By Stephanie Stevens

The Columbia Valley Rockies went into last weekend perhaps a little flat at first, but they ended it on a much higher note.

The Eddie Mountain Division leading Fernie Ghostriders were in town Friday, Jan. 12 but despite a decent Rockies offence, the 4-2 win went to the ‘Riders.’

“Friday night I thought we generated enough offence to compete in the game but we were far too flat to win a tough game in this division,” said head coach Tayler Sincennes.

Assistant coach Tanner Wit added sometimes you can play hard, but you fight the puck bounces. 

“(Nick) Kunyk (Fernie goaltender) played a phenomenal game,” said Wit. “We did start to find a better energy and it was a chance to try and find the right chemistry between the new guys coming in.”

Scoring for the Rockies in the third period was Justin King (assists from Gage Sather and Luke Hamilton) and Paddy Donahue (assists from Carter Velker and Kaelan Shelton).

Rockies netminder Jaiden Jakubowski kept out 28 of 32 shots on goal, making some impressive saves during the Friday game.

Saturday saw the Osoyoos Coyotes in Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena but they were sent summarily packing with their tails between their legs. 

“We found a decent rhythm early and kept the energy high,” said Wit. “It was a better response after a tough game Friday, and I thought it was trending more in the direction of where we want to be headed come post regular season.”

Sincennes said he was much happier with Saturday’s better bench energy.

“We competed and dominated the game for 60 minutes, generating lots of quality scoring opportunities and defending fairly well.”

The 5-1 game saw no scoring in the first, but new acquisition Kade Cochlan came out of the gate early in the second to score his first goal with the Rockies (assist from Jamieson Franz) and Johnny Lozeman followed shortly after (assists from Ethan Adair and Ben Sharp). 

Third period scoring was started by Oleg Bitus (assists from Wyatt Wurtz and Velker) and then two empty netters, first from Kyran Gromnisky (assist from Shelton) and then with only 19 seconds left on the clock Ben Sharp potted his first Kootenay International Junior Hockey League goal (assists from Gromnisky) to end the game on a high note.

Goalie Nate Glenn was between the pipes and stopped 24 of 25 shots on goal.

The Rockies will be playing out of town for the next two weeks but will be back home in the Eddie Feb. 2 against the Kimberley Dynamiters. 

At press time the Rockies were sitting in third place in the Eddie Mountain Division at 45 points, with Kimberley one point ahead and Fernie sitting at the top of the heap with 49 points.

Rockies netminder Jaiden Jakubowski made some impressive saves against Fernie on January 12.