As an indicator of what was to come, it only took two seconds of play before a penalty was called at the Rockies and Ghostriders game in Fernie on Saturday, January 25th.
But shortly after, the Rockies cancelled out their early power play with a penalty of their own, which brewed a dangerous opportunity for Fernie to score during four-on-four play. They capitalized, taking the first goal of the game.
The Ghostriders doubled their lead midway through the period, but Tyson Kapty, helped by Stephen Pratt and Matt Houston, scored less than a minute later to bring the Rockies back to within one.
The second period began with a 2 -1 Fernie lead. Forty-five seconds in, however, Mitch Rosko put one away to tie the game, assisted by Kyle Pouncy and Ryan Henderson.
The Ghostriders were able to take their lead back minutes later, and then double it to bring the score to 4 – 2.
Before Fernie was able to take off with the score, Dustin Boone set up Kyle Pouncy, who was able to make it a one-goal game again.
“[Pouncy]’s really skilled,” said head coach Wade Dubielewicz. “It’s great to see him develop into one of our top defensemen.”
But a last-minute power play goal for the Ghostriders gave them a two-goal lead before heading into a feisty third period.
Spectators were in for a late night. Fighting, boarding, roughing, slashing, goaltender interference, unsportsmanlike conduct, instigating, illegal equipment — you name it — at least one of the players was penalized for it. There were 118 minutes of penalties called between the two teams in the third period alone.
The only goal to be scored during the penalty spree was an empty-netter by Fernie in the last minute, securing their win with a score of 6 – 3.
“We got out and gave it a solid effort, but towards the end things got nasty and we stuck up for each other,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
Goaltending was shaky for the Rockies, with Pratt allowing two goals on seven shots, before Nelson took over, blocking 19 of the following 22.
Asked which goalie is the starter, Mr. Dubielewicz said that role is not yet confirmed.
“We’re trying to get one guy to grab the horns and go – hopefully one of them will over the next week or two,” he said.
The Rockies are playing at home this weekend on Friday and Saturday, taking on the Grand Forks Border Bruins on January 31st, and the Kimberley Dynamiters on February 1st.
Columbia Valley’s final home game of the season is the following Friday against the Golden Rockets, which, with the stakes high, both teams will likely be treating as a playoff game.