An early Christmas treat for valley hockey fans with a home-and-home, two-game series between the Rockets and the Rockies. Going into the last few games before the break, Columbia Valley holds down first-place in the tough Eddie Mountain Division, while Golden is staying in the thick of the playoff race with games-in-hand over all other teams in the division.
Friday, December 17th, 2021 Columbia Valley 8 Rockets 2
Don’t let the final score give you an incorrect vision of the pace of this game at the Plywood Palace. The opening twenty minutes, along with the third period were played very evenly. In fact, Golden managed to take the play to their southern rivals right from the start, hemming Invermere in their end of the ice quite effectively. The Rocket’s defence was also effective, keeping the opposition attacks confined along the boards for most of the period. However, Columbia Valley took full advantage of their very few scoring opportunities.
It wasn’t until the 6:48 mark (and then again at 8:50), when Columbia Valley opened the scoring with a brace of goals on their first and third shots of the game. Rockets came back with one of their own at 10:23, when Henry Loewen let go a quick wristshot from the right face-off circle that hit twine just under the crossbar.
The second period however, belonged entirely to the visitors.
Rockets were back on their heels virtually all period, surrendering no less than five unanswered goals, to fall behind 7-1 at the end of forty minutes.
In the third period, the play once again evened out, as the clubs traded goals, with Rockets Alexander Johnson’s hard snapshot from the point finding the back of the net. Columbia Valley rolled to an eventual 8-2 win, despite being outshot in the game by Golden at 30-28.
And what a difference 24-hours can make……………
Saturday, December 18th, 2021 Rockets 4 Columbia Valley 2
Could very well be one of the best 60-minute games the Rockets have played this season. Erasing the previous night’s loss from memory, Rockets skated stride-for-stride with the divisional leaders the entire game. Play was even throughout the contest and, backstopped by the great (and sparkling) goaltending of Colton Day, the Rockets held period leads of 1-0 and 2-0 through the first two periods. Aidan Ballance got Golden on the scoreboard at 10:40 of the opening period, with an unassisted effort. That lead expanded to 2-0 at 13:14 of the middle frame as Derek Teare’s fifth of the season (on the power play) connected with Liam Furlong picking up the assist.
In the third period, Columbia Valley tied things up at 2-2 early, with a pair of powerplay goals of their own. But then, Colton Day shut the door on the opposition attack.
The score held until Rocket’s steady rearguard Liam Furlong struck for his first goal of the year (and the winning tally) at 15:52, on a Kade Cochlan setup, to move Golden into the lead. A Brydon Foster empty-netter sealed the Golden victory with five seconds left in regulation. Jordan Lario and newcomer Ethan Aebly picked up helpers on the play. Rockets outshot Columbia Valley in the end-to-end contest 45-41.