The Yellowstone Quake were swept by the last-place Butte Cobras over the weekend on the road. Despite its playoff chances quickly narrowing, the team hasn’t lost hope.
“First and foremost, we want to compete,” coach Phil Oberlin said. “We’re not throwing the towel in by any means.”
On Saturday, the Cobras beat the Quake 3-2 despite Yellowstone outshooting Butte in the game.
“We just couldn’t score enough goals,” Oberlin said.
After falling behind in the second period, Tyler Cramer scored to bring the Quake within one with 13:22 still remaining.
Although they peppered Butte goalie Tommy Near with 24 shots in that final period and hit the crossbar on an attempt with 13 seconds remaining, their comeback attempt fell short.
“We just didn’t get the bounces we’d like,” Oberlin said.
Cade Rosansky also scored for the Quake and Max Jacoshenk chipped in two assists. Connor Carroll made 53 saves in net for the Quake (9-20-1).
“We couldn’t capitalize on our opportunities at all,” Carroll said.
On Friday, Butte beat the Quake 6-1.
Butte (6-21-2) scored two goals in the first, but after that the Quake defense held the Cobras scoreless until 17:24 in the third.
Aiden Croce scored the only Quake goal at 10:45 in the third.
Oberlin said although it was disappointing getting swept, he finds the Cobras much better than their record would suggest, playing to a 3-3-1 record since the holiday break.
The Quake added three new players recently, all from winning teams.
“They’re all going to make an immediate impact,” Oberlin said.
Coming over from Frontier division powerhouse Sheridan are forward Lucas Helland, and defenseman Wyatt Allan, who had three goals and three assists through 16 games with Sheridan and El Paso this year. They also picked up Robby Rabroker from Oklahoma City, who will reunite with former Oklahoma City teammate Jarret Perino and a handful of other current Quake teammates he played with in high school. Rabroker had four goals and three assists in 18 games with Oklahoma City this season.
“It’s great here,” Rabroker said. “Just putting everything on the table for that playoff push.”
Although Perino said Rabroker is already “gelling” with the team, Rabroker, a Dallas native, said getting used to the change of altitude has been a challenge.
“I’m just coughing, sucking wind,” he said with a laugh, adding the Quake has a different practice structure to compensate for the added cardio demands.
Yellowstone will stay on the road next weekend against Helena (12-15-1). The Quake’s next home series is Feb. 19-20.
“We’re maintaining the belief we can do something special here,” Oberlin said. “It helps that the teams we’re trying to catch are the teams we’re playing so we can gain ground on them. A lot of it’s in our hands, but we’re going to need a little help.”