The Columbia Valley Rockies team put forth a valiant effort, but had a third period comeback cut short on Saturday, November 4 in a divisional match-up with the Golden Rockets at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena in Invermere.
“We did pretty good considering we had our top line taken away from us with some of the penalties that got called,” assistant coach Scott Dubielewicz said. “It really forced us to scramble to put our lines together in a way that kids had to do jobs that they weren’t used to doing.”
The Rockies opened up the game on the back foot with Golden getting the better of possession and the better shots for the first few minutes. It wouldn’t be long before they would get on the scoreboard, as off a scrum behind the Rockies net the puck came out straight to Rockets forward Josh Jewell, who roofed the puck over the glove of Rockies netminder Stewart Pratt to give Golden the 1-0 lead five minutes into the game. The Rockies would pick up the offensive pressure, but still had some defensive lapses, and would end up being outshot 13-7 in the period. Five Rockies penalties definitely didn’t help on that front either, as the bad blood between the two teams materialized itself with both teams continuing the rough play well after the whistle.
“We played good, just penalties cost us a little bit,” Rockies forward Jayson Cannell said. “We worked hard, but just got some unlucky bounces.”
The Rockies opened the second period with some of their best offensive opportunities of the night, and also looked to be picking up the intensity of the other end of the ice as well. Pratt made his best stops of the night in the second period, none more impressive than when he flashed the leather to take away a sure goal from a streaking Rockets shooter on a breakaway, but the Rockies would continue to be denied on offense, and frustrations were running high on their bench. It didn’t help when with just over two minutes left in the period, Jewell took advantage of some tired-looking Rockies skaters to score his second of the night, again past the glove of Pratt.
“We didn’t play as good as we could for the full 60 minutes,” Dubielewicz said. “We probably put 30, maybe 35 minutes together, and we can’t win if we don’t play 60 minutes against anyone in this league.”
Despite their struggles on the offensive end, the Rockies only faced a 2-0 deficit heading into their third period, and after killing off a penalty in the opening minutes, Rockies forward Damon Raven pulled his team within one with 17 minutes left in the frame. Just like that, the Rockies were just a goal away from virtually erasing the previous 40 minutes, and it wouldn’t take them long to capitalize on their momentum. Coming up the ice a few minutes later, Rockies leading scorer Jake Fardoe made a brilliant decision to hold onto the puck, and after carrying it around the back of the Golden net, put a pass right across the crease for forward Chad Davidson to bury in the back of the net, and even the score at two all.
“I think Golden got a little tired, and once we got one goal and got a little momentum, you could see them looking even more tired,” Dubielewicz said.
Just like that, it was a brand new game with 11 minutes remaining and the score all knotted up, but it wouldn’t last for long. Just over five minutes later on a partial breakaway, Golden forward Blake Roney had his pass deflected off of a Rockies defenceman and land right back on his stick, in perfect position to score a backhand goal to give Golden the lead. Tow minutes later, a Golden shot from the point looked to deflected before making its way past Pratt, and the Rockets would coast with a two-goal lead en-route to a 4-2 victory.
With the loss, the Rockies fall to 6-13-0-1 through 20 games, and currently sit on 13 points. Next up for the Rockies is a home-and-home series with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, beginning on Friday November 9 when the Rockies host the Cats at 7:30 p.m. at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena.