lead when Devin Nemes put the put the puck behind Rockets netminder Owen Sikkes.
Kyle Hope added another before the period was through, and the damage could have been much worse were it not for the stellar play of Sikkes.
“I thought Owen played pretty well tonight, for a goalie to face that many shots. I think there would have been a couple he might have wanted back at most,” Stephens said.
The Nitehawks outshot the Rockets by a 21-5 count in the opening period, a total that was very indicative of the flow of the game.
The Rockets showed a bit of life to open the second and newcomer Stephen Gaughran scored his first KIJHL goal 46 seconds into the period, cleaning up a well executed 2 on 1 opportunity from forwards Jake Gudjonson and Andrew Dunn.
The Rockets played their best 10 minutes of the game afterwards, but it didn’t last.
Still 2-1 with under eight minutes to go in the second, the Nitehawks took control with a trio of goals just a handful of minutes apart to give themselves a comfortable 5-1 advantage heading into the third.
A Nitehawks empty netter completed the scoring in the third period.
The Rockets were a young team to begin the season, and having lost several veterans over the past few months to trades, they are even younger now. While that might seem like a ready-made excuse, Stephens isn’t buying it.
“I don’t accept it. As a team we have to look at our last game played, our last four games, and we’ve played pretty well. We’ve brought the energy level, we’ve brought the commitment level and we’ve worked hard. Tonight we seemed to take a night off, and we’re not a team that can afford to take a night off to be honest,” Stephens said.
Stephens will be looking for a much better effort tonight when his club hosts former captain Ian Desrosier and the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.