The Columbia Valley Rockies played three back-to-back games on the road last weekend, travelling to 100 Mile House on Friday, December 6th, Kamloops on Saturday, December 7th then Chase on Sunday, December 8th.
The first period of Friday’s game was about to end scoreless, but the 100 Mile House Wranglers managed to tap one in on the power play with 15 seconds left.
Nearly four minutes into the second, the Wranglers doubled their lead with another as the team scored the lone two goals in the opening two periods.
The Rockies found themselves in an even deeper hole after three minutes into the third, when 100 Mile House scored another power play goal.
But less than two minutes later, Stephen Pratt scored an unassisted goal to give the Rockies some life. With more than 15 minutes to go, the score was 3 – 1.
The Wranglers, however, added to the lead with a power play goal again, but the Rockies eroded it with another goal by Stephen Pratt, which was assisted by Bradly Palumbo and Adam Pulliam.
Unfortunately for Columbia Valley though, there was no more scoring and the game concluded with a 4-2 Wranglers win. The Rockies opponents managed to score on three out of four power play opportunities.
“We weren’t moving our feet,” said head coach Wade Dubielewicz. “We didn’t see the fight that we needed to win.”
Brody Nelson was in net for the Rockies and stopped 28 of 32 shots against.
The next night, the Rockies were in for a big battle as they were in Kamloops to take on the KIJHL-leading Storm, who hold a 0.823 winning percentage with 31 points in 51 games.
Kamloops grabbed control of the game with a goal after 26 seconds. The Storm kept the Rockies from registering on the scoreboard in the first before doubling their lead in the final 90 seconds on the power play.
But when the Storm were looking to score again, Dustin Boone brought Columbia Valley within one goal by netting a shorthanded goal with help from Nigel Swab and Jerome Thorne.
The Storm scored again after six more minutes of play, but shortly after that a Logan Kerner goal, with an assist from Dario Piva, brought the score back within one.
The third period included the start Columbia Valley was looking for, as Peter Matthews was set up by Racey Big Snake and Nigel Swab to tie the game after three minutes.
But the Storm became ferocious. Kamloops forward Max James scored a hat-trick to regain his team’s lead before another Kamloops goal insured them the win.
“To give Kamloops some credit, they’re probably the most skilled, so when you make a bad decision, they’ll make you pay,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
Brody Nelson was in net for Columbia Valley and rejected 34 of Kamloops’ 39 shots registered.
Sunday brought the Rockies to Chase where the Heat were hosting afternoon hockey.
Mitchell Rosko gave the Rockies an early lead with an unassisted goal early in the first, but it was cancelled out by a Chase goal two minutes later. The Rockies took the lead back before the period came to an end, as newcomer Braeden Farge scored a shorthanded goal without any help.
“This was his first weekend with us,” said Mr. Dubielewicz. “He brings a physical element and he’s definitely got some skill.”
Farge was acquired via the coach’s networking with the Junior A team in St. Albert.
Chase tied the game up again after less than a minute into the second, which was countered by a goal from Kyle Pouncy on the power play, giving Braden Farge his second point with as assist. Ryan Henderson, the team’s scoring leader with 31 points in 31 games, also assisted on the goal.
But again, Chase evened the score with a power play goal near the midway mark.
Columbia Valley’s lead returned after three minutes in the third, when Matthew Houston scored on the power play.
Following suit, the Heat tied the game for a fourth time, bringing the match into overtime.
After a scoreless four-on-four first overtime period, the teams played three-on-three, when Kaleb Boyle on Chase ended the game with a penalty shot.
While the Heat never held the lead during the game, Mr. Dubielewicz said that after beginning their travels on Thursday, the Rockies had run out of gas by Sunday’s match.
Stewart Pratt started the game but only played one period due to a rib issue, stopping 12 of 13 shots. The game was finished by Brody Nelson, who saved 23 of 27 attempts by the Heat.
The Rockies are back at home on Saturday, December 16th when the Creston Valley Thunder Cats are at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff.