Kyle Beach Interview

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Coach Fired in BCHL

I don't normally post BCHL news, but I ran into this today. I understand some readers of this blog also have an interest in teams in Vernon, Penticton, Westside and Salmon Arm.

The top team in the BC Hockey League has made a surprising move in it's front office.
I spoke to Salmon Arm SilverBacks owner Randy Williams, who told me he has fired both general manager Garry Davidson and head coach Ty Davidson.
The moves come as a surprise considering the SilverBacks have won 15 of their first 19 games this season.
Williams says he will announce who the SilverBacks new coach will be as early as tomorrow.

Bad Mouthing the Blazers on the Scoreboard

  • The bottom line was the Rockets were very good in this game while the Blazers were very average. Every junior team has an off night, and the Blazers chose their first game of the season in Kelowna to show off their bad side. The Rockets outworked, outscored, out-chanced, and outshot the Blazers in a lopsided game. Outside of the first 19 seconds when the Blazers scored to make it 1-0, it was all Kelowna.
  • The Rockets allowed just two shots on goal in the first period, and a total of seven shots after 40 minutes. That's not bad considering the Rockets were without defenseman Luke Schenn (suspension) and Tyler Myers (shoulder).
  • Give the Rockets defensive core credit for a job well done. Tysen Dowzak seems to be the Rockets whipping boy back on the blue-line this season. But let's give credit where credit is do. Dowzak was a +3 in the game, and deserves some credit for keeping the Blazers at bay.
  • The line of Cody Almond, Lucas Bloodoff and Brandon McMillan combined for 12 points in the game. Almond led the way with a goal and four assists while Bloodoff had a pair of goals, giving him three in the last two games. McMillan had a goal and three assists in the contest, giving him 15 points on the season.
  • The Blazers scored the first goal before the lights at Prospera Place had energized themselves to full capacity following the national anthem. Referee Derek Zalaski didn't care. He dropped the puck at center ice, and away we went. Maybe he has refereed a game recently in Quesnel where the dim lighting is a constant during Millionaires home games? Despite the lighting problem, Westblom should have made the save on his only mistake of the hockey game.
  • The Rockets power play was terrific in this one, and was a threat to score every chance they got. Again the Blazers played passive against them, allowing the Rockets to move the puck around the perimeter, but this time the Rockets found seams and holes to get quality chances on net.
  • Blazer goaltender Justin Leclerc couldn't be faulted in the loss, but allowing a soft backhand goal by Rockets forward Brandon McMillan didn't help the cause, making the score 4-1 Kelowna.
  • The best Blazer? I liked Ryan Bender. He had a brain fart by giving up the puck on Colin Long's goal, but he played hard despite his team getting it handed to them on a plate. The captain was in an angry mood, and challenged Rockets forward Brady Leavold to a fight, which Leavold wisely ignored. The Rockets were in full command when Bender asked Leavold to dance.
  • It was nice to see Kyle St. Denis score again. He hadn't scored in 8 games. St. Denis again brought energy to the rink playing with Evan Bloodoff and Dylan Hood.
  • Just one fight in the game as James McEwan wrestled with Blazers d-man Mike Gauthier. No real punches thrown in this one. McEwan's fighting major was one of just 4 penalties the Rockets took in the game.
  • Justin Bernhardt is the latest Rocket in the coaching staffs doghouse. Bernhardt has been a health scratch in two of the last three games. He follows in the footsteps of Myles MacRae, who has been a health scratch on a couple of occasions this season. If your keeping score at home, Bernhardt is tied with MacRae and Evan Bloodooff for being a health scratch two times this season. Let's just say, it's not a category you'd like to be leading your team in.
  • Last night's win was just the Rockets second regulation victory on home ice this season.
  • Likely a first for the Kelowna Rockets. Two American born players playing on the defensive core. Tysen Dowzak (Minnesota) and Kyle Verdino (Arizona) were out on the ice at the same time.
  • Who was the last Rocket to register five points in a game? Blake Comeau had 2+3=5 October 30th, 2005 against Spokane. Cam Paddock was the last Rocket, prior to Almond, to record 5 points in a game against the Blazers. Paddock turned the trick with 2+3=5 against the Blazers November 3rd, 2001.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Do You Recognize This Face?


Do you recognize that face? Does he look vaguely familiar?
I'll admit he's changed since I last saw him. That's Zach Habscheid, the son of former Kelowna Rockets head coach Marc Habscheid. The 15 year-old defenseman is playing with the Swift Current Legionnaires of the Saskatchewan Midget Triple 'A' League. It's been a trying season for Habscheid and his team with only two wins on the season. I learned on Jon Keen's blog that the Legionnaires coach resigned after the 12 game mark, only making matters worse. How tough would it have to be for Marc Habscheid to see his son's team struggling on the ice? Here is a coach who is sitting in the stands with more qualifications than you can shake a stick at, likely dissecting the problems of the team but biting his tongue and keeping his nose out of the Legionnaires affairs.

Game Notes vs. Blazers

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Blazers are meeting for the second time this season. These two teams met Friday night in Kamloops with the Blazers earning a 5-3 win. Following tonight’s game these two BC division rivals won’t meet one another until November 14th in Kamloops. Overall the Rockets and Blazers meet eight times over the course of the season. Last season the Rockets were 3-1-1-0 in five home games against Kamloops, with the only setback being a 3-2 loss December 2/06. Of the five games played at Prospera Place last season, four of the five were decided by a single goal, with the Rockets winning in overtime and losing once in the extra session. The Rockets out-scored the Blazers 15-12 on home ice. The Rockets have just one win in their last 4 homes games heading into action tonight and have earned just 5 out of a possible 16 points at Prospera Place this season. The only regulation win for the Rockets at home was a 5-0 win against Calgary October 10th. Tonight the Rockets are playing game two of three straight on home ice. The Rockets host Chilliwack Friday night before facing the Bruins in Chilliwack on Saturday. Overall the Rockets are 1-4-0-1 in their last 6 games.

Breaking it Down Further: The Rockets are 13-5-1-0 with one tie in their last 20 home games against the Blazers dating back to the start of the 2003-2004 season. The Rockets most recent success against Kamloops at home came in 2004-2005 when the Rockets were 4-0-0-0 and a tie in five home dates. The Rockets last shutout the Blazers at home on December 10/05 in a 4-0 win. The last time the Blazers shutout the Rockets at Prospera Place was October 4/03 in a 5-0 victory.

BC Division Scheduling: The Rockets open a portion of the schedule playing three straight games against a BC division team, and 9 of their next 14 games against a divisional rival. Three of those games are against Prince George and Kamloops with two games against Chilliwack. The other game against a BC division opponent is the Vancouver Giants.

