With a roster turnover of all but one player, the Okanagan Rockets knew repeating as B.C. Major Midget League champs would be a tall order.
On Saturday night, the Rockets saw their 2014-15 campaign for a second straight title come to an abrupt halt with a 2-0 loss to the Greater Vancouver Canadians.
The Canadians, who won a triple overtime marathon on Friday night at CNC, claimed the best-of-three first round series in straight games.
GV goaltender Matteo Paler-Chow was a big part of the story, stopping 92 of 94 shots, including 43 for the shutout on Saturday.
It was the quickest end to a Rockets’ season since 2012.
With 19 new players and a first-year head coach in Simon Ferguson, it was difficult for the Rockets to gauge exactly what expectations as defending champs should be.
“It’s always tough to see your season come to an end,” said general manager David Michaud. “That final buzzer goes and it’s just over. “It’s disappointing because I thought we deserved better fate, especially in Game 2, but you have to give credit where it is due, and the Canadians rode their hot goaltending and capitalized on their chances.
“But there is no question this one stings.”
On paper, the Rockets are eligible to return as many as 13 players from this year’s squad. That alone gives Michaud reason for optimism moving forward.
“The one thing about last year’s group, was the fact that we had a core group that had lost together. Nothing quite brings a group together like losing,” he said.
“There were and awful lot of wet eyes in the dressing room after the game, so I’m hopeful we have forged a core group that can push us back to the top next season.”