Hoping to avenge a tough loss at home at the hands of the Castlegar Rebels, the Columbia Valley Rockies continued to struggle, losing a closely fought game in Fernie 8-7.
From start to finish, the Rockies’ only game of the weekend was a classic shootout with both the Rockies and hometown Ghostriders — who have had it out for one another this season — facing each other three times in the last three weekends.
While Rockies’ forward Jagger Thiessen opened the scoring, the Ghostriders answered quickly with four goals of their own in the span of four minutes, two of which came with a man advantage for the Ghostriders.
The Ghostriders offensive turned out to be too much for Rockies’ goaltender Connor McKay who was pulled by Dubielewicz after allowing the third goal. Facing just six shots, Dubielewicz said McKay’s night was ended more by misfortunates than misplay.
Fernie started the second period continuing to dominate the Rockies with two more unanswered goals to take a commanding 6-3 lead. Sparking the Rockies back into action was newly acquired Dawson Boehm who got into a fight with Ben Shoshkovsky midway through the second frame.
Following the fight, the Rockies added three more goals to Quinn Sobus’s second period goal to take the Rockies first lead of the game 7-6 while being slightly outshot 34-30. In a tightly fought third period, with both teams trading shots, the Ghostriders came out on top, scoring a goal with 12 minutes left in the game.
With four of Fernie’s eight goals coming with a man advantage, Dubielewicz said that the Rockies need to find a way to improve their special teams if they’re going to improve their record this season.
“That’s the difference between us winning and losing games is our penalty kill and power-play getting going,” Dubielewicz said.
Despite the loss, Dubielewicz said that he sees Saturday night as a silent victory for his team.
“We really did deserve to win that game,” he said. “Our forecheck was good, a few mental errors in the heat of the battle and some bad luck ended up really hurting us but as a group it’s one of those games that brings the team together in my opinion.”
The Rockies will have a perfect opportunity to build a strong winning foundation with three games in five days this week all being played at the Eddie. The action will start with a rematch versus Fernie on Friday, followed by Nelson on Saturday evening with Creston making their way to town on Tuesday November 22nd.
Dubielewicz said he sees this string of games as an opportunity for growth for the young team rather than an obstacle they have to overcome.
“Kids are working extremely hard in practice and some of our younger guys are going to be given the opportunity to have some minutes that they haven’t had to this point,” he said. “I expect our young guys to really step up this week and I feel like it’ll be a positive week for us.”