By Bromley Chamberlain
It wasn’t the start the team was looking for.
The Rimbey Rock kicked off the Heritage Junior Hockey League season the first weekend of October with back-to-back losses.
The Rock played on Oct. 1 against the Strathmore Wheatland Kings and lost 6-5; on Oct. 2 the Rock lost to the Okotoks Bisons 9-2.
“I think the boys played hard both games. The boys got emotionally involved in that. They took a couple of bad penalties and our emotions got the better of us,” said coach Darren May.
“We played a little too individualistic and not as much as a team in that first one,” May said.
In the second game, against the Bisons, one of the best teams in the league, May thinks the team played well.
When the team started losing they didn’t quit. They fought every minute until the game was over. With the Bisons scoring three goals a period, the Rock soon fell behind. With only 18 shots on the opposing team’s net, Rimbey didn’t have a chance, especially when the Okotoks Bisons ended the game with 88 shots on net.
“The one thing about the shots that is a little deceiving is that they (the Okotoks Bisons) controlled the puck a lot but our boys kept them to the outside. Of the 88 shots, they weren’t quality shots. They still had to be stopped by the goalie and all that, but they were kept to the outside,” May said.
He didn’t have a bad thing to say about any of his players.
“It was a better game than what the shots indicated, from our standpoint anyway. In the second game we were over-matched. The boys, I thought, played really hard. I couldn’t fault them too much. I thought they played really good in our end,” May commented. “They played a good game. Even though we were out-played, quite hard, we had a lot of chances. We broke then down through the neutral zone.”
The Rock’s goalies played an amazing game on Oct. 3 and May thinks they were outstanding.
“Both Jarren Nickle and Robert McGuinness, our two goalies, played great. I think you’ve got to single them out,” May said.
Justin Lawson took four penalties in the second game of the season but his coach says that is to be expected.
“He was stuck playing in a position that he’s not use to playing. He’s trying to do a little bit too much. Even though he took four penalties, he played a really strong game. The penalties were penalties. No trouble with that. I thought that we got railroaded a little bit. The other team was doing the same thing and they weren’t getting called on it. The penalties were skewed a little bit,” May said.
Next up… the Rock will go after their first win of the season Saturday, Oct. 16 at 8:30 p.m. when they face the Medicine Hat Cubs at Rimbey Arena.