Who’s Hot: Colin Long had a seven game point streak snapped Saturday against Moose Jaw. Long had 3+8=11 over that period. Jamie Benn has points in six of his last eight games (4+4=8). Kyle St. Denis has gone 8 games without a goal, and 4 games without a point. Cody Almond has points in six of his last 8 games and snapped out of an 8 game goal scoring drought Saturday against Moose Jaw. Almond has points in 9 of the teams first 14 games this season. Myles MacRae is pointless in 9 games. Last season MacRae had just four goals before Christmas, before responding 10 times after the break. Lucas Bloodoff snapped a 13 game goal scoring drought Saturday night. Evan Bloodoff already has 4 goals this season, after scoring 4 times in 59 games a year ago.

This and That: The Rockets have given up a power play goal in 12 of the 14 games they’ve played this season. The exception was a 2-1 shootout win over Vancouver Wednesday and a 5-0 shutout win over Calgary October 10th…The Rockets have been involved in a one goal game in 6 of their first 8 home games. The Rockets are 0-4-1-1 in those one goal contests…The Rockets have given up 23 goals on home ice this season while allowing 25 against…The Rockets have out-shot the opponent in just 4 of the teams first 14 games this season. The Rockets have managed the feat against Kamloops, Vancouver, Seattle and Everett.

Broadcasters Quick Hits: Defenseman Luke Schenn is one of 31 players named to the WHL All-Stars that will participate in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. Games will be played in Cranbrook and Medicine Hat November 28th and 29th…The Rockets have been involved in eight – one goal games this season, including four in a row at home. The Rockets are 2-4-1-1 on those eight games…The Rockets all-time are 8 and 8 in the shootout…The Rockets loss last Friday in Kamloops was the first time this season the team has out-shot the opponent, but have failed to win the game…The Rockets record after fourteen games this season is 5-7-1-1, which is good for 12 points. Last season after fourteen games the Rockets record was 4-8-0-2, which was good for 10 points…The Rockets home record this season is 2-4-1-1 which is good for 6 points. Last season the Rockets home record was 3-3-0-2 after 8 games, which was good for 8 points…The Rockets longest unbeaten streak last season was just four games. The Rockets had 3 wins and a shoot-out loss over that period…The Rockets are just 1 and 6 in their last seven overtime appearances. The Rockets are 7 and 7 in overtime games dating back to the start of the 2005-2006 season.

Tonight’s Notables: Luke Schenn is sitting out game two of a two game suspension for a hit on Blazers forward Shayne Wiebe Friday night in Kamloops. Schenn’s next game will be his 146th of his career. Colin Long played in his 100 career WHL game October 13th in Spokane. Rockets overage forward Brady Leavold played in his 135th WHL game Oct 6/2007 in Seattle. One hundred thirty-three (133) of those games have been played as a member of the Swift Current Broncos. Tysen Dowzak played in his 100th WHL game September 26th against Vancouver. Cody Almond played in his 100th career game October 19th against Everett. Colin Joe has the most games under his belt of anyone in the Rockets lineup. Joe plays in his 191st career game tonight. James McEwan played in his 175th game October 6/07 in Seattle. Justin Bernhardt played in career game 175 also against the T-Birds October 6th. Bernhardt recorded his 100th point of his WHL career with a second period goal in a 4-3 loss to Everett October 19th.

Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:

Nov 2 vs. Chilliwack Rockets 3 Everett 4 L
Nov 3 @ Chilliwack Rockets 3 Spokane 4 L
Nov 7 vs. Red Deer Rockets 2 Giants 1 SHW
Nov 9 @ PG Rockets 3 Kamloops 5
Nov 10 @ PG Rockets 3 Moose Jaw 4 SHL

Rockets Players by Province: BC=13 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=3 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=25

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:

Most Goals Scored: 6
Most Goals Allowed: 6
Most Power Play Chances: 9 vs. Warriors Oct 27/07. Rockets were 0/9 losing 4-3 in shootout.
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 2
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 37
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 – Sexsmith 9 saves (5-0 L)
Penalty Shots: Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Shootout Game Winning Goals: Dylan Hood scores in a 4-3 win in Seattle October 6/07. Colin Long scored the game winner in a 2-1 win over Vancouver October 24th.
vs. BC: 2-3-0-0 vs. US: 2-4-1-0
vs. Central: 1-0-0-0 vs. East: 0-0-0-1

Roster Stats:
Player total: 25
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 4 Dowzak, Bernhardt, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, Brusciano, L. Bloodoff, Jung, Schenn, Almond, Benn
17’s – 6 St. Denis, E. Bloodoff, McIntosh, Myers, McMillan, Hood
16’s – 4 Bowman, Barrie, Paradis, Verdino
Average Age: 17.8
Rookies – 7

Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 4-5-0-1 2-3-0-1 2-2-0-0
November: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
December: 12 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
January: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
February: 11 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0

NHL Draft Picks-Training Camp Attendees: Jamie Benn (Dallas 07), Torrie Jung (Tampa Bay 07), Cody Almond (Minnesota 07), Milan Kytnar (Oilers 07), Tysen Dowzak (Tryout Philadelphia).

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel (AM 1150)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

