The Lacombe Fountain Tire Midget Rockets managed to score their way to the Provincial semifinals in Springbank over the weekend, but ultimately lost in overtime to cap of their season.
After defeating Stettler in a three-game series to win the League Championship and also winning the the Zone 4 Championship at the Hockey Alberta Zone play-downs, the Rockets came into Provincials looking to add to their resume.
“We had a good weekend,” Coach Greg Church said. “We went 2-1-1 in the round-robin, which got us second in our pool. We made it to the semifinals and we lost in overtime.
“We ran into some injuries at the beginning of the game. Peyton Church and Brady McKinlay were both playing hurt and fell behind 1-0. We battled back and made it 3-1 and then we had a couple goals go in late to tie it up. It was about four minutes into overtime and they scored to win the game.”
Church said he couldn’t be happier with his team’s performance.
“They played phenomenal all weekend and left it all on the ice,” he said “Even though they were injured, they kept playing. They are a tough bunch of guys.”
Church said it was bittersweet seeing five of his veterans — Brady Mckinlay, Jaden Nokohoo, Peter Suominen, Tyler Beierbach and Jackson Pilote —play their last games with the Rockets
“Our captain and one of our assistants are both moving on,” Church said. “It is a happy and a sad day for them and I have coached three of those kids for around four years now. It is sad to see them go, but that is what happens.”
The Rockets will still be in good hands next year with solid group of returning veterans.
“We have a really strong core of second years moving on for next year,” he said. “I expect us to be in the same spot next year.”
Church wanted to thank the players, organizers, coaches and community members that made the Rocket’s journey to Provincials possible.
“We had a tonne of support and a tonne of sponsors that got us to Provincials,” he said. “Lacombe Minor Hockey was behind us with a lot of chatter on Twitter and Facebook. That makes you proud of your community when you are out there playing.”
He added, “I couldn’t be more proud of the boys. They left it all on the line. We had a slow start to the year and they got better and better all year. Where we finished at the end of the year — we could not have done better in my mind.”