We are three games into the KIJHL season and the Golden Rockets are the only one of the league’s 20 clubs that has yet to register a win.
A tick in the win column never looked to be in the cards for last night’s home contest against the Castlegar Rebels. The visitors scored the opening goal of the game less than four minutes into the first period and were more or less on cruise control from there, eventually coasting to a straightforward 4-0 win.
Scoring continues to be a primary concern for first-year head coach Jason Stephens and his staff, the Rockets having mustered just four goals across their opening three games.
“I think we’ve just been struggling…I don’t know where everyone’s head’s at but we just can’t put the puck in the net,” said assistant coach Jay LaRoy.
“Things are coming along better with our forwards and our defence, but we’re just not quite there yet.”
Golden managed precious few legitimate scoring chances in the opening frame and sprinkled just a handful of serious opportunities throughout the final 40 minutes. Rebels goaltender Logan Sawka, playing in his first KIJHL game, had to make just 23 saves for the shutout.
“We’ve just gotta have more drive to win. It seems like we’re all playing out there and just going through the motions…we’ve gotta get back to the simple game and just work hard,” Desrosier said.
“We can make excuses about how the chemistry isn’t there yet but at the end of the day it comes down to whether or not you win or lose and we haven’t won a game yet.”
Last year’s edition of the Rockets generated the bulk of their scoring chances off of odd-man rushes, something that simply hasn’t happened across the opening three games of 2015/16.
“I think right now we’re just a little off on our passing. We just need to settle down. It seems like we’re getting a little nervous with the puck,” Desrosier said.
“That’s our biggest fault right now.”
Bright spots weren’t aplenty for the Rockets, but goaltender Chandler Billinghurst was among them, making 36 saves on 40 shots in the one-sided affair.
“Billinghurst has been holding us in…goaltending here this year isn’t our weak spot,” LaRoy said.
Rookie Jake Gudjonson also performed well on the Rockets’ top line and defenceman Kyran Karol made several impact plays, including a well-timed slide that broke up a dangerous Rebels 2-on-1 in the third.
The road to a first victory won’t get any easier for the Rockets next weekend, as they’ll receive visits from a pair of Eddie Mountain Division powerhouses. The Fernie Ghostriders will be in town for a Friday night matchup while the defending KIJHL champion Kimberley Dynamiters will visit on Sunday.