Rockies forward

Rockies forward

Playoff-bound Rockies end season on high note

The Columbia Valley Rockies are looking forward to making their first playoff appearance in five years.

With the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) regular season over, the Columbia Valley Rockies are looking forward to making their first playoff appearance in five years. The Rockies played three games over the weekend to round out their season, winning two of the three contests. “We’re trying to get the guys into the mindset that we are going to war,” said coach Wade Dubielewicz. “It will be made up of a lot of little battles and it is such a fine line now.” The Rockies faced the Penticton Lakers on Friday, February 15 at home and after blowing a three-goal lead, took the game in double overtime with a goal from Briar McNaney. The final score was 5-4 in favour of the Rockies, who were also playing host to the players’ families who came in to cheer on the team for the final three games of the regular season. On Saturday, February 16, the Rockies played their division rivals, the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena. The Rockies had strong showings from River Lafferty who scored twice, Briar McNaney who grabbed three points, Brendan Burge who netted one goal and had three assists, and goaltender Stewart Pratt who stopped 42 shots to help his team win the game 5-3. Finishing off the regular season and foreshadowing the first round of the playoffs, the Rockies travelled to Fernie to play the Ghostriders, who ended their season at the top of the Eddie Mountain Division. The game was a hard fought loss, said Dubielewicz, and was tied 1-1 until the last seconds of the game when Fernie squeaked a shorthanded goal past Brody Nelson with nine seconds left in the third period. Looking forward to their playoff run, Dubielewicz said he is confident his team has what it takes to be competitive and is hoping to have everyone healthy for the start of the first round. “I’m not going to say we’re favourites, but if we play the way we have to we can beat any team. The hard part is keeping all the players on the team focused and going in the same direction. We have to be willing to make every single sacrifice possible to keep the puck out of our net and get it into the other guys’ net.” The Rockies play their first two games of the playoffs in Fernie on Saturday (February 23) and Sunday (February 24) and then return home for two games on Tuesday (February 26) and Thursday, February 28. If needed, game five of the series will be played in Fernie on March 1, game six in Invermere on March 2 and the seventh game in Fernie on March 3. If successful in the first round, the Rockies would go on to face either the Kimberley Dynamiters or the Golden Rockets in round two, beginning on March 4.

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