If his players weren’t competing and working hard, then head coach Ryan Huska would have a much bigger reason for concern.
As it is, the Kelowna Rockets current six-game losing streak comes down more to mental errors being made by a young team than a lack of effort.
“I think when we had our slow start last year, we just didn’t have much compete from our guys, but this year is quite different,” said Huska. “The guys are playing hard, they’re just making the kinds of mistakes that are costing us games. It’s a situation where they’re learning as they go, so we just have to make sure we keep building and clean up those areas that are costing us.”
On Friday night in Victoria, the Rockets had a number of breakdowns in surrendering a 5-2 lead to the Royals, eventually losing the game 7-5.
On Saturday, too many trips to the penalty box was the culprit in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Royals. Then on Sunday in Kamloops, a couple of defensive miscues by Kelowna led directly to goals and 3-2 Blazers win.
“I thought in six of the nine periods were were pretty good,” Huska said of his team’s three-game weekend. “But right now we’re finding ways to lose instead of ways to win. It a different thing each night.”
On the upside for the Rockets is the parity that once again exists in the B.C. Division.
Even after earning just one point in the last six games, Kelowna is just two points out of third and five away from second spot.
Still, it doesn’t making losing games any more palatable for the head coach.
“We knew our division was going to be tight again,” Huska said. “The challenge right now is to make sure this (losing) doesn’t keep building on us. We need take care of the areas that are costing us and not dig a hole for ourselves.”
The Rockets have run into some injury trouble of late with four players sidelined: Kevin Smith (shoulder), Tyrell Goulbourne (lower body) and Jessey Astles (head) all missed Sunday’s game in Kamloops. Brett Bulmer remains with the Minnesota Wild.
The Rockets (3-5-1-0) return to action Thursday night when they host the Vancouver Giants.