By dragging Sunday’s game (February 16th) into overtime, the Rockies now have the drop on the Golden Rockets.
Few fans from either team will debate that the most important competition of the 52-game season is taking place this Friday, February 21st when Columbia Valley is in Golden for the Rockets’ final match of the season.
Both teams are vying for the final playoff spot in their division. If Golden wins Friday’s game in regulation, they’ll have one more point than the Rockies. Columbia Valley can clinch the playoffs with a win against Golden, but even if they lose, the Rockies will play one more game this season, when they travel to Creston Valley the following night.
If Golden and Columbia Valley find themselves tied in the standings at the end of the season, the Rockets will advance to the playoffs, as the tie-breaking procedure forwards the team with more wins – the Rockies have accumulated 11 of their points through ties and overtime losses; the Rockets only four.
The big guns were active when Rockies were in Fernie on Sunday night battling it out against the Ghostriders.
Forward Jerome Thorne put Columbia Valley on the board first, after scoring a power play goal midway through the first, assisted by defenceman Mitch Rosko and defenceman Tyson Kapty. The Ghostriders tied the game on the power play, but seconds before the first intermission, forward Stephen Pratt gave the Rockies the go-ahead goal with help from forward Racey Big Snake.
An unassisted goal by defenceman Carter Melnyk put the Rockies ahead by two early in the second, and another goal by Pratt, after a pass from forward Matt Houston, made the tally 4-1 Rockies.
However, Fernie managed to score, bringing themselves back within two before the third period.
After a strong start, the Ghostriders, whose position is solidified in the standings, seemed hungrier for the win, applying strong pressure in the third. Two unanswered goals by Fernie saw the game head into overtime.
Chances went back and forth during the first five-minute period of extra play, but neither team could end the sudden death. Goaltender Stewart Pratt stopped 51 of 55 Fernie shots after 65 minutes, and was injured during the last minute of play during the first overtime. While struggling with an injury as the Ghostriders had the puck in the Rockies zone during a power play, Pratt managed to focus on keeping the game alive until the buzzer ended the period.
Goaltender Brody Nelson took the net for the final period of overtime. During a 4-on-3 penalty kill, the Ghostriders managed to beat the Rockies after their sixth shot in just 1:17 of the second overtime.
The Rockies earned a point with their overtime loss, allowing them to take the lead in the standings, as Golden lost on Friday (February 14th) and Saturday (February 15th) to the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.