If the Golden Rockets are going to make the playoffs, they’re going to need some help. A lot of it.
It was a better effort on Saturday night for the Rockets but it still wasn’t enough to get them a much needed win.
Coming off a disastrous 8-1 road loss to the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, the Rockets got off to a much better start in the second leg of the home and home between the division rivals. Ian Desrosier got things started with 5:46 left in the opening frame after he was sprung on a partial break by defenceman Daniel Dahlin. Desrosier, who centred a recently formed second line alongside Nick Hoobanoff and Jacob Macpherson, has now lit the lamp 11 times in his past 18 games after struggling to score for most of the season’s first half.
The Thunder Cats seemed to wake up in the second and before the period was seven minutes old they had taken a 2-1 lead on the back of goals by Trevor Hanna and Matti Jmaeff.
The Rockets responded on the power play a short time later when Cole Mckechney found Tanner Watt with a beautiful cross-ice feed. Golden’s leading point man made no mistake and deposited his 18th of the season into the empty net. The trio of Watt, Mckechney and Braeden Allkins, the Rockets’ top three scorers, was put together a couple of games ago.
“It’s going to stay the same. I’m trying to load all my top players on one line,” head coach Ty Davidson said.
With just under two minutes left in the second the Rockets regained the lead on a goal from Bowen Alcock after a scramble in front of Thunder Cats goalie Kyle Michalowsky’s net.
The Rockets went into the dressing room with a 3-2 lead but it looked like it could have been more after a Watt goal was questionably called back. The referee later explained to Davidson that the Rockets forward had entered the crease before the puck. It was a strange call at a crucial time in the game for the Rockets.
The Rockets had another goal called back in the third due to a high stick, a call that Davidson later confirmed was the correct one, much to the dismay of the 177 fans in attendance at the Plywood Palace.
The Thunder Cats fired 40 shots on Rockets goalie Brian Parsons throughout the game and the California native looked steady for the game’s first 50 minutes but it all came apart for Parsons and the Rockets after that.
With Allkins looking on from the sin bin, Brandon Formosa beat Parsons on the power play to tie things up with just over 10 minutes to play and the Thunder Cats went ahead for good with under two minutes left. Davidson felt both goals were ones that Parsons had to have.
“We’ve got to get a little bit better goaltending there at the end of the game,” Davidson said. “Those are two soft goals that we gotta have.”
The Rockets had an opportunity to tie things up late with a power play and an extra attacker for a 6 on 4 advantage. Rockets defenceman Coltin Berard had the best chance but his slapshot from the point was blocked in front and the Thunder Cats were able to clear the zone soon after.
With the loss the Rockets find themselves tied with the Columbia Valley Rockies with just one game to play. The Rockies still have three of their own games, including a contest tonight against the Fernie Ghostriders. If the Riders do their rivals from Golden a favour and beat the Rockies then the Rockets will have a chance to clinch a playoff spot on Friday night in their final regular season home game when the Rockies come to town. The Rockies will close out their season on Feb. 22 against the Thunder Cats.