Tuesday, Jan.17th, 2023 Rockets 4 Creston 3
Mid-January, and still every club in the tough Eddie Mountain Division is above the .500 mark in win percentage. Quite a feat, and a great indication of the high-calibre play on the ice.
With only a scant three weeks to go in the regular season schedule, teams in each division of the KIJHL will be jockeying for positions going into the post-season. Tuesday’s key matchup at the Plywood Palace was a nail-biter to the end, as the local stars came away with a 4-3 win.
It didn’t take long for the Rockets to get things going. Just :37 seconds into the game, Golden speedster Kade Cochlan did some great work digging the puck out of the corner, and fed a pass to Ethan Aebly (KIJHL’s top scoring defenceman) at the blueline. Ethan fired a knee-high drive towards Creston goalie Jacob Burnside. But before the ThunderCat netminder was set, Rocket’s Captain Jordan Lario skillfully knocked down the puck in mid-air, made a quick move to the right and tucked it into the net low to the right side.
The lead held until 7:15 when Creston’s Blake Anderson was left all alone at the side of the Golden cage, banging home a rebound. In the final two minutes of the opening period, the visitors turned on the pressure. Levi Hall came up huge in the Rockets net, with a pair of fine saves from point-blank range.
In the middle period, Creston took the lead early at 1:19 on a Reece Nelson goal, a lead which held until the midway mark. Six minutes into the period, Golden’s Liam Furlong worked his way through the ThunderCat skaters with an impressive end-to-end rush, but Burnside was equal to the task.
The Rockets would regain the lead before the end of the frame. At 11:50, after some great forechecking deep in the Creston end, Brydon Foster slid a perfect pass from the corner to lanky Kylow Monkman, who picked up the puck on the right side and sent a wristshot high under the crossbar. With two minutes left, Rocket’s Levi Hall kept the scored tied, turning aside Blake Anderson on a breakaway.
Then, with just :39 seconds remaining in the second period and a face-off just outside the TCat blueline, slick centreman Hayden Barr drew the puck back to Nathan Kaye along the boards, who spotted Nick Morin all alone on the left wing. The smooth-skating Morin cruised in and found the back of the net with a quick shot on the short side.
In the final period, Blake Anderson (leading the Creston attack all night) tied things at 3-3 with his 2nd goal of the game at 9:29. At 13:54, Rockets Brydon Foster nearly connected shorthanded with another of his patented up-ice rushes, but was robbed by Burnside.
At 18:35 Golden’s Ethan Aebly and Alex Johnson combined to setup Kylow Monkman for his second tally of the contest. Kylow, playing great hockey of late, replied with a blistering shot from the right wing, which was in-and-out of the Creston cage in an instant. After a brief conference the officiating crew ruled the drive did indeed enter the net, and proved to be the eventual winner.
Final score was 4-3. Rockets outshot Creston 40-36.
Rockets will be in yet another key divisional contest this Saturday, tangling with the Dynamiters in Kimberley.