  • I am still up in arms over a two game suspension handed to Rockets defenseman Luke Schenn for a hit on Kamloops forward Shayne Wiebe Friday night. The two game suspension was excessive to say the least. Schenn clocked the Blazer forward with a solid check in the corner, and was given a 5 minute major and game misconduct for charging. In the worst case scenario Schenn should have been kicked out of the game (I still don't believe it was even worthy of that), but the two game suspension is absurd. If you want to suspend the guy, one game would be a stretch...but two? Ask other GM's around the league if that hit by Schenn was suspendable. I bet you 90 percent would say no. I have a good idea which way Blazers GM Dean Clark would be leaning. Obviously he would think the punishment fits the crime, considering his player was the victim.
  • I love the WHL's new addition to it's website by offering up the top 5 plays of the week. Yet while I was watching, I am surprised at some of the brutal (bad) video used in various arena's around the league. Check out the 'plays of the week' and a goal scored in the Tri Cities. The video is terrible!! Do people actually pay to watch the game with that type of video quality? It's easier with a wide shot for the cameraman, but you can barely make out who has the puck and who essentially scores the goal.
  • I watched the hit that Luke Schenn made on Shayne Wiebe of the Kamloops Blazers Friday night. The video of the game in that building is far superior than many arena's. Not only is the camera closer to the action, but different camera angles are used. I am not asking all other buildings to go as far as Kamloops in offering different angles, but for the sake of the fans a tighter shot of the action from the camera operator above needs to be put into place. Trust me, Tri City is not the only team that needs to improve in that area.
  • I've been barking about this for a while now about Prospera Place getting a video screen or video-tron. In saying that, a quality video screen is the way to go. While the one in Kamloops is better than nothing, I find the picture very unclear at the Interior Savings Centre in comparison to others around the league. You pay for what you get. Let's hope R.G Properties keeps that in mind if they ever consider upgrading the score clock in the arena.
  • Speaking of the Blazers, David and I had the privilege of meeting new majority owner Tom Gaglardi Friday night. Gaglardi says some significant changes will be made to the way the game night experience at home games is conducted. What those are, Gaglardi wouldn't get into detail but he has promised a popcorn maker up in the broadcast area. As Gaglardi put it, you can't watch hockey without popcorn. If Gaglardi doesn't like the clarity of the replay screen in the Loops, you can bet he'll make a change sooner rather than later.
  • I found it interesting that every Kelowna Rockets shooter, with the exception of Myles MacRae and Jamie Benn attempted to go through the legs of Moose Jaw goaltender Todd Mathews in Saturday's shootout. Benn was successful with a nice snap shot to the blocker side while MacRae failed to beat Mathews in the same area. Cody Almond (goal), Brady Leavold (no goal), Colin Long (no goal), Tyson Barrie (goal) all went for the five hole.
  • Did you happen to notice the players on the Warriors bench putting their helmets on backwards during Saturday's shootout? I thought it was pretty comical. You've seen it in baseball where players in the dugout but on their 'rally caps' by putting their hats inside out, but it's a first I've seen in hockey. Maybe the Warriors have started a trend? The helmets on backwards worked, as they pulled out the 4-3 shootout win.
  • It's sad but true. How many Rockets fans could have named three Moose Jaw Warriors before Saturday's game? How many Warrior fans will be able to name 3 Rockets when the two teams collide in early December in Moose Lips? The league has so many teams, that casual fans just can't keep up. Teams out East are simply off the radar for fans in the West, and I am sure the same holds true when the tables are turned.
  • For the record, Lucas Bloodoff told me before Saturday's game that he would score. Bloodooff did score his 1st goal of the season, snapping a 13 game goal scoring drought. I was bugging Lucas before Saturday's game about two missed opportunities the night before in Kamloops. Bloodoff said, "I'll get one tonight". Lucas Bloodoff is a man of his word.
  • Rookie Rockets defenseman Kyle Verdino made his WHL debut Saturday with one shift. The shift must have lasted 20 seconds. I noticed him out on the ice in the second period wearing his unfamiliar sweater #28. Like a thief in the night, I saw him only for a split second before he quickly made his way back onto the Rockets bench.
  • How bad do you feel for Rockets forward Matt Brusciano? Still suffering from a concussion, Brusciano has failed to play a game this season. Seeing him sitting in the stands watching practice now for 6 weeks makes me feel bad for him. Just imagine how frustrated he feels.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It Wasn't a Classic Confrontation

  • The Rockets earned a point in a contest which lacked quality play by either team. The Rockets opened the scoring less than two minutes in and had a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes, before the Warriors scored the equalizer to send the game into overtime. Colin Long had a tremendous chance to win it in the extra session, but fell as he attempted to swoop to a lose puck in front of the Warrior goal with Todd Mathews at his mercy.
  • It was the first time this season the Rockets power play looked bad. The club was 0 for 9 with the extra man, and was off track all night long created few scoring chances.
  • The game surprisingly featured three fights. Not bad considering these two teams will only face each other twice this season. It was nice to see 19 year-old's Myles MacRae and Justin Bernhardt getting out of their comfort zones by dropping the gloves.
  • It was nice to see Milan Kytnar score his first WHL goal and collect an assist in the shootout loss. Kytnar needs to be more of a force offensively, and hopefully this is the start of things to come. The same can be said for Lucas Bloodoff, who scored his first goal in 14 games. Bloodoff's goal was one Todd Mathews should have had, yet the 18 year-old forward was do, after being robbed the previous night by Blazers netminder Justin Leclerc.
  • Rockets rookie defenseman Kyle Verdino made his WHL debut Saturday night, and saw limited duty in the game. Verdino made his debut on his 16th birthday.
  • Verdino was injected into the lineup after it was learned that Rockets defenseman Luke Schenn was handed a two game suspension for a hit on Shayne Wiebe Friday night in Kamloops. I did view the hit on video several times, and in no way did Schenn deserve a two game suspension for it. Look at the video for yourself, and you be the judge. Does the WHL want to take hitting out of the game? By suspending Schenn for a hit on a smaller player, it's proof to me they want little contact in the game. What's next, eliminating fighting?
  • David and I had a good chat with Kelowna resident Brady Calla before the game. The Moose Jaw forward is a class act, and talked about adapting to the Eastern Conference as opposed to the play out West. In was interesting to hear him say that the game is more wide open out East, and less defensive mistakes are made in the Western Conference.
  • I don't know Warriors head coach Dave Hunchak well, but found him to be a pleasure to talk with during a pre-game conversation. The first year coach has done a nice job with a Warrior team that many predicted would struggle this season. So far, that's not the case.
  • I noticed it, but many of our listeners may have not noticed a thing. The Prospera Place ice crew took our microphone off the scoreboard prior to Saturday's game. The microphone is used for crowd noise, and skate and stick noise on our radio broadcasts. Apparently the Prospera Place people didn't think the mic was used by us, so disabled it. So let's just say that Saturday's broadcast didn't have the added hockey sounds that listeners are accustomed too. I've been told everything will be back to normal Tuesday against Kamloops.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Game Notes vs. Warriors

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Warriors are meeting for the first of just two times this season. The Rockets return the favor when they visit the Moose Jaw Civic Centre on December 11th. These two teams met just once last season with Moose Jaw earning a 6-4 win at Prospera Place December 30/2006. In the Warriors last seven appearances in Kelowna, they’ve managed a record of 2-3-2-0 dating back to the start of the 1998-99 season. The largest margin of victory for the Rockets over the Warriors in Kelowna was a 7-0 victory November 27/99. The Warriors largest margin of victory in K-Town was November 28/98 in a 7-0 shutout win. The last time the Warriors didn’t play a game in Kelowna was during the 2003-2004 campaign. The Rockets have already won 3 road games this season, half way to the win total of 6 on opposition ice last season. The Rockets open a portion of their schedule playing four of their next 5 games on home ice before playing 7 straight on the road, and 14 of their next 19 on opposition ice. The Rockets host Kamloops Tuesday night.

Most Notable Warrior: Brady Calla will be the most well known Warrior to hockey fans in the Okanagan. The Kelowna resident has played 214 career games, scoring 35 goals and collecting 102 career points. Calla was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2003 WHL draft by the Everett Silvertips. That summer the Tips took Zach Hamill with their first pick, Peter Mueller with the second selection and Taylor Ellington with the third pick. What a great draft for the Tips! Calla made his WHL debut January 30/2004 in Portland as a member of the Tips. Calla has played 6 career games in Kelowna, and has never managed a point in his hometown.

Who’s Hot: Colin Long is riding a seven game point streak. Long has 3+8=11 over that period. Jamie Benn has points in six of his last seven games (4+4=8). Kyle St. Denis has 4 points in his last 8 games. Cody Almond has points in five of his last 7 games (6 assists), but hasn’t scored a goal in 8 games. Almond has points in 8 of the teams first 13 games this season. Myles MacRae is pointless in 8 games. Lucas Bloodoff has just one assist in 13 games this season. Bloodoff’s last goal came March 3rd of last season in a 7-4 loss in Prince George. Evan Bloodoff already has 4 goals this season, after scoring 4 times in 59 games a year ago.

