Goals were few and far between when the Columbia Valley Rockies hosted the Sicamous Eagles on Friday, November 8th, but with help from the new goaltender and effective special teams, the Rockies were able to snap their six-game losing streak.
Sicamous, in the Okanagan/Shuswap conference, is comparable in the standings to Columbia Valley – both held win-percentages around 0.450 heading into Friday’s match.
What the game lacked in goals, it made up for in gritty play. And with no shortage of penalties for both teams, the Rockies were first to capitalize.
Halfway through the opening period, Mitch Rosko scored a power play goal with help from Adam Pulliam and Doan Smith.
The aggression continued through the second period, but no team was able to change the 1 – 0 until the third.
With under half of the final period remaining, Doan Smith scored on the power play to give Columbia Valley a two-goal lead.
Mr. Smith’s goal came after receiving some valuable advice from head coach Wade Dubielewicz, who advised the forward to charge the goalie, as Mr. Dubielewicz noticed the Eagles goalie has a habit of faking players out while handling the puck.
“The goalie shot the puck right into Doan, and then fell on his stick and Doan shot it right into the empty net,” explained general manager Ross Bidinger.
And while the second goal put the Rockies in a comfortable position, the Eagles were able to bring themselves within one, as Matt Matche earned Sicamous a power play goal.
As the final minute of play approached, Columbia Valley was short a man, and Sicamous pulled their goalie for a 6-on-4 advantage.
Shortly after the Rockies penalty expired, a pass from Nigel Swab gave Damon Raven the empty-net insurance for the team’s first win in eight games.
Conrad McMillan, who was called up after goaltender Brody Nelson’s injury, blocked 31 of 32 shots against the Rockies for his first win with Columbia Valley.
He remains a contender for the starting position with Mr. Nelson now back after being kept out of the lineup due to a concussion.
“Whether it’s Conrad or Brody, that doesn’t so much affect us,” said Mr. Smith. “We still know what we have to do, and no matter who we have in net we have confidence that both goalies will stop enough pucks to give us a chance to win every night.”
“Whoever’s hot will play,” added Mr. Bidinger.
Team captain Adam Pulliam will be shaving his thick, handlebar mustache off at the end of the month in support of the Movember campaign.
The Rockies will be in Revelstoke on Friday, November 15th, for a matchup with the Grizzlies at 7 p.m. Their next home game is the following night, Saturday, November 16th against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.