Rockies goalie Brody Nelson makes a first period stop against Creston on December 8.

Thunder Cats squeeze by Rockies

The Columbia Valley Rockies had a huge chance to overtake the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in the standings on December 8.

The Columbia Valley Rockies had a huge chance to overtake the Creston Valley Thunder Cats in the standings when the two teams faced off on Saturday, December 8, and while the Rockies fell by a score of 3-1, head coach Ross Bidinger isn’t letting his team get discouraged.

“They were obviously upset (to lose), but we fought 60 minutes and we didn’t give up,” Bidinger said.

The Rockies opened their weekend slate of games when they hosted the hapless Grand Forks Border Bruins on Friday, December 7. The Bruins lay claim to the KIJHL’s worst record having won just four games this season. Despite that, the first period was a back and forth affair, with Rockies forward Racey Red Crow scoring two goals and assisting on a third as the Rockies took a 3-2 lead into the locker room. Grand Forks turned up the offensive pressure by recording 15 shots to the Rockies eight in the second period, but each team would score and the Border Bruins faced just a one-goal deficit heading into the final stanza. That’s when Red Crow would carry the team on his back, first assisting on a goal by team-leading scorer Ryan Henderson and then completing his hat trick just a few minutes later. Grand Froks would get a goal back before the end of the game, but it wasn’t enough as the Rockies claimed a 6-4 victory. Red Crow recorded five points, three goals and two assists, and was named the game’s first star.

“He definitely had the offensive touch for sure, everything was going right,” Bidinger said.

With the win over Grand Forks, the Rockies found themselves tied with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats for fourth place in the division heading into their game against the Thunder Cats on December 8. While Creston was mired in the depths of a seven-game losing streak entering this one, they would manage to draw first blood just over two minutes into the game to put the Rockies into an early hole. Creston added to their lead on the powerplay before the period was up, and headed into intermission with a 2-0 advantage.

Creston controlled the pace of play as the second period opened, however neither team were able to  find a chink in the opposing goaltender’s armour for much of the frame.Not much was going right for the Rockies on the offensive end as they had several shots clang off the uprights, and Creston would take advantage by scoring a shorthanded goal, and the Thunder Cats held a 3-0 lead as the two teams prepared for the final frame.

The Rockies managed to get a goal back in the third, but it was as close as they would come, and they lost 3-1. Next for the Rockies was a tilt against the Golden Rockets on Tuesday, December 11. The score was not available by press time.  The Rockies next host Kimberley on December 14.