Winning on the Shot Clock: The Rockets have out-shot the opponent in just 4 of the teams first 13 games this season. The Rockets have managed the feat against Kamloops, Vancouver, Seattle and Everett.

Tough Schedule vs. Heavyweights: In the Rockets first 12 games of the season they played against teams with a combined record of 51-17-4-5. That includes 4 games against Vancouver, and two each against Spokane, Seattle and Everett. It also includes a 5-0 win over WHL leading Calgary.

This and That: The Rockets have given up a power play goal in 11 of the 13 games they’ve played this season. The exception was a 2-1 shootout win over Vancouver Wednesday and a 5-0 shutout win over Calgary October 10th…The Rockets 4-3 loss to Spokane last Saturday marked the first time the team has lost a game this season when carrying the lead into the third period…The Rockets have lost four of six home games this season by a single goal…The Rockets have been out-scored 21-20 at home this season.

Broadcasters Quick Hits: Defenseman Luke Schenn was one of 31 players named to the WHL All-Stars that will participate in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. Games will be played in Cranbrook and Medicine Hat November 28th and 29th…The Rockets have been involved in seven – one goal games this season, including three in a row at home. The Rockets are 2-4-1-0 on those seven games…The Rockets all-time are 8 and 7 in the shootout…The Rockets loss last night in Kamloops was the first time this season the team has out-shot the opponent, but have failed to win the game…The Rockets record after thirteen games this season is 5-7-1-0, which is good for 11 points. Last season after thirteen games the Rockets record was 4-7-0-2, which was good for 10 points…Of the Rockets 38 goals this season, 17 have been scored in the first period…The Rockets longest unbeaten streak last season was just four games. The Rockets had 3 wins and a shoot-out loss over that period…The Rockets are just 1 and 6 in their last seven overtime appearances. The Rockets are 7 and 7 in overtime games dating back to the start of the 2005-2006 season.

Tonight’s Notables: Luke Schenn is playing in career game number 146 tonight, 4 shy of 150 for his career. Colin Long played in his 100 career WHL game October 13th in Spokane. Rockets overage forward Brady Leavold played in his 135th WHL game Oct 6/2007 in Seattle. One hundred thirty-three (133) of those games have been played as a member of the Swift Current Broncos. Tysen Dowzak played in his 100th WHL game September 26th against Vancouver. Cody Almond played in his 100th career game October 19th against Everett. Colin Joe has the most games under his belt of anyone in the Rockets lineup. Joe plays in his 190th career game tonight. James McEwan played in his 175th game October 6/07 in Seattle. Justin Bernhardt played in career game 175 also against the T-Birds October 6th. Bernhardt recorded his 100th point of his WHL career with a second period goal in a 4-3 loss to Everett October 19th.

Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:

Oct 30 vs. Kamloops Rockets 1 Spokane 2 L
Nov 2 vs. Chilliwack Rockets 3 Everett 4 L
Nov 7 vs. Red Deer Rockets 3 Spokane 4 L
Nov 9 @ PG Rockets 2 Giants 1 SHW
Nov 10 @ PG Rockets 3 Kamloops 5

Rockets Players by Province: BC=13 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=3 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=25

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:

Most Goals Scored: 6
Most Goals Allowed: 6
Most Power Play Chances: 7
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 2
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 37
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Fewest Shots on Goal Taken: 24
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 – Sexsmith 9 saves (5-0 L)
Penalty Shots: Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Shootout Goals: Dylan Hood scores in a 4-3 win in Seattle October 6/07.
vs. BC: 2-3-0-0 vs. US: 2-4-1-0
vs. Central: 1-0-0-0 vs. East: 0-0-0-0

Roster Stats:
Player total: 25
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 4 Dowzak, Bernhardt, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, Brusciano, L. Bloodoff, Jung, Schenn, Almond, Benn
17’s – 6 St. Denis, E. Bloodoff, McIntosh, Myers, McMillan, Hood
16’s – 4 Bowman, Barrie, Paradis, Verdino
Average Age: 17.8
Rookies – 7

Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 4-5-0-0 2-3-0-0 2-2-0-0
November: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
December: 12 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
January: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
February: 11 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0

NHL Draft Picks-Training Camp Attendees: Jamie Benn (Dallas 07), Torrie Jung (Tampa Bay 07), Cody Almond (Minnesota 07), Milan Kytnar (Oilers 07), Tysen Dowzak (Tryout Philadelphia).

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel (AM 1150)

The One That Go Away!

  • The Rockets deserved a better fate in a 5-3 loss Friday in Kamloops. Again a terrific start by the Rockets with several quality chances in the first period, but just one goal to show for it. Kamloops goaltender Justin Leclerc was extremely solid in the opening frame, enabling his team to find their game after a shaky opening period.
  • Luke Schenn was given a five minute major and game misconduct for a hit in the late stages of the second period on Blazers forward Shayne Wiebe. Originally no call was made by referee Andy Thiessen, but after conferring with his two linesman, was given a charging penalty for apparently leaving his feet before leveling Wiebe into the corner boards. The resulting 5 minutes major allowed the Blazers to score twice with the man advantage, and essentially put the game on ice for the home team.
  • Give the Rockets credit for battling back despite being down 5-1 in the third period. Goals by Colin Long and Evan Bloodoff made things interesting, but in the end it was simply just to deep of a hole to climb out of.
  • Rockets veteran forward Brady Leavold returned to the lineup against the Blazers after sitting out Wednesday's game against Vancouver with the flu.
  • Nineteen year-old forward Justin Bernhardt was a healthy scratch. Rockets assistant coach Jeff Finley says Bernhardt struggled in practice this week, and the decision was made to have his butt in the stands for this one.
  • Colin Long extended his point streak to 7 games Friday night. Long was in on all three Rockets goals, picking up two goals and collecting an assist.
  • It was interesting to see Portland GM Ken Hodge at the game last night. What was he looking for? You would think no one is safe from a trade out of Portland these days. Question is, who wants what they currently have?
  • Phoenix Coyotes scout Barry Trapp took in Friday's game. In speaking to Trapp, he was impressed with the play of Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers, and especially Brandon McMillan. Again McMillan had a strong game for the Rockets in the loss.
  • Blazers defenseman Mike Gauthier made his debut last night, and really struggled. I don't get to see him much considering he has played his entire career in Prince Albert, but fans in Kamloops must be shaking their head after the team acquired him this week from the Raiders. Sure it's only one game but Gauthier took several bad penalties, and showed little to no aggression on the ice. He could have made a statement to the fans, his teammates and the opposition that he indeed is a force to be reckoned with now that he is in the Western Conference. He showed no sign of that in game one with the Blazers.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Where Are They Now?


