Beyond the Blue Line

By Stephanie Stevens

National Hockey League player (and second all-time NHL defencemen in goals, assists, and points) Paul Coffey once said, “You work hard to get good and then work to get better.”

That is the mindset Columbia Valley Rockies’ head coach and general manager Tyler Sincennes and his coaching team are working to instill in the 2023/24 team.  And it shows.

While the weekend of Oct. 6 and 7 was a win and a loss, there were still gains, especially in the team’s specialty plays. 

“The team took a step in the right direction and I was happy with both of our games,” said Sincennes. “The penalty kill is going much better and our power play showed signs of improvement as well.”

While the Oct. 6 3-0 loss to the Revelstoke Grizzlies was disappointing, Sincennes said the Grizzlies are a good team and the Rockies were right with them.

“We missed a couple of really good chances to score and make it a game. On Saturday (vs the Golden Rockets) those chances went in and we played really well in a 5-2 win. We heavily outshot Golden.”

Scoring against the Rockets Oct. 7 was #5, Govind Dhillon (assists from #18 Maxence Guay and #12 Kaelen Shelton) and #14 Tysin Mulligan (assists from #24 Luke Hamilton and #22 Kobe Mason) in the first period. 

The second period saw scoring from #4 Theo Fath (assists from Dhillon and Hamilton) and Guay (assists from #26 Justin King) and then one more in the third period from Shelton (assisted by #17 Ben Sharp).

Last Friday, Oct 13 the Rockies hosted the Kimberley Dynamiters in the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena and sent the Dynamiters packing with a 3-0 win for the hometown boys. 

Shelton opened up the scoring in the second period (assists from Mulligan and Sharp), followed by Velker unassisted with an empty netter, and the third saw one more unassisted goal by #16 Gage Sather.

“I thought we defended fairly well in the Kimberley game,” said Sincennes. “They had a lot of shots but a lot were from the outside. When they did have chances our goaltender (#30) Nate Glenn made some big saves.” 

Sincennes added, “In Creston, we didn’t have our best game, but we still managed to find a way to win which is good to see. Anytime you get four division points in a weekend you are happy.”

Bringing in the win in Creston was #10 Oleg Bitus (assists from #13 Josh David and #11 Wyatt Wurtz) in the first and Mulligan (assist from Sather) in the third. 

The Rockies are back home next weekend with the Grand Forks Border Bruins in the hometown barn on Friday, Oct. 20 and the Summerland Steam coming in Saturday, Oct. 21.