By Nikki Fredrikson
Special to the Pioneer
As the Columbia Valley Rockies prepared for another three-game week, head coach Wade Dubielewicz is calling for an attitude and skill refocus from his athletes. Mr. Dubielewicz said the team needs to get back to playing the way that brings the team success; hard, heavy, and physical.
The Rockies started this past week of games on a high, defeating Fernie 3-2 but fell to Kimberley on Friday, January 19th and Golden Rockets on Saturday, January, 20th.
A common trend in this past week of games has been the Rockies have taken longer to get on the scoreboard, often playing catch-up to their opponents.
The Tuesday, January 16th game against the Fernie Ghostriders had the Rockies coming back from a 2-0 deficit at 1:41 of the second period with a goal from Mike Dyck.
Finding the back of the net in the third and final period was Ryan Skytt at 19:15 and Hunter Beckett with the game-winning goal at 4:06.
Friday night the Rockies matched up against the leaders of the Eddie Mountain Division, the Kimberley Dynamiters. The team fell 4-1 with Kade Garritty getting the team’s only goal of the night as a result of a penalty shot.
“Kade went in on an angle and beat the goalie five-hole. It was really nice move,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
Kade’s goal came at 15:24 of the third period and, while it gave the team a spark, they were unable to catch up to Kimberley’s lead.
Despite the loss, it was an exciting night for one Rockies player who returned to the ice after missing 10 games to recover from a neck injury. Having had a strong week of practice, the Rockies coaching staff decided to start Joshua King in net and see how he would do.
“He was solid. He played really well for not playing for months. I was really happy with his game,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
With three goaltenders this season the Rockies would play Ben Kelsch in Saturday’s game against the Golden Rockets. The Rockies got off to a slow start with Mike Dyck scoring the team’s first goal at 1:10 of the second period bringing the score to 4-1 in favour of the Rockets.
The Rockies got into their groove at the top of the third period with Mike Dyck setting up Robert Butterwick for a goal at 19:10. Keeping the momentum going Fraser McMann and Jack Lastwik setup Kale Hawryluk at 18:01; the Golden Rockets would answer back just 61 seconds later taking the score to 6-3.
On a power-play advantage, Mike Dyck and Jackson Grosshans set up Hunter Beckett for the team’s final goal of the night at 1:18. The Rockets managed to get one final goal past Kelsch with just 41 seconds left in the game.
The Columbia Valley Rockies versus the Golden Rockets game was one for the history books. It was the first game in the Kootenay International Hockey League history that a female goaltender has played the full 60 minutes. The 15-year-old goaltender, Izzy Palumbo faced 49 shots from the Rockies and earned the first star of the game for her performance. Mr. Dubielewicz commented on the Golden goalie’s performance saying he thought she played extremely well.
“I think personally we went in there thinking it might be an easy game. I give full credit to Golden’s players and their goaltender, they played a really strong team game,” said Mr. Dubielewicz. “We weren’t able to really claw our way back in the game because they played really solid.”
The Rockies will take on the Fernie Ghostriders in a rescheduled game following a fatal ammonia leak at the Fernie Arena in late October. The two teams were scheduled to face-off twice this week, once on Tuesday, January, 23rd, then again on Friday, January 26th. The Rockies will then host Creston Valley Thunder Cats Saturday, January 27th.