Tuesday night at the Plywood Palace saw yet another exciting chapter written in the valley sports-rivalry between Golden and Invermere, as the two clubs met head-on in a wide-open offensive affair. When the smoke finally cleared, the hometown crowd were treated to another great Rocket comeback in an 8-6 decision.
Tuesday, Jan.31st, 2023 Rockets 8 Columbia Valley 6
Once again, the play did not start out well for the local stars, as they fell behind 3-1 after the opening period. Columbia Valley grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first ten minutes, on goals by Jordan Normand and Kyran Gromnisky.
At 14:19, Golden hit the scoreboard on a pretty play, when Nick Morin skated the puck over the blueline, made a quick move on the Invermere defence, and executed a perfect drop-pass to linemate Hayden Barr. The lanky Rocket rookie forward scooped up the puck and made a great deke on Brett Sweet in the opposition cage, to get his 10th goal of the season. Before the period ended, the visitors had regained the 2-goal margin on a Harrison Aldridge goal at 17:17.
It didn’t take long for the Rockets to motor in the second period. Again, it was the talented Nick Morin figuring huge on the play, as he banged home a loose rebound from a Nathan Kaye point shot, just :35 seconds into the frame. Aleksander Jirousek also picked up an assist on the goal.
The teams traded tallies before the midway mark. Columbia Valley’s outstanding rookie Keenan Ingram struck for his 39th goal of the year at 4:19, which was countered by a smooth-skating Evan Tsadilas marker (with assists to Nathan Kaye and Kole Giesbrecht) at 7:55.
At the midway mark of the frame, Rocket’s netminder Levi Hall absolutely robbed Invermere forward Reed Sparrow from point-blank range. That save sparked his teammates to deadlock the contest at 4-4 seconds later when, at 10:26 Austin Angus fed a perfect pass up-ice to Brydon Foster, to create a 2-on-1 break with Kylow Monkman. Monkman received the puck just over the blueline and fired a tremendous shot from 20 ft.out that found the range.
At 16:49, the Rockets moved into the lead. With Hayden Barr and Levi Lamotte putting great pressure deep in the opposition end, Liam Furlong’s shot from the right boards danced its way through a maze of players in front of the net. Before the period ended, at 19:20, Columbia Valley’s Kayde Kinaschuk got his team back on even terms at 5-5.
In the third period, the visitors again moved in front on a Jamieson Franz goal, but the Rockets remained undaunted, and went to work offensively. At 5:29 Columbia Valley was assessed a minor infraction, and it took a mere :13 seconds for Golden’s highly-skilled Ethan Aebly to tie things at 6-6 (on the powerplay), with a drive from the left circle that tucked itself into the net. Levi Lamotte and Kade Cochlan picked up helpers on the play.
Hard-working Zac Siudy was instrumental moving the Rockets into the lead at 8:38, as Kole Giesbrecht skillfully knocked down a clearing pass at the top of the circle, made a quick turnaround move to avoid a defender, and fired the puck along the ice to the back of the net in an instant.
With 2:30 left in regulation, Levi Hall again came up with a big save off a Keenan Ingram drive, to maintain the one-goal advantage.
With 1:39 left, Columbia Valley pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, and Golden fans witnessed somewhat of an unusual empty-net marker. At 18:39, the Rockets threw the puck the length of the ice to relieve some pressure, and an icing call was imminent. However, Dominic Fiorentino and Jordan Lario both utilized their outstanding speed, outracing the Columbia Valley defence to the end. A solid pass to Kade Cochlan sealed the 8-6 victory.
The win places the Goldenites into sole possession of third place in the divisional standings, two points ahead of Fernie.
Huge weekend coming up for the Golden Rockets, as they complete the 2022-23 regular season schedule with three home games. Friday night, the Beaver Valley NiteHawks are in town, Saturday evening the local heroes will be entertaining the visiting Chase Heat, and Sunday afternoon (4:00pm start) the Kimberley Dynamiters will make the journey north to the Plywood Palace. Be sure to catch all the action!!