Beyond the Blue Line

By Stephanie Stevens

Steady as she goes, boys.

The Columbia Valley Rockies made up some points and edged ahead of Kimberley to take second place in the Eddie Mountain Division in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League last week.

Tuesday Jan. 16 saw the Golden Rockets in Invermere but a full effort from the home team resulted in a  4-1 win. 

First period scoring was opened up by Bryan Kim (assists from Oleg Bitus and Nathan Kaye) followed by Kyran Gromnisky with a power play goal (assist from Carter Velker). 

Bitus added a third in the second (assists from Kade Cochlan and Jamieson Franz) and Kobe Mason potted one more in the third (assists from Gage Sather and Paddy Donahue).

Nate Glenn was in goal and halted 24 of 25 shots on goal.

The Friday, Jan. 19 game in Fruitvale against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks came after a stressful day on the bus, but while the Rockies lost 5-1 there were still lessons in resiliency to be gleaned. 

“Friday night we didn’t show up ready to play and got outcompeted for most of the evening,” said head coach Tayler Sincennes. “We had some guys get beat up a little bit in that game as well. (It was) one of those games that you just kind of learn from and move on quick, being right back at it Saturday on the road.”

Associate coach Tucker Braund said the trip to Beaver Valley followed a frustrating journey and wasn’t the team’s best effort.

“We had a long travel day with bad roads and bus issues, Nate Glenn got injured which is always hard to see, but Jakubowski came in relief and played well.”  

Before he had to leave the game, Glenn stopped 22 of 25 shots on goal, and Jaiden Jakubowski stopped a further 20 of 22.

The Rockies’ Kobe Mason (left) gets ready for the puck drop against the Golden Rockets last week.

Saturday in Nelson, however, was a total turnaround. 

“Saturday … was the opposite,” said Sincennes. “We competed really hard and won a lot of battles and had some timely scoring from guys that haven’t been in on the offence in a little while.”

Jakubowski was between the pipes for the tilt with the Nelson Leafs and by all accounts stood on his head, stopping 49 of 51 shots on goal.

“We chipped away as a team and played well when we had the lead twice,” said Braund. 

“It was a good game defensively and when we got a chance to score we did. Our depth players have been great since the break; they are starting to chip in offensively but really playing hard even if they are in and out of the lineup.”

Scoring at the Saturday game was Bitus in the first (assists from Cochlan and Franz), Danny Schmirler in the second (assists from Johnny Lozeman and Ethan Adair), Bitus once again (assists from Velker and Donahue) and in the third, another from Schmirler (assists from Cochlan and Franz) and Carter Krause (assists from Justin King and Ben Sharp).

“We are really starting to become a deep team with lots of options and we are excited going into the home stretch of the regular season,” said Braund. 

The Rockies are out of town for the next two games playing the Division leading Fernie Ghostriders on Friday and the Creston Valley Thundercats on Jan. 30. 

They will be back in the Eddie on Friday, Feb. 2 against the Kimberley Dynamiters.