By Nikki Fredrikson
Special to the Pioneer
It was a busy weekend for the Columbia Valley Rockies facing back to back games. The Rockies traveled to Creston Friday, January 5th to take on the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, and returned home for a Saturday game against the Golden Rockets.
Heading into the Creston matchup the Rockies were focused on slowing down the Thunder Cats in an effort to limit their scoring chances. Head coach Wade Dubielewicz said he thought the team slowed the Thunder Cats down early in the game but were wore out by Creston, allowing them to get the room they needed to enter the Rockies zone.
The Thunder Cats came out hard in the first period, scoring three goals in the last 10 minutes of play. Justen James scored the first two goals of the game with Tyler Witzke getting the third of the period.
In the second period Brayden Jellis scored the team’s fourth goal at 15:07, his goal was followed by the Rockies only goal of the night scored by Hunter Beckett. The Thunder Cats would score three more goals to bring the final score to 7-1.
The two teams were set to rematch Wednesday, January 10th (after the Pioneer press time) and the Rockies will again focus on limiting the Thunder Cats speed and transitions. The Rockies sit 12 points behind Creston in the standings and will most likely be playing the Thunder Cats in playoffs, so each game is an opportunity for the Rockies to learn their opponents.
“Every time we play them we are trying to tweak a few little things to see what works best. That’s the goal moving forward when we play Creston,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
Saturday’s match had the Rockies skating on home ice as they took on the visiting Golden Rockets. The Rockies were able to come out victorious with a final score of 6-1.
“I was happy with how we rebounded. We moved the puck well, we managed the puck well, and we were able to finish well so overall a pretty decent game,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
The Rockies dominated the first period of play with goals from Ryan Skytt (2), Chase Hawkins, and Mike Dyck, giving them a 4-0 advantage.
The second period was a stalemate with neither team able to find the back of the net. At 14:22 Mike Dyck snuck one past the Rockets’ goaltender bringing the score to 5-0. One minute and 12 seconds later Nick Runnalls got the puck past Rockies’ goaltender Parker Waseylenko earning the Rockets their only goal of the night. Tyler Nypower would finish off the night with the Rockies sixth goal at 3:54 of the third.
The Rockets sit in fifth place of the Eddie Mountain Division, 28 points behind the Rockies. While the Rockies used the game as an opportunity to fine-tune their systems, Mr. Dubielewicz said the Rockets are an extremely hard-working team.
“Golden’s no pushover; they can compete with anybody,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
During the home game fans may have noticed one of the Rockets get hit into a stanchion just past the Columbia Rockies bench. The Golden Rockets player was treated at the Invermere Hospital and received several stitches for his injury to his head.
Looking at the season as a whole Mr. Dubielewicz said the young team needs to improve their consistency as a whole. He went on to say that the team hasn’t made many moves which gives the team value because he isn’t reteaching when a new player comes in.
“In any given game we could be good in our own zone and good in the offensive zone, and bad in the neutral zone. The next night we’re good in the offensive zone and the neutral zone and terrible in our defensive zone. I think that’s where the consistency part comes in. We’re a pretty young team but that consistency needs to basically start coming around or we’re going to be in trouble,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
The Rockies will be on the road Wednesday to take on Creston and will be back in action at home Tuesday, January 16th to take on the Fernie Ghostriders.