The Fernie Ghostriders and Kimberley Dynamiters were in the valley to square off with the Columbia Valley Rockies last weekend: they were weighed, measured and found wanting.
“Tonight was a great 60 minutes effort from all 20 guys in our lineup,” said head coach and general manager (GM) Tayler Sincennes. “We battled through killing lots of penalties… it was a very complete effort with some nice goals as well.”
Opening up scoring late in the first was Teo Fath with an unassisted short-handed goal, followed in the second by Oleg Bitus (assists from Johnny Lozeman and Tyson Sanchu) and then Lozeman with a shorthanded goal (assist from Fath).
Third period goals were courtesy of Gage Sather (assists from Justin King and Danny Schmirler) and Kyran Grominsky sealed the deal with an empty netter (assist from King).
The second period offering from Lozeman was his first in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, a moment that did not go uncelebrated by his teammates.
“The team is really excited to see each other succeed, and they are coming together as a very strong knit group,” said associate head coach and GM Tucker Braund. “(Lozeman) is such a good player, he’s just been snake bit. It’s the best feeling when you get past that and even better when the whole team is as excited.”
Netminder Nate Glenn stopped 28 of 30 shots on goal in the Thursday game.
Nov. 10’s game against the Dynamiters was another win for the Rockies with the final score 4-1.
“Saturday we had one of our best starts of the season,” said assistant coach Tanner Wit. “We had a great effort by all 20 guys right from the first puck drop, puck bounces seemed to be going in our direction which is usually what happens when you put in the work.
“Nate Glenn had another solid game keeping us in it and engaged on a big, divisional win to finish off a great weekend.”
Scoring for the Rockies (all goals in the first) was Kaelan Shelton with a power play goal (assist by Wyatt Wurtz), followed by Wurtz (assists from Bitus and Luke Hamilton), then Fath (assist by Ellis McGeough) and Shelton with a power play goal (assists from Carter Velker and Jamieson Franz).
Despite the weekend success, Wit said following morning the team’s heads were already on this weekend on the road.
“We need to make sure we are able to bring the same effort into someone else’s arena.”
The Rockies will be in 100 Mile House on Friday, Nov. 17 and Kamloops on Nov. 18. They will host the Kelowna Chiefs next Friday, Nov. 24 at home in The Eddie.
Written by Stephanie Stevens
Lead image: Johnny Lozeman celebrates his first KIJHL goal, a shorthanded marker, against the Fernie Ghostriders Nov. 9.
Stephanie Stevens photos