Rockafellow shines in shutout against Langley
There’s no truth to the rumour that Jamie Tucker was masquerading as his bed Halloween night, although that’s exactly what the No. 1 Victoria Grizzlies netminder should have been doing.
He could certainly use the rest after starting nine of 10 games — including three in four nights — prior to getting Sunday off in a well-deserved rest.
Backup Garrett Rockafellow filled in more than admirably by posting his first B.C. Hockey League shutout in Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Langley Rivermen at Bear Mountain Arena, stopping all 34 shots he faced in the team’s third game in three nights.
It was a perfect showing at a critical time, as the win was also the Grizzlies’ fourth game in five nights, including a stint in Coquitlam on Saturday.
“I got [Sunday] off so I’ll be ready to go,” Tucker said of tonight’s 7:15 clash at home against the Nanaimo Clippers. “I like to play lots, but at the same time you can’t play every night. And the way [Rockafellow] played [Sunday] really helped the whole team. It was great to see him have a really good game like that.”
Rockafellow saved his best for last, making two out-of-this-world stops to preserve the win in the dying minutes. The first was a pad save off Austin Plevy followed by a remarkable diving blocker stop on Chris Tracy, both on an extended 5-on-3 power play late in the game.
“I just threw something out. I saw they had the open net so I threw something out and luckily the hockey gods saved me there,” said Rockafellow.
“Everything clicked. I saw how hard the team was battling. I felt like I had to do my part.”
He did that and more in the impressive showing.
Making just his second start in goal for Victoria in the last 11 games, Rockafellow also made a sprawling save off Michael Tebbutt on a Langley power play midway through the first period as both teams struggled to find their legs after travelling from the mainland.
The Grizz and Rivermen got to Bear Mountain Arena just an hour prior to game time, but Rockafellow looked fresh and was spectacular, especially in the last five minutes.
“He works hard in practice. He makes those saves because he works hard,” said Tucker, who is expected back in net tonight, although the Grizzlies could well go back to Rockafellow after Sunday’s outing.
“I didn’t have the greatest start [to the season] so I obviously knew that something had to change. I’ve worked as hard as I can in practises and Tuck has been a great help, too,” said Rockafellow, who was forced into action when Tucker was suspended for three games early in the season, and lost all three.
“He’s been through it and I’m glad to have him. He’s helped me a lot.”
Grizzlies’ den: Wade Murphy snapped the scoreless game at 4:19 of the third period in Sunday’s win on a power play, extending his point-scoring streak to 14 games. Linemate Jarryd Ten Vaanholt had his 13game streak snapped. Cam Lawson added an emptynetter ... This will be the sixth time the Grizzlies face Nanaimo in the first quarter of the season. Victoria is currently tied for second in the Coastal Conference with Surrey at 18 points, but has played two more games. Nanaimo and Cowichan Valley are one point back of the Grizzlies. Powell River leads the division with 19 points.