In an incredibly even game, the Lacombe Rockets tied the Viking Gas Kings 3-3 last Saturday.
Coach Denver Polson said a tie is a respectable finish as the Gas Kings are one of the top teams in the league. “They were a good test for us for sure.”
He added that this outcome should give the Rockets the confidence they need for this weekend, where they will be playing teams of a lower caliber. Polson said if they can tie the Gas Kings, they should definitely do well against lesser teams.
It was a hard and fast match that saw both teams bring their A-game. Lacombe came out strong right off the bat, setting pace for the match and scoring two unanswered goals to give themselves a comfortable lead over the Gas Kings and end the period 2-0.
However, their lead would not last long. In the second period, the Gas Kings attacked with renewed fury and scored twice in the first 10 minutes to even the score.
Seemingly rattled by how quickly their lead had disappeared, Lacombe put another in the net to once again pull ahead but another Viking goal kept tied up the score once again.
Polson said he was not surprised to see the Gas Kings close the score gap. He added this was not a fault on how the Rockets played, but simply the Gas Kings being a strong team.
“They are at the top of the league for a reason. So we were expecting some push-back.”
Frustrations began to rise as the teams remained deadlocked and a tussle behind the Gas Kings’ net resulted in one Rocket player being ejected from the game and several penalty minutes being handed out on both sides. Play for the remainder of the game was somewhat chippy but did not get out of hand. Polson said he was proud of how his team kept their composure for the remainder of the game.
The third period was easily the slowest. With both teams tiring, neither could gain the upper hand despite pressure on offense and strong attacks on each net. Both goalies played superb games, with Lacombe netminder Brendan Marple stopping 34 shots to keep the Rockets in the game.
The team’s energy, initiative and work ethic were their greatest strengths in Saturday’s game, said Polson. He added it was a great improvement over the night before, where the Rockets lost to Sundre 6-1.
“The team effort wasn’t there last night,” said Polson, speaking after Saturday’s game. “Tonight the kids bought into it pretty well.”
Polson said a weak power-play is what prevented the Rockets from pulling ahead to win the game. He added that loss wasn’t so much a case of Lacombe doing anything wrong, but failing to take advantage of opportunities like power-plays.
“If we had our power-play working, we would have won that game. Our biggest downfall was making the best of our chances.”
The next home game for Lacombe is on Jan. 18 at 8:15 p.m.