The Golden Rockets ended the month of January without a win after a narrow 4-3 overtime defeat at the hands of the Spokane Braves.
Playing a rare inter-division game, the Rockets fought back from 1-0 and 2-1 to hold a slim 3-2 lead leading into the the third period but were unable to hang on for the win, settling for an single point in overtime.
“It’s never easy. We’re in the position where we’re at because we haven’t scored a lot of goals. For us to score three tonight in the second period was a good step, but you definitely hate to give one up in overtime,” head coach Jason Stephens said.
With the Rockets trailing 1-0, Andrew Dunn got the scoring started for Golden when he tipped home a Travis Kelley blast from the point. The slick tip-in goal gave Dunn his 6th on the season.
“I saw him lining up for the shot so I just skated as hard as I could to the net to try and get a screen and it happened to hit my stick,” Dunn said.
The Braves regained the lead with a power play goal of their own towards the end of the second, but Golden managed to notch a pair before the end of the second frame.
Newcomer Stephen Gaughran got the Rockets’ second power play goal with a blast through a screen and Ryder Prue gave Golden its first lead with a snipe of his own, this one clanging off the bar and beating Braves netminder Blake Norman.
Rockets goaltender Keyon Bittner held off a late second period flurry from Spokane, but the Braves didn’t take long to grab the tying goal in the third, as Paxton Malone scored his 11th of the season just over three minutes in.
The teams traded chances from there, with the Rockets holding an 8-7 third period shot advantage, but neither club could break the tie.
A turnover in overtime led to an odd man rush for Spokane and Kyle Donaldson gave his team the win with his third of the season.
“We got two guys caught down low there and they came up 3 on 2. That was a good shot to beat Keyon just underneath the crossbar. It’s a crappy way to lose a game, but at the same time to get the point and compete the way we did, it was a good game overall,” Stephens said.
The Rockets managed a 33-31 shot advantage in a losing cause.
Just eight games remain for Golden in what continues to be a trying rebuilding season. Their next game is on Feb. 2 when they’ll take on the Columbia Valley Rockies in Invermere.