By Stephanie Stevens
The Columbia Valley Rockies’ first road trip saw them play three games in three days, but while they only won two of the three, there were ultimately a lot of positives.
Head coach and general manager Taylor Sincennes said there were definitely some nerves on the road.
“We had moments of really good hockey and moments of shaky hockey,” he said.
But team development is on the rise.
“Our older guys have been doing a really good job of helping the young boys along,” said Sincennes. “But the young guys are doing a good job of adapting to new surroundings.”
That growth bodes well for the 2023-24 season.
Friday, Sept. 29 saw the boys in the Castlegar Rebels’ barn, and while they lost 5-4, the comeback in the third was indicative of the early nerves settling down.
Scoring for the Rockies in the first period was #9 Carter Velker with assists from #18 Maxence Guay and #4 Ghovind Dhillon.
The second period arguably went to the Rebels, but the third period saw the Rockies get their stride back as well as three goals courtesy of #8 Theo Fath with assists from Velker and #22 Kobe Mason, then Mason with assists from #14 Tysin Mulligan and Dhillon, and finally a short-handed goal from #7 Danny Schmirler with assists from Dhillon and #23 Kaelen Bodnarchuk.
On Saturday the team was in Grand Forks facing off with the Border Bruins.
After a scoreless first period, Velker put one past the posts with an assist from #11 Wyatt Wurtz, and the third saw #25 Tyson Sandhu tie it up with an assist from Mulligan.
The tie was ended in a shoot-out with Mason making the deciding shot.
Sunday saw the Rockies in the Spokane Braves’ arena and the ensuing 7-4 victory was almost as nice as the first regular season game when the boys shut out the Braves in their home barn in the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena.
Opening up scoring in the first was #16 Gage Sather, unassisted, followed by Sandhu with an assist from #6 Ellis Mcgeough and one more from Velker with an assist from Schmirler.
The second period saw Schmirler score unassisted, followed by Mulligan with an assist from Sandhu, Mulligan again with an assist from #21 Dawson Ashcroft and then just for good measure, one more unassisted goal by Mulligan to make it a hat trick.
“Anytime you can go on the road and have four out of a possible six points you’re going to be happy,” said Sincennes.
While he would like to see some improvement on the specialty teams, the weekend was a win in Sincennes’ books.
The Rockies are away again this weekend, in Revelstoke facing the Grizzlies on Friday, Oct. 6 and in Golden on Oct. 7 squaring off with the Rockets.
Next home game is Friday, Oct. 13 when the Kimberley Dynamiters head to Eddie Mountain Memorial.