Hot starts to season for Rockies and Nitros
The Columbia Valley Rockies are one of the early surprise teams barely three weeks into the 2018/19 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) season.
Sporting a record of four wins and one loss heading into this weekend’s play, the Rockies are off to their best start since the heady days the late 1980s and early ‘90s when Eddie Mountain ran the club from his file-stacked office in the southwest end of the arena now named after him, and Tom Renney ran the bench.
The Rockies started off on the right foot with a convincing 5-2 road win over Summerland Steam. From there they bussed to Grand Forks and skated away with a 3-2 win over the Border Bruins.
Week two saw the Rockies on the road again and Sept. 14 they outlasted the Beaver Valley Nitehawks 8-6 in a barn-burning affair. The next night they doubled up the Castlegar Rebels 4-2 at the Complex.
Sporting a 4-0 start, the Rockies ran into a determined Golden Rockets Sept. 21 at home but dropped a 3-2 decision.
Despite a hot start the Rockies trail defending KIJHL champion Kimberley Dynamiters by two points for first in the Eddie Mountain Division.
The Nitros opened the season with a 4-3 overtime home win over the Creston Valley Thunder Cats.
The next night the Dynamiters travelled north to Golden and locked down a 6-2 victory.
Game three saw Kimberley fall 5-4 to Spokane at Eagles Ice A-Rena. Revved up, the Nitros pumped in nine goals the next night in Grand Forks, knocking off the Border Bruins 9-5.
The Nitros rode home cooking Sept. 21 to a 6-2 victory over Chase Heat the Civic Centre and the next night they squeaked past the Sicamous Eagles 2-1 at home.
The Fernie Ghostriders, finally back at home in Fernie Memorial Arena (at least until November) remain in the thick of things with a three win, two loss start to the season. They currently sit fourth in the Mountain Division, two back of the Golden Rockets (four wins and two losses).
The Riders opened their season Sept. 7 in Spokane with a 5-4 overtime win over the Braves. However, things came back to Earth the next night when they dropped a 7-2 tilt to the Beaver Valley Nitehawks at the Fruitvale-Beaver Valley Arena.
Fernie followed the opening weekend of play with a 3-1 loss to Creston at Johnny Bucyk Arena and followed up Saturday with a 5-3 win over Creston.
On Friday, Sept. 21 the Ghostriders shut the door on home team Castlegar, winning 4-0.
The Creston Valley Thunder Cats bring up the rear in the Mountain, with a two win, three-loss record.
All three of the East Kootenay’s KIJHL teams are back in action this weekend.
On Friday, Sept. 28, the Rockies host the Thunder Cats in Invermere. Game time is 7:30 p.m. The Ghostriders host 100 Mile House Wranglers at 7:30 p.m. at the Fernie Memorial Arena. Kimberley is in Armstrong Friday for a tilt against the North Okanagan Knights.
On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Riders host the Rockets at 7:30 p.m. in Fernie, while the Rockies host the undefeated (6-0) Nelson Leafs at 7:30 p.m. in the Eddie. And Kimberley heads to Kelowna’s Rutland Arena for a date with the Kelowna Chiefs, also undefeated thus far (7-0).