Rockets head coach Ty Davidson has employed an aggressive two man forecheck all season but rarely has that strategy been executed as well as it was Friday night. The forecheck was just one of the many things that the Rockets emphasized in practice this week after a disappointing 7-2 loss last Saturday against the Nelson Leafs.
“Pretty much this whole week was all dedicated to defence, finishing checks, forecheck, d-zone, all that stuff and I think the win is a by-product of that tonight,” said Davidson following the game.
The work in practice paid immediate dividends when Tanner Watt found the back of the net behind Eagles goaltender Chris Turner just 1:19 into the first period. Darien Head responded for Sicamous late in the first to tie the game but Golden wasn’t content to go into the intermission tied. In the dying seconds of the period, after the Eagles had an opportunity to clear the puck from their own zone but turned it over instead, Daniel Dahlin fired a shot that Turner failed to handle cleanly.The puck fell directly behind the Eagles’ netminder and a mad scramble ensued in the crease. Ian Desrosier managed to fire the puck across the line to give the Rockets the lead.
It didn’t take long for Golden to extend its lead in the second. Desrosier potted his second less than two minutes into the period to put the team up 3-1. That’s when Davidson’s team hit a bit of a lull, and despite the early marker the Rockets coach wasn’t pleased with the second frame.
“I didn’t like the second period from the get-go. I thought we lacked energy and for whatever reason we came out really flat,” Davidson said.
Taking advantage of the flat footed Rockets, the Eagles closed the gap to just a goal with about 16 minutes left in the second and tied it a minute and a half into the third with a power play marker.
That seemed to be the wake-up call that Golden needed.
Just minutes after the Eagles tied it Cole Mckechney broke away from the Sicamous defence. Mckechney was denied on his first attempt, but stuck with the play and stuffed the puck past Turner to give the Rockets a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. Nick Hoobanoff was credited with an assist on the play, his fourth of the night.
The forecheck was the biggest catalyst for the Rockets’ solid offensive output as the club’s aggressive attack lead to numerous turnovers from the Eagles defencemen, who were repeatedly denied opportunities to clear the zone.
It was a win that the Rockets badly needed, and with Columbia Valley’s overtime loss to the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, the Rockets sit just six points out of a playoff spot with two games in hand on their Eddie Mountain Division rivals.
The Rockets will finish up their weekend tonight with a home game against the Fernie Ghostriders.