Lacombe’s Midget A Rockets have started off the season with a win.
At their season opener on Oct. 4, the Rockets defeated the Sylvan Lake Lakers 4-2 to claim their first victory of the season.
Coach Denver Polson said a win is great, but the Rockets still have a lot of team-building to do as the season progresses.
“At the start of the year, you’re only just trying to figure out who all the kids are and try to get some chemistry between them,” said Polson.
“So you’re not too worried or getting too serious about the x’s and the o’s. A win is a win, it’s nice but the goal right now is just to build some chemistry.”
This year’s Midget team has quite a blend of first-year rookies, second-year veterans and third-year veterans, said Polson. So, building team chemistry will be important for them to work well together.
Friday’s game started off slowly for both teams, but not so slow that the Rockets didn’t manage to score two goals. Sylvan Lake also managed a goal, ending the period 2-1 in favour of Lacombe.
Polson said that Lacombe had excellent forechecking on Saturday night that allowed them to stay in control of the game. He reiterated that the team has a lot of work to do in all areas but if he had to pick a strength from Saturday’s game it would be the aggressive forecheck.
In the second period, things continued much the same. Aside from a Rockets goal seconds into the period, not a lot happened in the first half of the second. About halfway through the period though, things on the ice started to get a little heated, with both teams starting to move a little faster and get a little more physical.
Of the two teams, Sylvan Lake was a lot less reluctant to use the body during the game and hard hits from the Lakers seemed to shake a frustrate Lacombe’s players a few times. Polson said hitting is not something he will focus on in particular with the Rockets, but said hitting certainly has a place in hockey.
“We want the puck,” said Polson. “(Sometimes) you have to hit in order to get the puck.”
By the third period, the pace of the game had really picked up. Tempers on both sides also flared, with both teams more and more eager to throw their bodies around.
A few scuffles broke out behind the nets after the whistle, the last of which ended with #14 Landon Knight of the Lacombe Rockets being ejected from the game with only a few short minutes left.
Keeping control of the puck and staying aggressive seemed to be major factors in the Rockets win on Saturday. Polson said Lacombe out-maneuvered, out-shot and of course, out-scored Sylvan Lake to take the win at the end of the night.
While puck-possession was a strength for Lacombe this weekend, Polson said he wants to work with the team more in that aspect. He said he wants the Rockets to be setting up plays once they do get the puck rather than getting control of the puck just to get rid of it again.