The Rockets didn’t get the results they wanted over the weekend, but it was a much stronger effort by the fourth place club than in recent weeks.
“The boys played the way I want them to play. We played hard both games,” said head coach Ty Davidson.
Up against the division-leading Fernie Ghostriders, the Rockets suffered 5-3 and 2-1 defeats in the home and home series.
On Friday the Rockets jumped out to a two goal lead on the strength of second period scores from Braeden Allkins and Tanner Wit. The lead was short-lived, however, as Spencer Bender scored twice and Evan Reid added another for Fernie before the period was through.
Wit notched his second of the game to even the score just over five minutes into the third. That set up Riders sniper Doan Smith to tally the winner with just under eight minutes to play. Ex-Rocket Dustin Watt, who moved from Golden to Fernie during training camp, earned a measure of revenge against his former club with an insurance marker late in the period to cap the scoring.
Mark Becica tallied 33 saves on 38 shots in the loss.
The Rockets produced another solid performance the following night, but once again it wasn’t enough.
Magnus Viberg made 20 saves on 22 shots as the Rockets outshot their division rivals but had trouble solving Riders netminder Jeff Orser.
Jason Yan got Fernie on the board in the second period but Cole Mckechney sent the teams to the dressing room on even terms with a power play goal.
Smith was the hero once again for Fernie when he beat Viberg with just under 12 minutes to play in the final frame.
Outside of the Rockets’ 9-0 thumping of the Grand Forks Border Bruins last weekend, the club has scored just 6 goals across its other four previous games, a drought that will need to end sooner rather than later as the team heads towards the playoffs.
“To me it’s been a bit of a concern this whole year,” Davidson said, who tinkered with a few different line combinations on Saturday but left his powerhouse top line of Mckechney, Tanner Watt and Ian Desrosier intact.
“Hopefully some guys will get hot here. I still think at times we’re a little bit of a one line team unfortunately.”
The Rockets will be at home against Columbia Valley and Creston Valley next weekend as the regular season begins to wind down. The club has clinched a playoff spot in the Eddie Mountain Division, with only seeding left to be determined.