The Columbia Valley Rockies put on a show for their hometown fans on Friday October 19, and despite a spirited third period comeback from the visiting Princeton Posse, the Rockies managed to escape with a 5-3 victory on the back of strong goaltending and hard-hitting physical hockey.
Coming off of a tough 5-4 loss at the hands of the Kimberley Dynamiters on Tuesday October 16, the Rockies appeared more than ready to take out some of their frustration on the Posse, as they opened the first period laying some big hits on the opposing players. After taking a 1-0 lead on an early goal by forward Stephen Pratt, the Rockies may have become a bit too aggressive, and after giving up their first penalty of the game also allowed their first goal of the game when some crisp Princeton passing led to a tap-in at the side of the net. Not to be discouraged, the Rockies kept the pressure up and were rewarded six minutes later with a bit of a flukey goal. A slapshot from the point appeared to be tipped on the way to the net, and the puck ended up taking a perfect Rockies bounce and dropped directly over the head of the confused Princeton goalie, to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead.
Princeton looked to be finding their legs as the second period opened, but the Rockies continued with their physical play as the Princeton players began to visibly tire. The two teams traded chances until late in the period, when some good work down low to keep the play alive led to Rockies forward James Price scoring his first of two goals on the night past a sprawling Princeton netminder. Princeton would look to narrow the lead back down to one when their shot from the point hit the post just a few minutes later, but Rockies goalie Brody Nelson stood tall as Princeton crashed the net over and over, trying to force the puck home. Both teams played a penalty-free period up until that point, but after a Princeton player was called for goaltender interference, the Rockies had one last chance to extend the lead before the end of the period. The Rockies would do exactly that, as off a rebound Price scored his second of night with just 12 seconds remaining in the period, and the Rockies took a 4-1 lead into the final frame.
Facing a three-goal deficit, Princeton looked to finally get into rhythm as the third period began. Controlling the puck and outshooting the Rockies 11-5 in the period, two quick goals within two minutes in the middle of the frame no doubt had some Rockies fans chewing their fingernails as the lead was reduced to just a single goal with just under eight minutes remaining. The comeback would be cut short however, and a late empty net goal by Rockies forward Racey Red Crow sealed the victory for the Rockies for their fifth win of the season.
The Rockies would next host the Fernie Ghostriders on Tuesday, October 23, however the score was not available by press time. The Rockies next home game comes on Saturday, November 3 when the Golden Rockets visit the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena.