It was another up-and-down weekend for the Columbia Valley Rockies, but a strong showing in a 5-2 win over Creston on Saturday, December 1 has them right back in the thick of things in the Eddie Mountain Division of the KIJHL.
“We’re definitely playing a tougher style of hockey,” head coach Ross Bidinger said. “The team is progressing, there’s no question.”
The Rockies started their weekend with a loss to the Kelowna Chiefs on Friday, November 30 at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena in Invermere. Shots were relatively even at 31 for Kelowna and 29 for the Rockies, but Columbia Valley gave up four powerplay goals on nine opportunities, and the Chiefs coasted to a 6-1 victory.
Next, the Rockies played host to division rivals Creston Valley Thunder Cats, and early on both teams found themselves in penalty trouble. The Rockies were the first to capitalize, when midway through the period forward Stephen Pratt took the puck from the corner and fired home his seventh goal of the season to give the Rockies the early advantage. The Rockies found themselves in penalty trouble not long after, and although they finished the frame on the back foot, they opened the second period with a flurry. Racey Red Crow was the first to add his name to the scoresheet, crashing the net and scoring just 40 seconds into the period, and Mitchell Rosko would follow his lead by adding a goal of his own just over a minute later. Creston would answer with a goal of their own, but another Rockies goal, this time by Ryan Henderson gave the Rockies a comfortable 4-1 lead heading into the final period. The Thunder Cats gave the Rockies a bit of a scare by scoring an early powerplay goal to narrow the deficit to 4-2, but that was as close as they would get, and Henderson’s empty net goal sealed the victory. Invermere netminder Brody Nelson made 43 saves in the win.
Next up for the Rockies is a visit from the cellar-dwelling Grand Forks Border Bruins on Friday December 7, before the Thunder Cats looks to take revenge the following night, December 8, also in Invermere.