Saturday, February 5th, 2022 Rockets 6 Fernie 5
Comeback game of the year for the Golden Rockets Saturday night at the Plywood Palace, as they tangled with the visiting Fernie Ghostriders. At one point, it appeared the southern centre had good control of the game (with a 3-goal lead) deep into the third period. But the local stars regrouped, and came storming back in a huge way (much to the delight of Rocket fans) to eventually record an exciting 6-5 victory in a player shootout.
The first ten minutes of the opening period were very close-checking, with few scoring opportunities. Shortly afterwards, the Rockets found themselves down two men, taking a pair of minor penalties within :15 seconds. But a great penalty-kill kept the Riders powerplay mainly to the boards, allowing only a single shot on goal.
Fernie did manage to hit the scoreboard first however, at 13:50, when Kyle Klein’s low snapshot from the point found the bottom corner. That lead grew to 2-0 just a minute later as Kolby Hennessy finished off a neat tic-tac-toe play.
Rockets began to push back a little through the final five minutes of the frame, and the pressure paid off at 19:59, when a shot from the perimeter was neatly deflected in front by Connor Funke on the powerplay. The first period ended 2-1.
While late period goals are often “momentum changers”, at the start of the middle session it was the visitors who swarmed the Golden end of the ice. Some sensational netminding and highlight reel saves by Rocket’s Levi Hall kept the score at 2-1.
Golden managed to deadlock the game at 2-2 at the 9:21 mark when, from a clean draw from the face-off by Henry Loewen, Zac Siudy’s wristshot soared through a maze of players in front, to find the back of the net.
The Ghostriders restored the lead just one minute later, and then added another at 13:42 to open a 4-2 margin. Both goals (off the sticks of Liam Samycia and Dayton Nelson) came with heavy traffic in front of the Golden net.
In the final period, the Riders lengthened the lead to 5-2 early ( at 2:34), as Kolby Hennessy hit for his second of the game, banging home a loose puck at the side of the cage. For the next ten minutes, Fernie applied great pressure, and the Rockets found themselves defending much of the time.
At the 12:40 mark of the period, Rocket’s Assistant Coach Ethan Maertens-Poole called for a time-out to get his charges refocussed, and the move paid off in a huge way.
It was a mere ten seconds after the time-out that Nathan Kaye got Golden back into the game at 5-3. That goal sent a definitive spark through the Rocket bench, as the club began to pepper Dylan LaCroix in the Fernie net with shot after shot.
The score held until 17:46 when Fernie took a minor penalty. At this point, the Rockets pulled their netminder to get a 6-to-4 man advantage.
With just over one minute left in regulation time, at 18:52, Kade Cochlan’s marker brought Golden to within one goal at 5-4.
After the subsequent face-off at centre-ice, the Rockets controlled the play and once again pulled the goaltender. Pressure deep in the Fernie end brought the hometown crowd to its feet when, at 19:35, Jordan Lario’s quick shot along the ice got behind LaCroix to deadlock the contest at 5-5, sending it to overtime.
In the extra session, both netminders came up big on several occasions to keep the score tied.
In the player shootout, it was perhaps very fitting that the Rocket’s crafty forward and first star of the game Henry Loewen (who collected no less than four assists in the contest) struck for the game-winning tally with a smooth deke and a cool backhand shot under the crossbar, bringing the fans to their feet once again.
Final score was 6-5. Fernie outshot Golden 45-41.
Sunday, February 6th, 2022 Columbia Valley 8 Rockets 3
With the regular season winding down, Columbia Valley continue to battle Kimberley to maintain their position atop the standings in the Eddie Mountain Division and, with each game bringing them closer to that goal, the Rockies are getting into high gear. That was certainly evident on Sunday afternoon in Invermere.
Holding period leads of 3-1 and 6-2, they rolled to an eventual 8-3 win, outshooting Golden 51-22 while while keeping the Rockets off-balance for most of the game.
Columbia Valley showed their diversity in this one, scoring four goals even-strength, 3 goals on the powerplay and one goal shorthanded. Rockets replied with a single goal in each period off the sticks of Will Vernon (15th of the season), Austin Angus (3rd of the year) and Connor Funke (9th of the campaign).
Golden entertains the Creston ThunderCats at home on Tuesday, Feb. 8th. The Rocket’s final home game of the regular season will be Saturday, February 12th when the Ghostriders are back in town.