After the Columbia Valley Rockies Junior B team took a two-point lead against the Golden Rockets during the first period, fans were heartbroken to see a 5-4 loss during the final home exhibition game for the Rockies late last week.
The Rockies went head-to-head against the Golden Rockets until there were a flurry of penalties in the third period at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena on Thursday, September 3rd.
“Our start was OK, but I think the fact that we were on the ice for seven days (last week) and we played four games, we were starting to see some exhaustion in the kids,” said Rockies head coach Wade Dubielewicz. “Our kids are pretty tired, but that’s no excuse.”
The Rockies started off strong in the first period with a 2-1 lead until Golden made a comeback, scoring their second goal during the second period.
With 3:59 left on the clock during the third period, the Rockies took a total of 10 penalties for high-sticking, slashing, tripping, cross-checking, unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing and instigating — which ultimately cost them the game.
The Rockets tied the game 4-4, then edged out the Rockies at 2:36 when they scored the fifth and final goal of the night.
“I think we had three five-on-three power plays in the third period, which to me, is almost unheard of,” said Mr. Dubielewicz after the game. “It’s exhibition, and everybody’s a bit rusty. I was a touch surprise with some of the referee’s calls, but again, that’s no excuse. It’s pre-season, and we haven’t really got to coaching special teams quite yet so when you have a five-on-three power play, it’s hard to defend even when it has been coached, so I think Golden exposed the fact that we haven’t worked on our five-on-three penalty kill yet.”
The Rockies also lost 6-0 against the Fernie Ghostriders at the Fernie Memorial Arena on Wednesday, September 2nd.
The Columbia Valley Rockies will have their first season opener against the Kimberley Dynamiters at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, September 11th at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena.
“We open against Kimberley and they were league champions last year,” said Mr. Dubielewicz. “They’re returning quite a few players and they’re going to be an extremely, extremely good, strong, fast team; so we’ve got one heck of a week of practice ahead of us to try to prepare to face the previous year’s league champions. It will be an extremely tough test for our young group.”
However, Mr. Dubielewicz is eager to work with the roster for the Rockies this season and has been dedicating a lot of time to practising with the team.
“I’m extremely excited about the group of kids that we’ve recruited,” he concluded. “There’s some good, young talent with some grit and toughness. I’m looking forward to it being a pretty positive year for us.”