I've been asked by several fans where the Rockets three overage players from last season ended up this year. So to bring some clarity to the situation I thought I'd find out.
Twenty year-old defenseman David Schulz is playing in the East Coast Hockey League with the Texas Wildcatters. Schulz has played in just two games this season, with no points and 4 penalty minutes. Schulz is a -1.

Clayton Barthel has also landed in the East Coast Hockey League with the Charlotte Checkers. Barthel has played in just two games, with no points and 6 penalty minutes.
Last seasons team captain Chris Ray is attending the University of Waterloo. Ray is taking environment and business. Ray has 2 assists in four games, along with four penalty minutes.

Rockets Game Notes vs. Blazers

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Blazers are meeting for the first of 8 times this season. These two teams meet Tuesday in Kelowna. After playing two of the first three games in the seasonal series in Kamloops, the next three games will be played at Prospera Place in Kelowna November 30th, December 28th and January 5th. Last season the Rockets were 2-3-0-0 in five appearances in Kamloops with both wins coming by 5-4 scores. That said, the Rockets were shutout twice at the Interior Savings Centre last season by 5-0 and 3-0 counts. It’s interesting to note that after starting last season with four straight losses, the Rockets first win of the season came in Kamloops on October 3rd. Overall the Rockets were out-scored 21-12 at the ISC a year ago. The Rockets have already won 3 road games this season, half way to the win total of 6 on opposition ice last season. The Rockets open a portion of their schedule playing four of their next 6 games on home ice before playing 7 straight on the road, and 14 of their next 19 on opposition ice. The Rockets host Moose Jaw tomorrow night.

Who’s Hot: Colin Long is riding a six game point streak. Long has 1+7=8 over that period. Jamie Benn has points in five of his last six games (4+3=7) and has goals in three of his last six games, excluding a shootout goal Wednesday against Vancouver. Kyle St. Denis has 4 points in his last 7 games. Brady Leavold has three fighting majors in his last six games. Cody Almond has points in five of his last 6 games (6 assists), but hasn’t scored a goal in 7 games. Almond has points in 8 of the teams first 12 games this season. Myles MacRae is pointless in 7 games. Lucas Bloodoff has just one assist in 12 games this season. Bloodoff’s last goal came March 3rd of last season in a 7-4 loss in Prince George. Evan Bloodoff already has 3 goals this season, after scoring 4 times in 59 games a year ago.

Winning on the Shot Clock: The Rockets have out-shot the opponent in just 3 of the teams first 12 games this season. The Rockets have managed the feat against Vancouver, Seattle and Everett.

Tough Schedule vs. Heavyweights: In the Rockets first 12 games of the season they have played against teams with a combined record of 51-17-4-5. That includes 4 games against Vancouver, and two each against Spokane, Seattle and Everett. It also includes a 5-0 win over WHL leading Calgary.

This and That: The Rockets have given up a power play goal in 10 of the 12 games they’ve played this season. The exception was a 2-1 shootout win over Vancouver Wednesday and a 5-0 shutout win over Calgary October 10th…The Rockets 4-3 loss to Spokane last Saturday marked the first time the team has lost a game this season when carrying the lead into the third period…The Rockets have lost four of six home games this season by a single goal…The Rockets have been out-scored 21-20 at home this season…Kristofer Westblom has 9 career shutouts. All nine have been recorded on home ice. Westblom is 4 wins shy of 50 for his career. Westblom’s next start will be his 96th of his career…Of the Rockets first twelve games; seven have been against teams in the U.S division. The Rockets have played just one team in the BC division, the Vancouver Giants two times.

Broadcasters Quick Hits: Defenseman Luke Schenn was one of 31 players named to the WHL All-Stars that will participate in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge. Games will be played in Cranbrook and Medicine Hat November 28th and 29th…The Rockets have been involved in seven – one goal games this season, including three in a row. The Rockets are 2-4-1-0 on those seven games…The Rockets all-time are 8 and 7 in the shootout…The Rockets have been out-shot in nine of the twelve games this season…The Rockets have scored 35 goals so far this season after twelve games. Last season the team scored 26 goals after 12 games, while allowing 39 against…The Rockets record after twelve games this season is 5-6-1-0, which is good for 11 points. Last season after twelve games the Rockets record was 4-6-0-2, which was good for 10 points. It was game thirteen that the hockey club lost 5 in a row. It all started with a 3-0 loss to the Blazers October 21st…Of the Rockets 35 goals this season, 16 have been scored in the first period…The Rockets longest unbeaten streak last season was just four games. The Rockets had 3 wins and a shoot-out loss over that period…The Rockets are just 1 and 6 in their last seven overtime appearances. The Rockets are 7 and 7 in overtime games dating back to the start of the 2005-2006 season.

Tonight’s Notables: Luke Schenn is playing in career game number 145 tonight, 5 shy of 150 for his career. Colin Long played in his 100 career WHL game October 13th in Spokane. Rockets overage forward Brady Leavold played in his 135th WHL game Oct 6/2007 in Seattle. One hundred thirty-three (133) of those games have been played as a member of the Swift Current Broncos. Tysen Dowzak played in his 100th WHL game September 26th against Vancouver. Cody Almond played in his 100th career game October 19th against Everett. Colin Joe has the most games under his belt of anyone in the Rockets lineup. Joe plays in his 189th career game tonight. James McEwan played in his 175th game October 6/07 in Seattle. Justin Bernhardt played in career game 175 also against the T-Birds October 6th. Bernhardt recorded his 100th point of his WHL career with a second period goal in a 4-3 loss to Everett October 19th.

Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:

Oct 27 vs. Moose Jaw Rockets 5 Calgary 0 W
Oct 30 vs. Kamloops Rockets 1 Spokane 2 L
Nov 2 vs. Chilliwack Rockets 3 Everett 4 L
Nov 7 vs. Red Deer Rockets 3 Spokane 4 L
Nov 9 @ PG Rockets 2 Giants 1 SHW

Rockets Players by Province: BC=13 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=3 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=25

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:

Most Goals Scored: 6
Most Goals Allowed: 6
Most Power Play Chances: 7
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 2
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 37
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Fewest Shots on Goal Taken: 24
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 – Sexsmith 9 saves (5-0 L)
Penalty Shots: Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Shootout Goals: Colin Long scores game winner Oct 24/07 in a 2-1 win over Giants. Dylan Hood scores in a 4-3 win in Seattle October 6/07.
vs. BC: 2-2-0-0 vs. US: 2-4-1-0
vs. Central: 1-0-0-0 vs. East: 0-0-0-0

Roster Stats:
Player total: 25
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 4 Dowzak, Bernhardt, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, Brusciano, L. Bloodoff, Jung, Schenn, Almond, Benn
17’s – 6 St. Denis, E. Bloodoff, McIntosh, Myers, McMillan, Hood
16’s – 4 Bowman, Barrie, Paradis, Verdino
Average Age: 17.8
Rookies – 7

Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 4-4-0-0 2-3-0-0 2-1-0-0
November: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
December: 12 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
January: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
February: 11 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0

NHL Draft Picks-Training Camp Attendees: Jamie Benn (Dallas 07), Torrie Jung (Tampa Bay 07), Cody Almond (Minnesota 07), Milan Kytnar (Oilers 07), Tysen Dowzak (Tryout Philadelphia).

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel (AM 1150)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Schenn/Canada

Luke Schenn will participate in the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge next month.
The Kelowna Rockets defenseman was one of 31 players named to the WHL team that will face the Russian Selects in two games in Cranbrook and Medicine Hat next month.
Since the birth of the ADT Canada-Russia Challenge in 2003, the WHL team is a perfect 8 and 0.

I Love the Shootout When it Results in a Win

  • Without question it was the Rockets best first period of the season. The Rockets out-shot the Giants 7-2 in the opening session and had several quality chances. Had Giants goaltender Tyson Sexsmith been average, the Rockets could have had a 2-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes.
  • Who was the better goaltender? Kristofer Westblom wasn't tested in the first period, but made some solid saves as the game wore on. Tyson Sexsmith was great all game long, making some sensational saves. Sexsmith made many look easy, when they weren't.
  • Westblom was great in the shootout. Evander Kane and Michal Repik were stymied by Westblom. The best save came against Repik, who made several moves before going to the forehand and shooting the puck into the left pad of Westblom, who kept it flush to the ice.
  • He has little to show for it, but I thought 17 year-old Brandon McMillan was very good in the first period. How can you not love this guy? Great speed, decent size and soft hands make him a beauty to watch as he matures into a top line player.
  • Out-shooting the Giants - no small feat!
  • It's funny how a less than stellar start by an individual, doesn't mean they can't play a hero's role as the game wears on. I thought Jamie Benn was a non-factor, yet scored a beautiful goal that went post-and-in to give the Rockets a 1-0 lead in the shootout. Colin Joe struggled a bit early in the game, but found his game and got better as the contest went on.
  • Colin Long was the best Rockets forward. Sure he scored the game winner in the shootout, but was so composed with the puck, looking to set up anyone who wanted to go to the net. It looks like he is having so much fun out there, controlling the play and passing the puck with pin point accuracy. He's a joy to watch.
  • The Rockets took a page out of the Giants penalty killing playbook by playing a pressure game. The Rockets didn't allow the Giants to properly set up in the offensive zone, the reason why they failed to convert on the man advantage.
  • Simply it was nice to see the Rockets on the winning end of a one goal game.
  • Moose Jaw Warriors GM Chad Lang took in Wednesday's game. Lang's team visits Prospera Place on Saturday night.
  • I had to chuckle when the Giants scored to make it a 1-1 tie. After Spencer Machacek tied the game, the horn that sounds when the Rockets score went off. It has never happened before, and after a slip of the finger, it will likely never happen again.
  • Both the start of the 2nd and 3rd periods saw slight delays as the referee's allowed puddles on the ice to freeze.
  • The win snapped the Rockets three game losing streak. For a team that lost as many times as it did a year ago, stopping losing streaks quickly is a must.
  • Overage forward Brady Leavold didn't play against the Giants, after sitting out with the flu. How many other players will come down with the ailment is now the concern.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Colin Long's Family Gets Scare


The family of Kelowna Rockets forward Colin Long have had a couple of scary days, and likely sleepless nights.
Long's dad Steve, who lives in Santa Ana California told me the fires that are destroying homes and are sending families fleeing in the state of California, were just 3 miles away from their home at one point. Long says the Santiago fire in Orange County came close, but the Santana winds blew it in the other direction. Long says on Sunday he could see the wall of flames moving up the hillsides, but now they've gone over those hills and down into the canyons. While Steve Long's family is no longer in danger his daughters boyfriend, who is a medic in the navy, is helping the firefighters who need medical attention. Steve Long told me last night he will be at the hockey game tonight when the Rockets face-off against the Giants, looking forward to breathing clean air. In some respects the Long's are experiencing what we in these parts faced in 2003 with the Okanagan Mountain Park fire.

Game Notes vs. Giants

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets conclude a three game home stand tonight by hosting the Vancouver Giants. It’s the fourth meeting of the season between these two teams, with the Rockets sporting a record of 1-2-0-0 against the only team they’ve faced in the BC division this season. The Rockets have been out-scored 9-5 in the first three games, yet are coming off a 4-2 win over the Giants the last time these two teams met on October 8th in Vancouver. The last time the Giants were in Kelowna, September 26th, the visitors earned a 2-1 win. Despite meeting the Giants in 4 of their last 11 games, after tonight these two teams won’t see each other until January 2nd. Overall the Rockets have lost three straight games and have lost five of their first six home games. The only home win this season was a 5-0 victory over Calgary October 10th. The Rockets travel to Kamloops Friday before hosting Moose Jaw Saturday night.

Head-to-Head Play: The Rockets are 3-4-0-2 against the Giants at home over the last 9 games dating back to the 2005-2006 season. In those 9 home games against the Giants, three have been decided by a shoot-out. The Giants have won two of those three shootout games. The winning team has managed no more than four goals in those 9 games.

Who’s Hot: Colin Long is riding a five game point streak. Long has 1+6=7 over that period. Jamie Benn has a five game point streak (4+3=7) and has goals in three of his last five games. Kyle St. Denis has 4 points in his last 6 games. Brady Leavold has three fighting majors in his last six games. Cody Almond has points in five straight games (6 assists), but hasn’t scored a goal in 6 games. Almond has points in 8 of the teams first 11 games. Myles MacRae is pointless in 6 games. Lucas Bloodoff has just one assist in 11 games this season. Bloodoff’s last goal came March 3rd of last season in a 7-4 loss in Prince George.

Bernie Boost: Rockets forward Justin Bernhardt has four goals in his last 4 games, and has four-two goal games over his career. Bernhardt has 4+4=8 this season, after scoring just 8 times in 40 games with the Rockets after being acquired in a December trade with Regina.

McMillan Magnificent: Sophomore forward Brandon McMillan has scored both of the Rockets shorthanded goals this season. McMillan scored a beauty Saturday against Spokane, and scored another with great outside speed earlier this season against Vancouver. McMillan has 5+5=10 this season, after registering 2+10 =12 in 55 games as a rookie.

This and That: The Rockets have given up a power play goal in 10 of the 11 games they’ve played this season. The exception was a 5-0 shutout win over Calgary October 10th…The Rockets 4-3 loss to Spokane Saturday night marked the first time the team has lost a game this season when carrying the lead into the third period…The Rockets have lost four of five home games this season by a single goal…The Rockets have been out-scored 20-18 at home this season…Kristofer Westblom has 9 career shutouts. All nine have been recorded on home ice. Westblom is 5 wins shy of 50 for his career. Westblom’s next start will be his 94th of his career…Of the Rockets first eleven games; seven have been against teams in the U.S division. The Rockets have played just one team in the BC division, the Vancouver Giants two times.

