The Rockets kicked off their six game home stand with a 2-2 tie against Connor Beauchemin and the Castlegar Rebels Friday night but lost to the Nelson Leafs a night later by a lopsided score of 7-2.
Against the Rebels the first two periods didn’t lack for decent scoring chances but neither team could find the back of the net. The teams traded power play opportunities in the first but neither opportunity bore any fruit as both goaltender Brian Parsons for the Rockets and Nick Rabbitt for the Rebels stood tall.
David Larouche finally broke through for the home side with a goal just 26 seconds into the third period. Nick McCabe and Bowen Alcock drew assists on the newly formed line.
The lead was short lived. Just 30 seconds later the Rebels responded when Diego Bartlett pushed one past Parsons just moments after the California native had made a big save to keep the Rockets in front.
Another recently formed trio made a statement of their own for Ty Davidson’s squad when Ian Desrosier beat Rabbitt. Desrosier played on a line with Tanner Watt and Nick Hoobanoff. Davidson was understandably pleased with what he saw from both of these new lines.
“I guess it makes me look good,” Davidson joked. “You’re always trying to mix and match and make your lineup nice and balanced but also as potent as possible, and for us it worked at least for those two lines tonight.”
The response from the Rebels wasn’t as swift on this occasion, but it was equally as effective. With Cole Mckechney in the penalty box for tripping, the Rebels’ power play scored the tying goal with just under six minutes to play thanks to a blistering shot from defenceman Aaron Brewer.
There were some fantastic opportunities for both sides to get the victory throughout the overtime period including a partial break for Desrosier during the 3 on 3 portion of OT that was turned aside by Rabbitt.
With under a minute remaining in overtime, Davidson unknowingly took a rather significant gamble when he pulled Parsons for an extra attacker with the face-off in the Rebels’ zone. On the surface it seemed like a reasonable move, as both a tie and an overtime loss would give the Rockets a single point. According to KIJHL rules, however, if a team pulls its goalie in overtime, it forfeits its right to an overtime loss should their opponent score into the empty net. Davidson was asked following the game whether he knew what the rule was and wasn’t sure. It was a blunder that didn’t end up costing the Rockets in an otherwise well coached game from Golden’s bench boss.
Rockets netminder Brian Parsons stopped 31 of the 33 shots he faced, which included four saves in overtime to preserve the tie. For the Rebels, Nate Rabbitt made 35 saves on 37 shots including five in the overtime session.
On Saturday the Rockets were outmatched against a Nelson team that sits 36 points above Golden in the standings. It didn’t take long for the Leafs to show that their record was no fluke, as Jamie Vlanich and Linden Horswill both scored in the game’s opening 15 minutes. Jacob Coehlo cut the lead in half for the Rockets but that was as close as they would come the rest of the night. Horswill scored his second goal of the game nine minutes into the second period and it was all downhill from there. The Leafs scored three more times before the end of the period, including Vlanich’s second of the game, to give themselves an extremely comfortable 6-1 cushion after 40 minutes. Michael Anderson made things a little more respectable for the Rockets with a power play goal early in the third, but Vlanich completed the hat trick with just a minute and a half left in the game to complete the 7-2 thrashing.
While Davidson acknowledged that the Leafs represented some extremely difficult competition, he wasn’t entirely pleased with the effort from his team.
“[The effort] was very so-so. It’s very frustrating with our group that we can’t seem to string multiple games together. We played a great game last night but tonight, for the greater part of the second period I don’t know where we were,” Davidson said.
The Rockets will be back on the ice Friday night when the Sicamous Eagles come to town, which will be followed by a Saturday night home game against the Fernie Ghostriders.