By Nikki Fredrikson
Special to the Pioneer
Five short days after their 7-1 defeat to the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, the Columbia Valley Rockies travelled back to Creston for a rematch on Wednesday, January 10th. The Rockies came out hard getting an early lead on the Thunder Cats but would fall 5-4 in overtime.
The Columbia Valley Rockies have worked throughout the season to tweak their systems to find what holds back the Thunder Cats. Going into Wednesday’s game head coach Wade Dubielewicz said they added something to their forecheck.
“We changed our forecheck a little bit to adapt to what Creston’s doing. Again I’m sure they’re going to adapt, so it’s kind of an ongoing process,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
Opening up the game at 18:32 was Joshua Antunes with an assist from Jack Lastwika and Tyler Nypower. Three minutes and eight seconds later the Rockies were back on the board with a second goal from Tyler Nypower assisted by Joshua Antunes and Chase Hawkins. The Rockies held their 2-0 lead for the majority of the first period but at 6:34 Liam Plunkett from the Thunder Cats scored the team’s first goal.
Again the Rockies came out hard at the top of the second period with Kyler Schmigelsky assisted by Brandt Black and Dace Prymak finding the back of the net at 18:32. The Thunder Cats’ Bryce Sturm and Aiden Wong would each sscore throughout the period tying the game 3-3. Mr. Dubielewicz wasn’t surprised by the Thunder Cats advance in the second seeing it as a combination of things happening on the ice.
“Creston’s usually a really good second-period team. I think they probably came out a little stronger than they did in the first. And I think we probably relaxed a little bit, then you end up in that situation,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
Creston’s Ronnie Wilkie was able to sneak one past Rockies’ goaltender Ben Kelsch at 18:44. The team would hold the lead until 3:33 when Kade Garritty scored the Rockies’ fourth goal ultimately sending the two teams into overtime. The Thunder Cats secured the victory at 2:04 of the overtime period with a goal from Bryce Sturm.
Wednesday was the first game the Columbia Valley Rockies have had Ben Kelsch in net due to an ongoing hip injury. The goaltender stopped 45 of 50 shots he faced throughout the game.
“My hats off to him because he went in there and played really smart, solid, and efficient,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
Looking forward Mr. Dubielewicz would not confirm if Rockies fans will see more of Kelsch this season. The coach simply said ‘we’re going to go with the guy who’s playing the best and gives us the best chance to win on any given day.’
The Rockies were scheduled to be back in action at home Tuesday, January 16th to take on the Fernie Ghostriders and again Friday, January 19th to take on the Kimberley Dynamiters.