With less than a week to prepare for their first game, the Columbia Valley Rockies are off to slow start under new head coach Ross Bidinger, as back-to-back shutout losses have dropped them back to third place in the division following weekend KIJHL action.
“We’ve got some stuff to work on,” Bidinger said. “We’re juggling the lines around and bringing in a couple new guys, and trying to get some more offensive guys.”
After former head coach and general manager Marc Ward resigned from his position earlier this week, the Rockies faced an uphill battle to become acclimated to a whole new system of hockey, before a visit to Creston to take on the Thunder Cats on September 28. The Rockies last played Creston in their final game of the preseason on September 8, coming away with a 6-3 victory on home ice, but Creston had different ideas on this night, scoring two powerplay goals en-route to a 3-0 win over the Rockies. Invermere native Brody Nelson was named the third star of the game after making 35 saves, but the Rockies were outshot 38 to 30 and could not manage to get anything past Creston netminder Michael Hails, who recorded his first shutout of the season. The Rockies surrendered seven powerplay opportunities in the loss.
“We played good in Creston,” Bidinger said. “There were a couple of mistakes around the net, but the effort was good and they played well.”
Next for the Rockies was a game against the Golden Rockets on Saturday, September 29, who had claimed their first victory of the year the night before after opening the season with three consecutive losses. While the Rockies opened strong in the first period by recording 15 shots, they only managed eight over the next 40 minutes, including just three in the second period. Allowing six Golden powerplays in the second period probably didn’t help, and with two goals in the frame Golden had more than enough cushion for goalie Danny Todosychuk to carry the team the rest of the way home in a 2-0 victory. The loss dropped the Rockies to 3-4-0-1 for the year, good for third place in the Eddie Mountain Division as the Kimberely Dynamiters took over the top spot.
“We were undisciplined and took some bad penalties,” Bidinger said. “We outplayed them in the first period and just lost our legs as the game went on.”
The Rockies continue their string of away games when they travel to the Princeton & District Arena to take on the Princeton Posse on Friday, October 5 for their sixth consecutive game on the road. The Rockies don’t play again at home until October 13 when they face the Fernie Ghostriders at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena.