Friday, November 9, 2007

We've Arrived in Cougar Country!

  • You can expect Kristofer Westblom getting the start tonight against the Cougars. It will be the 20 year-old's 100th career game. It will be Westblom’s 5th straight start, with the Rockets goaltender a perfect 4 and 0 during that stretch. Westblom earned the win in goal against the Rebels Wednesday night, his 50th of his career. Expect Torrie Jung to start in goal on Saturday night in game two against the Cougars.
  • Matt Brusciano made the trip up to Prince George with the team, meaning he must be close to recovering from a concussion suffered during the pre-season. Brusciano has been skating with the team in an effort to get back into the lineup.
  • The general mood of the Rockets is upbeat heading into back-to-back games against the Cougars. The Rockets were nothing to write home about after a 3-2 win over Red Deer Wednesday night, but the bottom line is they found a way to win. In my opinion they played too cute of a game Wednesday night, especially on the power play. I anticipate more of workman like approach for a full 60 minutes against the Cougars this weekend.
  • When did the Rockets last win back-to-back games in Prince George? The Rockets turned the trick in 2005, with 5-3 and 4-3 wins February 11th and 12th.
  • No team has the travel advantage – or disadvantage - heading into these games in Prince George this weekend. While the Rockets were playing the Rebels at home Wednesday night, the Cougars were in Vancouver losing 7-4 to the Giants. The Cougars would have bused through the night while the Rockets left at noon on Thursday. This weekend’s set of games goes to the team who wants it the most.
  • Unlike last season, the Rockets could legitimately take two games away from the Cougars this weekend. I am not saying the Cougars are slouches at home, but the Rockets are playing with renewed confidence, and are playing likely their best hockey on the road. That trend better continue as the team opens a stretch of playing 7 straight games, starting tonight, away from Prospera Place.
  • The Kelowna Rockets were met by rain the majority of the ride up to Prince George. It could have been worse, it could have been snow. On the ride up to PG the hockey club elected to eat in Quesnel instead of Williams Lake, assuring that the players would feel a little more satisfied as the team rolled into the hotel at around 9 o’clock.
  • I wanted to put a shout out to the Rockets game night operations, headed by Anne Marie Hamilton and Ryan Watters. The promotion that they’ve conducted on the ice where a contestant is blindfolded and must attempt to find a prize on the ice is extremely entertaining. While it sounds like a simple promotion, the contestant uses the cheering from the fans as an indicator on which direction they should head to find the prize on the ice. The crowd is hugely involved, making for a great on ice intermission.
  • When we arrived in Prince George Thursday night we stopped in at the CN Centre. You can't help but notice the new score clock, with a nice video monitor. I didn't see it in operation, but the videotron must bring an added element to Cougar home games. At first glance, it looks great.

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