Plenty of action on home ice this past weekend, as the Rockets played hosts for a trio of contests. When the smoke cleared, the local stars came away with two victories, before coming up on the shortend of the third game Sunday afternoon against the Kamloops Storm.
Friday, October 14th, 2022 Rockets 5 Sicamous 3
Prior to the opening face-off, the visiting Sicamous Eagles were assessed a minor penalty for a warmup infraction, allowing the Rockets to go on the powerplay from the start. And the local stars wasted little time, hitting the scoreboard at 1:28 with a Kade Cochlan shot, after being setup from linemates Nick Morin and Levi Lamotte.
The Rockets had good pressure deep in the Sicamous end for much of the opening ten minutes, at one point outshooting the visitors 9-2. Gage Reimer in the Eagles net turned away several point-blank Golden drives, sparking his team to get back in the game.
At 15:16, Sicamous tied things up at 1-1 with a Parker Fournier one-timer from the right side of the net. Before the first period ended, the Eagles moved into the lead, as Colby Agyeman tucked the puck behind Rockets’ netminder Levi Hall in a goal-mouth scramble.
Rockets would tie things up at 2-2 with the only goal of the middle stanza when, at the 12:21 mark, Dominic Fiorentino (with his 1st goal of the year) took a perfect feed from the boards at centre ice. Moving in on a breakaway down the right side of the ice, the speedy winger made a quick move and slid the puck between the pads.
Things got a bit chippy for the remainder of the frame and, with the horn sounding the end of the second period, several fights broke out in the centre ice area at the same time. The officiating crew quickly moved to separate the players involved.
As the third period got underway, (and after the plethora of penalties was assessed for the 2nd period altercations), Golden found themselves down two-men, as Sicamous enjoyed a lengthy powerplay (one of the Golden penalties was a carryover from the previous period). But with some great penalty-killing and the terrific work of Levi Hall in the net, the Rockets weathered the Eagle attack for a full five-minute duration.
But at 6:58 Sicamous managed to find the go-ahead goal on a 2-on-1 break, with Alex Smith finding the mark. That lead however, didn’t last too long when, near the midway mark, a pretty three-way passing play for the Rockets (Nathan Kaye to Jordan Lario to Liam Furlong) evened things up at 3-3.
For the remainder of the third period the play became close, with good offensive pressure at both ends of the ice. Time and again, Sicamous’ Reimer and Rockets’ Hall came up with sensational saves.
And then, with a little over one minute remaining in regulation time, the hometown crowd were brought to their feet. Captain Jordan Lario neatly knocked the puck out of the air at the Eagles blueline, hesitated a bit as he spotted a winger flying on the right side. Feeding a quick pass right to the tape of Levi Lamotte, the talented speedster found what proved to be the winner with a solid wristshot to the top corner of the net. Rockets would later add an empty-net goal by Lario to take the contest 5-3. Rockets outshot Sicamous 32-28.
Saturday, Oct. 15th, 2022 Rockets 6 Castlegar 3
It was a very balanced attack and a total team effort for the Rockets, with the scoring spread between six players, three of which hit for their 1st goal of the season. The defensive corps came up big when needed, and kept Castlegar at bay for much of the game.
All kinds of offensive pressure by Golden in the first ten minutes of this game, as the Rockets tested Castlegar netminder Ethan Lawczynski time and again early. However, it was the visitors who connected for the only goal of the opening twenty minutes, with a Daytn Kulynych shorthanded marker.
Golden came out flying once again in the middle frame, and this time the pressure paid off. Tying things up at 1-1 at the :34 second mark with a Kade Cochlan marker from the side of the net, the local stars moved into a one-goal lead at 1:26 when crafty winger Nick Morin flew past the Rebel defence on the left wing, and tucked the puck over the goalie pads to the twine.
The two clubs traded goals in the remainder of the period, with Dominic Fiorentino’s powerplay tally (assisted by Kylow Monkman and Liam Furlong) countering a Castlegar marker by Evan Lemke.
The visitors deadlocked the game briefly at the start of the final period, with Liam Wallace connecting. But it didn’t take long for the Rockets to get back on their game, as they moved into a 5-3 advantage on the strength of two quick markers off the sticks of Evan Tsadilas and Drayden Gibson (both their 1st goals of the season). Castlegar wouldn’t quit and tried to close the gap, but behind the stalwart netminding of Carson Cairns and some great defensive work by the Rockets, the visitors couldn’t connect.
Golden would add an empty-net goal (Hayden Barr’s 1st of the year) to record an impressive 6-3 win. The Rockets outshot the Rebels 38-25 and took four of the seven minor penalties called by referee Tayler Belcourt.
Sunday, Oct.16th, 2022 Kamloops 6 Rockets 3
Both of these clubs were playing their third game in three nights, but that didn’t distract from the action of the ice.
It was Kamloops who had the greater offensive push in the early minutes. Barely into the first couple of minutes, Rocket’s goalkeeper Levi Hall was called upon to make a pair of sparkling saves on Storm breakaways and came up big on both occasions.
That allowed the Rockets to grab a 2-0 lead early, with a brace of tallies in one minute. Jordan Lario got things going at 8:20 banging home a loose puck in front, while just :59 seconds later, Gavin Kennedy made a great move around the Kamloops defence, broke into the clear and tucked the puck to the back of the net. Storm’s Peyton Kelly got one of those back for the visitors at 12:24 with a neat deflection.
The contest was deadlocked at 3-3 after forty minutes. At 1:11 Jordan Lario restored the two-goal margin for the Rockets as he hit for his second of the game, on a bullet wristshot from the right wing. But Kamloops (as their name implies) came “storming” back with a Ryan Larsen shorthanded effort at 13:37 and the tying goal from Brody Johnston with just :29 seconds left in the frame.
Penalty troubles for the Rockets in the third period, as the opposition took advantage of their opportunities, scoring three unanswered goals (with a power play goal, a penalty shot tally and an empty-netter) to take an eventual 6-3 victory. Golden outshot Kamloops 34-30 in the game.
A couple of key inter-divisional matchups for the Rockets coming up next weekend. The team will host Columbia Valley Friday and travel to Creston on Saturday.