Friday, February 4th, 2022 Columbia Valley 4 Rockets 1
Friday night at the Plywood Palace featured the visiting Columbia Valley Rockies in town to take on the Rockets. Columbia Valley currently sits atop the standings in the highly-competitive Eddie Mountain Division of the KIJHL, and were looking to continue in that position. The Rockets were looking to upset the frontrunners.
Any coach will tell you that a strong, well-balanced offence coupled with defensive discipline for a solid 60 minutes will bring success every time. And Invermere brought some of those ingredients to the forefront in this game. The Rockets responded with a strong defensive game of their own, but it wasn’t enough at the final horn.
The Columbia Valley powerplay currently sits at over 24%, and it proved to be the difference along with the scoring prowess of Kayde Kinaschuk (3 goals), Colby Phillips (1 goal 3 assists) and Dylan Malarchuk (3 assists). Grady Nicolas in the Invermere net also contributed to the victory with a trio of key saves at key times in the game.
In the opening period, the visitors took over much of the territorial play right from the initial face-off, keeping Golden back on their heels for much of the frame. Some key netminding by Levi Hall and good work by the Rocket defensemen effectively clearing out the slot area kept Invermere at bay.
Rockets had a chance to open the scoring at 14:00, as captain Jordan Lario broke in on a breakaway while shorthanded, but his drive was blocked by Nicolas. With a little over one minute left in the frame, Columbia Valley managed to grab the lead, with a Kinaschuk wrist shot from the top of the slot.
In the middle stanza, the Rockets turned the tables on Invermere, coming out aggressively and looking for the equalizer. Columbia Valley’s first shot on goal in the period didn’t come until well into the six minute mark.
At 8:53, Golden (once again shorthanded), had another great opportunity to score, when Aidan Ballance got himself on a partial breakaway down the right side, but again Nicolas responded with a key save.
Columbia Valley extended the margin to 2-0 midway through the period, on the powerplay, with Kinaschuk’s 30th goal of the season setup by Phillips.
In the third period, the Rockets came out determined to get back into the contest. Six minutes into the session, (with Golden for the third time shorthanded) speedster Zac Siudy moved behind the Rockie defence on a breakaway of his own, but Nicolas (for the third time) robbed a Rocket forward from in close.
At 9:50 however, the Goldenites hit with a powerplay tally of their own off the stick of Will Vernon (his 14th of the year), with helpers to Jordan Lario and Connor Funke, cutting the margin in half at 2-1.
That was as close as the Rockets would get in this one, as a Phillips marker and a late Kinaschuk goal (for his hat-trick) sealed the game at 4-1. Golden was outshot 45-31.