The Lacombe Midget A Rockets have had a pretty even start to their season so far as they came back from a loss first game and won their second game of the season last Friday.
On Friday the Rockets faced off against Red Deer Can Pro at Barnett Arena in a close game that ended 6-3 in favour of the Rockets. The team played hard and skated well with many shots taken and a few penalties served. Head coach Glenn Ford said that the success of the team is their stamina on the ice.
“We have a young hockey team, and right now, the strategy is strictly to outlast the other team. We have hard-skating players,” he said. “We out-work, and out-work and out-work the other team to the point where, come third period, we are coming harder and are a hard team to hit. That’s how we practice – we practice to be the team that will outlast others. The game tonight was a great show of that.”
The first period was a strong start to a well-played game. The Rockets were able to use their offense well to push the puck and hold it in their opponent’s zone. Red Deer Can Pro player Payton LaGrange scored the first goal of the game, with Lacombe Rocket Ryley Bast scoring the first Lacombe goal only two minutes after.
The battle between the offense and defensive units on either team continued.
Can Pro player Bryce LeMasurler scored a goal to take up the lead, only to be brought to a tie by Rocket Jorgen Wiebe.
Things turned to favour Lacombe in the second period. Lacombe players were able to secure the puck in the Red Deer zone for much of the game. Their defence got a little bit of a break due to the stamina and strength of the team’s offense in this period. “We skate hard. We have a skating team – a young, skating team. We work on moving the puck up the ice and winning battles. That’s our strategy,” said Ford.
Apparently stamina and persistence were the keys for Lacombe over the weekend.
The Rockets definitely succeeded in moving the puck up the ice and holding it in their opponent’s zone.
In the last 10 minutes of the second period, Lacombe players had four goals scored.
Connor Walker scored two of those goals, with Daelin Field and David Suominen also contributing to the now 6-2 lead that Lacombe held. Period two was marked by almost a dozen penalties, served almost evenly to players of both teams. LaGrange was served three penalties to match three served to Lacombe Rocket Tony Kozak.
The third period saw a number of penalties for Lacombe. Ford’s strategy for his team paid off as Red Deer Can Pro players began to skate with a loss of energy and the Rockets seemed to only push harder towards the end of the game.
Red Deer was able to secure one final goal before the end of the game.
Ford said that he looks forward to his first season of coaching with the Rockets team and that he has some plans for training.
“We’re going to focus on our conditioning this season. We are going to be known as a hard-working team that will win games and play hard in third period.”