Maintaining their positive momentum after their win against the Golden Rockets on January 5, the Columbia Valley Rockies put two more important games against division rivals Kimberley Dynamiters and Fernie Ghostriders over the weekend into the win column, overtaking the Creston Valley Thundercats to occupy fourth place in the Eddie Mountain Memorial Division.
“The kids are staying focused and playing really hard,” said coach Kirk Dubielewicz. “We’re coming off of two good game plans against two good teams and the players are executing them perfectly.”
The first game of the weekend home stand occurred on Friday, January 11 and set the Rockies up against the Kimberley Dynamiters, who have proven to be tough combatants in the past. The Rockies began the onslaught, with three unanswered goals in the second half of the first period from Josh Haley, Jerome Thorne and Brendan Burge. Early in the second Ryan Henderson netted a power play goal and after letting only one in against, the Rockies went up 5-1 when Racey Red Crow scored with 2:18 left in the second.
Then Stephen Pratt, Josh Haley and Ryan Henderson scored for the Rockies in the third, and with only one more goal by the Dynamiters, grabbed a much-needed win, with the final score an embarrassing 8-2 defeat for the Dynamiters.
One major moment of drama came at 3:12 left in the third period when a hit from behind by Byron Sam sent the Dynamiters into a frenzy, leading to a Team Gross Misconduct penalty as the Dynamiters’ coach threw a water bottle across the ice at the referee and was ejected from the game.
The Rockies recorded 32 shots to the Dynamiters 21, and Josh Haley, Ryan Henderson and Brendan Burger were named 1st, 2nd and 3rd stars of the game respectively.
On Saturday, January 12, the Rockies hosted division leading Fernie Ghostriders, who pummelled goaltender Brody Nelson with 48 tough shots to the Rockies 29.
Although the Ghostriders had more shots, it was the Rockies who came away with the 4-1 victory, after two quick first period goals from Brendan Burge and an empty netter at the end of the game by Stephen Pratt.
The three stars of the game were Rockies players Brendan Burge, Brody Nelson and Ryan Henderson.
This win gives the Rockies a two-point advantage and a game in hand against the Creston Valley Thundercats, and puts them into contention for a playoff spot, Dubielewicz said.
“We have to respect every team we play as we are in such a competitive division,” he said. “We still struggle with discipline but we are getting better. We are ahead of Creston now and it is a goal to get into the playoffs.”
The Rockies will be hitting the road for the rest of January, with two more games against Kimberley, as well as Nelson and Castlegar, before returning home for another double-header weekend on February 1 against Castlegar and February 2 against Spokane.