Beyond the Blue Line

By Stephanie Stevens

The Columbia Valley Rockies had a good weekend points-wise, adding three of four to their Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) standings in games against the Kelowna Chiefs and Fernie Ghostriders. 

Friday Nov. 24 saw Kelowna on the ice in Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena but the Chiefs left empty handed after a 6-1 whomp-down by the Rockies. 

“Friday was a big game for us to prove to ourselves that we can keep up offensively while taking care of the defensive side of the puck,” said assistant coach Tanner Wit.  “It’s a good thing to learn for a young group.”

Scoring for the Rockies on Friday was Kyran Gromnisky in the first period (assists from Luke Hamilton and Teo Fath), along with Tysin Mulligan (assists from Carter Velker and Kaelan Shelton) and then Gromnisky (assist from Hamilton). Second period goals were courtesy of Shelton (assists from Mulligan and Velker) on a power play followed by Velker (assists from Mulligan and Shelton). Carter Krause added one more to the tally in the third (assists from Gromnisky and Hamilton). 

Netminder Jaiden Jakubowski kept 30 of 31 shots at bay. 

Saturday in the Fernie Memorial Arena saw the Rockies start slow, something head coach Tayler Sincennes felt cost them the 4-3 game. 

“They (Fernie) scored two in the first 10 minutes of the game and we did a good job of battling back, but we wouldn’t need to if we started better,” he said. 

Wit added that Fernie is a tough place to play for the first time, a sentiment echoed by associate coach Tucker Braund. 

“They (the players) are learning the league and they even have to learn about the arenas,” said Braund. 

“Playing in Fernie is tough because it’s a small sheet with a lot of good fans . . . it’s intimidating at first, but we eventually got used to it. We did a good job of battling back, even getting the lead.”

Goalie Nate Glenn kept 35 of 39 shots on goal out, but Fernie managed to get one more past him for an overtime win.

A nod to Tysin Mulligan is due as he took his spot at the British Columbia Hockey Prospects game on Tuesday, Nov. 28 at the McArthur Park Arena in Kamloops. 

“It’s a nice nod of attention for him,” said Braund. “He was a late Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League cut and he’s showing people he is a top player in this league at 18. He’s working hard and learning different parts of the game. He is a very good skater with a high hockey IQ and great skill set.”

Wit and Sincennes expressed similar sentiments.

“Mulligan is a great kid who deserves the opportunity to go and showcase his talent at the prospects game,” said Wit. “We are proud of him and what he’s accomplished so far this season.”

“He’s worked hard and deserves the honour of representing our club and community there,” added Sincennes.

The Rockies were in the Eddie Tuesday, Nov. 28 hosting the Golden Rockets and will be back in their home arena  again Friday, Dec. 1 to square off with Fernie. They have a 3 p.m. matchup on Sunday against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.