A rough week for the Columbia Valley Rockies ended with a 9-4 loss to the Sicamous Eagles on Sunday February 12, in a game that was much closer than the score suggests.
The busy four-game week began when the Rockies took on division rivals the Golden Rockets in Invermere on February 7. In what was a relatively low scoring affair, the Rockets piled on 50 shots in a 3-1 defeat for the Rockies.
Goalie Bruce Corrigal had a strong game, stopping 47 of those shots. But the Rockies’ offence deserted them when they needed it most, as Todd Sykes scored the lone goal for the Rockies in the third period.
The Rockies also gave up nine powerplay opportunities in a game that kicked off a stretch of four games in six days for the Rockies.
Next, the Rockies visited the Eddie Mountain division’s second place team in the Kimberley Dynamiters on February 10, in the first game of a home-and-home set.
After a scoreless first period the Dynamiters’ offence exploded in the second, scoring early and often to take a 4-1 lead into the third.
The third period was much of the same, as the Dynamiters piled on three more goals en-route to a 7-2 win.
The Rockies then hosted the Dynamiters the next night in Invermere, only to fall by a similar 9-3 score.
The Rockies actually scored the first goal in this one, a marker from Josh Haley two minutes in, but the Dynamiters responded with three goals of their own before the period was up.
The Rockies again opened the second period strong featuring a goal from Jayson Cannell to make the score 3-2, and continued their strong play with another goal in the frame to enter the third trailing 5-3.
However, the Dynamiters scored four more goals in the period to put this one to bed.
Dynamiters forward Richard Hubscher recorded five points on the night to give him 101 for the season, briefly making him tops in the league, though he was overtaken Sunday afternoon by Beaver Valley forward Chris Derochie, after a four point effort gave him 102 points with two games remaining in the season.
Finally, the Rockies played host to the Sicamous Eagles on February 12 in the Rockies second last home game of the season.
The first period was a largely forgettable one for the Rockies, who allowed two quick goals before a streaking Joe Colborne netted his 11th of the year on a nice pass from the corner from Sykes.
The Eagles were quick to respond however, when minutes later a turnover in the neutral zone led to a Eagles player getting by a defender and putting one home to make it 3-1 headed into the second.
The second period started fast and furious when off the opening draw, the Eagles pushed it up ice and promptly scored just 11 seconds into the period.
Not to be outdone, the Rockies responded just 24 seconds later when Orri Haman’s one timer from Cannell made it 4-2.
The rest of the frame was very much a back-and-forth affair, with each team scoring another goal, including one from Rockies forward Damon Raven on a breakaway.
All signs pointed to another thrilling finish, when early in the third period Cannell came streaking down the left wing and made a beautiful move to deke out the goalie, leaving him with an empty net to put home the puck.
With the score 5-4, the Rockies nearly equalized a number of times, but a back-breaking goal just over five minutes later completely demoralized the Rockies, who gave up three more goals before the end of the game.
“We gave up,” coach Marc Ward said. “It was 5-4 and we were playing well, and they scored to make it 6-4 and we gave up, we started cutting corners and gave them the game… the frustration is boiling over and it’s really affecting the way we play.”
“I thought we played a good second period, but we had a bit of a let down in the third,” Rockies forward Todd Sykes said. “(We need to work on our) determination, that drive to tie up the game.”
The Rockies have only two more games left this season, both against the Fernie Ghostriders, starting with their final home game of the year on Friday February 17. The next day they’ll visit Fernie to wrap up the 2011-12 season.
“We want to play as a team,” Cannell said when asked what he’d like to accomplish in the team’s final two games. “We want to show the fans that we actually care, because they always do such a great job supporting us.”