Each weekend when the puck drops at centre ice, the Rockets staff can feel secure that regardless of who is in goal for the club, odds are they are going to get a goaltending performance that will give them a chance to win.
17 year old Jordan Reynolds, and 15 year old Cole Demers have provided the Rockets with a solid one-two punch in goal all season. In fact, the duo seems to be gaining steam as the Rockets push towards another long playoff run.
"You can't win without solid goaltending" said Rockets general manager David Michaud. "We saw that first hand last year with our talent laden team, we still needed Brendan Barry to be a rock for us in the league finals, and especially in Red Deer. We don't get to the Telus Cup without some tremendous playoff goaltending."
Post Telus Cup, when Barry secured a commitment from the Penticton Vees, Michaud turned his attention to Reynolds to provide the Rockets with the solid experience that a 17 year old can offer a midget club. "
From Reid Kilburn, to Brendan Mills before him, the Rockets have had a steady dose of 17 year old leadership from the back end. Reynolds appears to be no exception.
Through 28 games, Reynolds was 3rd in the league in wins and had an overall record of 10-4-0 with a 2.54 GAA and .906 sv %.
Pushing Reynolds all season long has been 15 year old Cole Demers. At this point in the season, it's safe to say that Dermers has created a 1-A / 1-B scenario for Rockets head coach Simon Ferguson to deal with on a weekly basis.
"There is no doubt we viewed Cole as the back up where we could pick and choose some starts for him throughout the year and sort of groom him for next year." said Ferguson. "all the credit in the world goes to Cole because he just keeps working hard and playing very well for us, it's hard not to put him in the net right now."
Demers earned his first BCMML shutout on Saturday in Nelson and is coming off a solid appearance at the KIMMT event in Kelowna where he was named the Coast Capri Division's All-Star goalie.
Demers also has tremendous numbers, going 9-3-2 and with a 2.32 and a .915 sv %.
For Michaud, it's very reminiscent of last season where Brendan Barry scooped the starting role from the older Kilburn in advance of the playoffs and never looked back en route to a Telus Cup appearance.
"Cole has done exactly what you want the 2nd goalie in any tandem to do, and that is push for more and more minutes. I'd be lying if I said that I expected the two goalies to be sharing time at this point in the season, but Cole has made it virtually impossible for Simon to pass him over for starts right now."
During the 2013-2014 championship season, the Rockets could literally score their way out of trouble as they averaged over 5.5 goals per game. This year, scoring down by 2 goals per game. In fact, the Rockets are on pace to score their lowest total in 5 seasons.
Despite the downward trend in goals for, the Rockets are getting in done in a different manner this year. The 2014-2015 Rockets are pace to challenge the club record for the fewest goals allowed in a season, and if that record is to be broken, there is little doubt that both Reynolds and Demers will play a big part in that achievement.
"For teams to have ultimate success, it usually begins from the net out" said Michaud. "I love that we have two guy's we can count on to give us a chance to win each night, that is a great feeling."
For Reynolds, in his final year of midget eligibility, the Rockets have provided him a chance to showcase himself to the BCHL, and earn affiliate status with the West Kelowna Warriors. Reynolds has made the most of the opportunity as he notched his first career shutout in his first career start against Merritt a couple of weeks back.
Demers, listed by the WHL's Prince George Cougars is taking things slow and deciding on what path is going to best for him long-term. There is little question of the buzz he has created for himself with top-notch performances at the Mac's and KIMMT.
Whomever Simon Ferguson gives the nod to on the opening night of the playoffs, the Rockets can feel secure. For now, it's up to both goaltenders to push each other and continue giving the Rockets a chance to win game in and game out.