Broadcasters Quick Hits: The Rockets all-time are 7 and 7 in the shootout…The Rockets have been out-shot in nine of the eleven games this season…The Rockets have scored 33 goals so far this season after eleven games. Last season the team scored 31 goals after 11 games, while allowing 36 against…The Rockets record after ten games this season is 4-6-1-0, which is good for 9 points. Last season after eleven games the Rockets record was 2-7-0-2, which was good for 6 points…Of the Rockets 33 goals this season, 16 have been scored in the first period…The Rockets longest unbeaten streak last season was just four games. The Rockets had 3 wins and a shoot-out loss over that period…The Rockets are just 1 and 6 in their last seven overtime appearances. The Rockets are 7 and 7 in overtime games dating back to the start of the 2005-2006 season.

Tonight’s Notables: Luke Schenn is playing in career game number 144 tonight, 6 shy of 150 for his career. Colin Long played in his 100 career WHL game Saturday night vs. Spokane. Rockets overage forward Brady Leavold played in his 135th WHL game Oct 6/2007 in Seattle. One hundred thirty-three (133) of those games have been played as a member of the Swift Current Broncos. Tysen Dowzak played in his 100th WHL game September 26th against Vancouver. Cody Almond played in his 100th career game last Friday against Everett. Colin Joe has the most games under his belt of anyone in the Rockets lineup. Joe plays in his 188th career game tonight. James McEwan played in his 175th game October 6/07 in Seattle. Justin Bernhardt played in career game 175 also against the T-Birds October 6th. Bernhardt recorded his 100th point of his WHL career with a second period goal in Friday’s 4-3 loss to Everett.

Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:

Oct 26 @ Kamloops Rockets 4 Giants 2 W
Oct 27 vs. Moose Jaw Rockets 5 Calgary 0
Oct 30 vs. Kamloops Rockets 1 Spokane 2
Nov 2 vs. Chilliwack Rockets 3 Everett 4
Nov 7 vs. Red Deer Rockets 3 Spokane 4
Rockets Players by Province: BC=13 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=3 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=25

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:

Most Goals Scored: 6
Most Goals Allowed: 6
Most Power Play Chances: 7
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 2
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 37
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Fewest Shots on Goal Taken: 24
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 – Sexsmith 9 saves (5-0 L)
Penalty Shots: Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Shootout Goals: Dylan Hood scores in a 4-3 win in Seattle October 6/07.
vs. BC: 1-2-0-0 vs. US: 2-4-1-0
vs. Central: 1-0-0-0 vs. East: 0-0-0-0

Roster Stats:
Player total: 25
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 4 Dowzak, Bernhardt, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, Brusciano, L. Bloodoff, Jung, Schenn, Almond, Benn
17’s – 6 St. Denis, E. Bloodoff, McIntosh, Myers, McMillan, Hood
16’s – 4 Bowman, Barrie, Paradis, Verdino
Average Age: 17.8
Rookies – 7

Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 3-4-0-0 1-3-0-0 2-1-0-0
November: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
December: 12 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
January: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
February: 11 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0

NHL Draft Picks-Training Camp Attendees: Jamie Benn (Dallas 07), Torrie Jung (Tampa Bay 07), Cody Almond (Minnesota 07), Milan Kytnar (Oilers 07), Tysen Dowzak (Tryout Philadelphia).

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel (AM 1150)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Getting the Good's from Torrie Jung

All is not serious when it comes to the Kelowna Rockets season. Sure wins are paramount at any time of the year, but David and I sat down with likable goaltender Torrie Jung for some off the wall questioning:


http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FJoking%20with%20Junger.MP3&nid=608813

As for David's question on the goaltenders lack of creativity with their masks, the fact is Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton isn't keen on the goaltenders having any fancy design. Jung and Westblom's masks are plain white, and will remain that way as long as the GM has it his way.

On a more serious thought, you have to love the play recently of sophomore forward Dylan Hood. Hood has something with American based teams this season. All three goals he's scored this year have been against Everett and Seattle. On Friday night against the Tips, Hood was up to his old antics by pressuring the opposition on the penalty kill:

http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FHood%20Sharp%20Shorthanded.MP3&nid=608836

If you are interested in any other highlights from previous Rockets games, visit http://www.am1150.ca/ and click on the tab 'Rockets Hockey' and follow the links.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back to Basics/Simon Wouldn't Have Liked It

  • Just when it appeared the Rockets had figured it out and were riding a three game winning streak, the team has come crashing to the ground having dropped three in a row. Sure all three losses have come by a single goal, so all is not doom and gloom in Rocketville. That said, the team finds itself second guessing themselves by either playing overly aggressive and taking bad penalties or far to passive. Friday night in a 4-3 loss to Everett, the Rockets took some bad penalties and were the better team 5 on 5. One night later the Rockets stayed out of the box, but were unable to deliver the ferocious forecheck that brought them success in three straight wins over Seattle, Vancouver and Calgary.
  • It pains me to say this, and I always preach the virtues of the goaltenders, but both Kristofer Westblom and Torrie Jung haven't been their usual selves during the three game losing streak. Soft goals are not the norm for these two, yet both have been guilty of them as of late. Does the irregular starts have something to do with it? I'm looking for a good excuse for them, but can't find one. Will they pull out of this? Obviously. Both are far to good not to rebound.
  • Veteran forward Myles MacRae can look at being a healthy scratch in back-to-back games in two ways. He can either not let it bother him and go about his usual business, or he can go out and prove that sitting on the sidelines hurt his pride. MacRae can show he wants to be looked at as a key to the teams success, not simply a veteran going along for the ride. My hope is MacRae proves the coaches wrong, and plays his heart out at both ends of the ice. Not being phased by a lack of playing time, tells me MacRae doesn't care. I don't believe that for a minute.
  • Seven points in 7 games. Not bad for rookie Jamie Benn. If anyone had doubts the 18 year-old couldn't score at this level has been proven wrong. How happy are the Dallas Stars to see their prospect excelling at the major junior level? It's not a knock on the BCHL, but Benn needed to face better competition and better goaltenders in an effort to improve his skills. He's found that he has less time and space to get shots away in the WHL, and the goaltenders are much better. The nice thing is Benn is still putting up impressive numbers despite the differences. Benn's smooth transition to the WHL game wouldn't have come as quickly without linemate Colin Long.
  • After 11 games, you have to come to the conclusion that the Rockets are as good as any team in the WHL. They need to play error free hockey in order to beat the 'big boys' and need a solid effort no matter who the opponent is in order to record a 'w' at the end of the night. The room for error is a small one, but the Rockets found the formula earlier this season, and now must get back to what brought them success in games against Seattle, Everett, Vancouver and Calgary.
  • Has it ever happened on a radio broadcast of a WHL game? My guess is never. Saturday night color analyst David Michaud made a gentleman's bet with Rockets forward Justin Bernhardt before the game. Bernhardt asked David and I to say hello to his mom back in Yorkton Saskatchewan, as Karen Bernhardt was celebrating a birthday. Michaud went one step further by telling Bernhardt that if he scored a goal that night, he'd sing happy birthday on the air to his mom. What happened? You guessed it. Bernhardt scored, resulting in Michaud singing happy birthday to Mrs Bernhardt. If you want to hear it for yourself, go to the WHL webcast from Saturday night. You have to tip your hat to both Bernhardt and Michaud for coming through in the friendly bet. Bernhardt came through by scoring a goal, while Michaud backed up a promise by singing out a rendition of happy birthday that would have had Simon Cowell running for the hills. I'll post the audio if you dare have a listen on Tuesday.
  • Update: Here's the audio. http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FDavid%20Sings%20Happy%20B-Day.MP3&nid=608858

