It was a tough weekend for the Lacombe Midget Rockets, who lost to the Red Deer Baker Hughes 8-3 at game in Blackfalds on Nov. 15th.
Coach Mike Kozak said in the first two periods of the game, Lacombe wasn’t playing as hard as they could have.
“They just weren’t playing with the intensity that we requested and to play this game you have to play at a certain level of intensity.”
As far as skill and talent, the two teams were closely matched.
However, Lacombe was missing some players and Red Deer wore the Rockets down and tired them out. As the game went on, Red Deer gained more control of the game and the Rockets saw fewer scoring chances.
The third period was the exception to this trend. After being scoreless in the first 40 minutes of the game, allowing Red Deer to gain a 4-0 lead, Lacombe came out flying in the third, scoring in the first play of the period and again in within two minutes.
Unfortunately, Lacombe’s comeback was short lived. While they played better in the third, they did not have the stamina to keep up with the Red Deer bench.
Red Deer managed four more goals in the third. Lacombe managed to get the last word in, scoring the final goal of the game with five minutes left, but losing the game by the large margin of 8-3.
Kozak said he was happy with how the team played in the final period of the game. He said it was good to see the team come back and play harder even if they couldn’t catch up.
“There were a lot of good things to come out of that third period. We played a lot better than we did in the first and second even though we were shorthanded.”
Lacombe goalie Brenden Marple was upset by the high-scoring game, becoming more frustrated with each goal. However, Kozak said little of the blame was Marple’s to bear.
“He played well, he didn’t let in any goals that he shouldn’t have let in,” said Kozak.
Saturday’s game was the third consecutive loss for the Rockets after beginning the regular season with a two game win streak.
Kozak said a short bench due to injuries and a few players even playing while injured were responsible for the slump.
Things didn’t get better for the Rockets Saturday either. Red Deer had no problems tiring out the Lacombe team and the Rockets lost another player, their captain, halfway through the second period.
Kozak added that the incomplete roster has meant players have been juggled and some are playing in positions they are not familiar with. He said that things should shape up once the team is back to full strength and the team has a chance to regroup.
Things did begin to start improving by the end of the weekend.
On Sunday, Lacombe had a game against another Red Deer team and tied them at three.
Kozak said the Midget Rockets are made up of mostly younger players this season and has only one third year midget on the roster.
He said that a lot of players are still gaining confidence playing this level of hockey, especially when it comes to the physical game.
While he said hitting is something the team will work on to help them build that confidence, Kozak said some things come with time and he isn’t concerned about it as a problem.
“As they get that confidence they will get more comfortable.”