After a tough stretch during a pair of high profile events, the Okanagan Rockets are hoping for more as the club enters the stretch drive of the 2014-2015 regular season, and the chance to defend their BCMML title in the upcoming playoffs.
The Rockets went a combined 2-7-0 during both the Mac's and KIMMT tournaments, not typical for a club that has been accustomed to winning over the past few seasons.
Despite the struggles, general manager David Michaud was taking a glass half full approach. "I thought our play during KIMMT was far improved over our effort in Calgary. I think if we can continue on the same track as we get back to league play, we aren't going to be very fun to play against."
The Rockets put together one of their best performances against the always tough Saskatoon Contacts during KIMMT and were rewarded with a big victory. "It was a big win for our group and the best part about the win was the fact that we had full buy in from all 20 players" said first year head coach Simon Ferguson. "Saskatoon had a very potent line and I thought that we elevated our play and won the lion share of the one on one battles during that game, for us to have success, that is the way we need to play."
The Rockets first BCMML test come this weekend in Nelson against the Kootenay Ice.
Despite the fact that the Rockets have historically dominated the Ice, the club knows that they can't look past the Ice who have given teams fits all season. "They are a very hard working club and that can be frustrating to play against" said Michaud. "We have to stay focused and stick our plan regardless of what the Ice do."
The Rockets took a pair of games from the Ice back in late October winning by scores of 6-0 and 8-2. The Rockets in fact have taken 13 straight from the Ice dating all the way back to October of 2011.
With just 14 games remaining in the Rockets schedule, there is plenty of time to fine tune things and get headed in the right direction maintains Ferguson. "The key our players have to realize is that we can't just say the playoffs are here so let's start doing things the right way, we have to have the right habits now, so when the puck drops for real in March, we are ready to roll."
Games can be seen on pay per view this weekend at www.playfullscreen.com