By Nikki Fredrikson
Special to the Pioneer
The Columbia Valley Rockies are back on track after picking up two wins in three games this past week. The team took on the Fernie Ghostriders Tuesday, January 23rd and rematched on Friday, January 26th. They then took on the Creston Valley Thunder Cats Saturday.
The Rockies were able to get the win against Fernie January 23rd, outshooting the Ghostriders 48-26 earning themselves a final score of 6-2. Head coach Wade Dubielewicz said the team’s game plan was to play a high tempo game, forcing the Ghostriders defence to make decisions under pressure.
The Ghostriders held the lead for the first period but the Rockies came back out hard in the second period with Jackson Grosshans, Kade Garritty and Mike Dyck each getting goals. In the third period, Robert Butterwick found the back of the net just seconds into the period at 19:51. Goals from Kale Hawryluk and Fraser McMann rounded out the game to secure the win.
Things took a turn in the Ghostriders favour during the team’s rematch game on Friday when Keelan Saworski scored the game-winning goal at 0:25 in overtime for a final score of 5-4. Mr. Dubielewicz called the difference between the Tuesday victory and the Friday overtime loss as the execution of the game plan.
“I’d say for the most part we played a pretty vanilla game,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
The Rockies were able to redeem themselves during Saturday’s match with the Creston Valley Thunder Cats. Having made tweaks in their playing to see what works against the Thunder Cats and what doesn’t, the team was able to defeat Creston 4-2.
The Thunder Cats held steady in the first period gaining a 2-0 lead heading into the second period, at the first intermission Mr. Dubielewicz reiterated his message to his team, ‘play the way they’re told’.
“I just told the guys it doesn’t matter, if you keep playing the way I’m asking you to play things will turn around. Fortunately enough they did,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
In the second period, Dace Prymak found the back of the net at 14:14 with Joshua Antunes and Davin Burton taking advantage of a power play. The Rockies kept pushing and came back in the third to score three more goals. Cooper Krauss scored at 13:50 followed by Mike Dyck and a final goal from Kale Hawryluck on an empty net.
A continuing trend with the Rockies in the past two weeks has been to give each of their three goaltenders equal opportunities, starting each in one game. However, moving forward to the end of the season those opportunities will begin to taper off as the coaching staff decides who will be the starter for playoffs.
“It’s a bit of a dogfight from here moving forward about who’s going to play. I expect them to be scratching and clawing all week during practice, and off-ice workouts to be able to get the call,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
He added in the next two weeks you’ll be able to see what direction he’s planning on going in regards to goaltending.
“I want the guy that’s going to give us the best chance to win,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.
As the team begins to shift into playoff preparation they will get set to take on the leaders of the Neil Murdoch Division the Nelson Leafs. When asked what the team needs to work on ahead of the matchup on February 2nd, Mr. Dubielewicz said consistency.
“Nelson’s a top team on that other side. It’s going to be a really good test and a gauge for our guys. We have to strap together 60 minutes of solid smart hockey to be able to compete,” said Mr. Dubielewicz.