By Nikki Fredrikson
Special to the Pioneer
Heading into Monday, March 12th playoff game against the Kimberley Dynamiters, the Columbia Valley Rockies were focusing on taking it one shift at a time.
They weren’t worrying that to keep their playoff dreams alive they’d have to win the next four games in a row. The team and coaches were going into the fifth game of the series with a set mentality of one shift at a time.
“It’s funny because after we lost game three the pressure I think came off our team,” said head coach Wade Dubielewicz. “I think we tried to carry that into game four, that we’re do or die let’s just leave it out there, play as hard as you can and worry about your next shift. Don’t worry about having to win four straight games. Worry about winning your next shift and that was the goal.”
The Rockies season came to an end Monday night after falling 5-2 to the Dynamiters. The team was able to hold on for a fifth game in the series after defeating Kimberley in game four on Saturday, March 10th.
Mr. Dubielewicz commented that the team was energized for game five after goaltender Ben Kelsch’s shutout performance on Saturday night.
“He’s been the difference maker at times when we are faltering defensively, he’s been a stud back there. He’s keeping us in games and giving us a chance to win at this time of year; that’s what you need,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
Heading into the playoff series the Rockies knew it would be a battle. As both teams play high tempo physical games the Rockies were planning a marathon performance, to physically wear down their competitor as the series went on.
“You need to have the will to continue to punish the other team physically, even though it hurts you to finish a check,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
Unfortunately for the Rockies, the Dynamiters strong defense made it hard to get pucks to the net taking away the Rockies time and space through the neutral zone.
Mr. Dubielewicz recognized the hard work of Brennan Nelson, Brandt Black and Hunter Beckett whose line was creating the most offensive opportunity throughout the series with the Dynamiters.
While the team may not have gotten the results they wanted for the second round of playoffs the season can be hailed a success, as it was the first time in more than five years the Columbia Valley Rockies advanced to the second round of playoffs.