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Unfortunatley Rockets Find Familiar Place in Standings

  • The Kelowna Rockets find themselves in a familiar place, last place in the BC division after back-to-back home losses. The Rockets fell 4-3 to Spokane Saturday night, yet the loss felt worse than just a one goal setback. The Rockets looked tentative physically, appearing scared to take a bad penalty.
  • The Rockets were out-shot badly in the 3rd period (13-3), a clear indication that the Rockets are still a fragile club when tied or playing with a slim lead. The Rockets were up 3-2 in the third, but a Jared Spurgeon goal to tie the game was the momentum shift the Chiefs needed, as they took control of the game from that point before getting the game winner with under five minutes left to go in regulation time.
  • Brandon McMillan scored the Rockets goal of the year with a tremendous shorthanded effort in the second period. McMillan showed tremendous speed by skating to the outside before blowing away from the Spokane defenseman for a one-on-one situation with Chiefs goaltender Dustin Tokarski. McMillan quickly went to the backhand, showing once again why McMillan will be a key player for his team as a 18-19 and 20 year old.
  • Torrie Jung will definitely want to have the game winning goal back. Spokane forward Seth Compton's goal came after a sharp angle shot that appeared to hit Jung's blocker before squeezing past him on the short side. With the Rockets playing with little confidence with the game tied at 3, a goal like that only makes matters worse.
  • Rockets head coach Ryan Huska didn't hold back on the AM 1150 post game show when asked about his teams penalty killing unit. Huska called the shorthanded unit 'brutal', as his club gave up a power play goal for the 10th time in the clubs first 11 games.
  • Give props to Rockets rookie defenseman Collin Bowman for getting into a scrap with Spokane's Cody Esposito. Bowman was the smaller of the two combatants, yet stood in there despite taking a couple of solid shots to the head. In the end Bowman staggered Esposito in a spirited bout between the two. We called it a draw.
  • The Rockets have now lost 4 of their first 6 games on home ice by just a single goal. If your a Rockets fan, you just hope those close calls which results in no points at the end of the night doesn't come back and bite the team later on this season.
  • Veteran Myles MacRae was a healthy scratch for a second straight game. It will be interesting how MacRae responds when the Rockets host Vancouver Wednesday night. Or will he sit for a third straight game? It's clear the coaching staff are sending a message to the 19 year old forward.
  • Collin Bowman's mom and dad from Littleton Colorado were at Saturday's game, plus Tysen Dowzak's mom and dad from Fergus Falls Minnesota took in both games on the weekend. We had a chance to meet Dowzak's dad after Saturday game. Dowzak's dad is a monster of a man, and is a clear reason why the Rockets defenseman is 6'5 and over 220 pounds.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Game Notes vs. Spokane

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Chiefs are meeting for just the second time this season. These two teams met last Saturday in Spokane in a 2-1 Chiefs win. Following tonight’s contest these two teams will meet against in Spokane February 19th before concluding the seasonal series February 27th in Kelowna. The Rockets are coming off a 4-3 loss last night to the Everett Silvertips. The Tips scored three-first period goals and had a 3-1 lead after one period, and had a 4-1 lead just three minutes into the second period. The Rockets would rally though, with back-to-back goals from Justin Bernhardt and Jamie Benn to make it a one goal game. The Rockets were out-shot 27-26 in the game, while going 2 for 8 with the man advantage. The Rockets tonight are playing game two of a three game home-stand. The Rockets host Vancouver Wednesday before returning to the road to face Kamloops Friday night. Overall the Rockets have lost two straight games and have lost four of their first five home games. The only home win this season was a 5-0 victory over Calgary October 10th.

Head-to-Head Play: The Rockets are 10-0-0-1 in their last 11 games at home against Spokane dating back to the start of the 2002-2003 season. The Chiefs snapped a 10 game losing streak in Kelowna last season with a 3-2 win in a shootout. Over those 11 games, the Rockets have shutout the Chiefs 4 times. The largest margin of victory for the Rockets over that period was an 8-1 home ice win February 5, 2003.

Who’s Hot: Colin Long is riding a four game point streak. Long has 1+5=6 over that period. Jamie Benn has a four game point streak (4+2=6) and has goals in three of his last four games. Kyle St. Denis has 4 points in his last 5 games. Brady Leavold has three fighting majors in his last five games. Cody Almond has 5 points in his last four games. Almond has 5 assists over that period. Almond has points in 7 of the teams first 10 games. Myles MacRae is pointless in 6 games. Lucas Bloodoff has just one assist in 10 games this season. Bloodoff’s last goal came March 3rd of last season in a 7-4 loss in Prince George.

This and That: The Rockets have given up a power play goal in 9 of the 10 games they’ve played this season. The exception was a 5-0 shutout win over Calgary October 10th…Brandon McMillan is 3 points shy of tying the point total he had from all of last season. McMillan had 12 points in his first year in the WHL…The Rockets have lost three of four home games this season by a single goal…The Rockets have been out-scored 16-15 at home this season…Kristofer Westblom has 9 career shutouts. All nine have been recorded on home ice. Westblom is 5 wins shy of 50 for his career. Westblom’s next start will be his 94th of his career…Of the Rockets first ten games; six have been against teams in the U.S division. The Rockets have played just one team in the BC division, the Vancouver Giants two times.

Broadcasters Quick Hits: The Rockets all-time are 7 and 7 in the shootout…The Rockets have been out-shot in eight of the ten games this season…The Rockets have scored 30 goals so far this season after ten games. Last season the team scored just 17 goals after ten games, while allowing 31 against…The Rockets record after ten games this season is 4-5-1-0, which is good for 9 points. Last season after ten games the Rockets record was 2-6-0-2, which was good for 6 points…Of the Rockets 30 goals this season, 16 have been scored in the first period…The Rockets longest unbeaten streak last season was just four games. The Rockets had 3 wins and a shoot-out loss over that period…The Rockets are just 1 and 6 in their last seven overtime appearances. The Rockets are 7 and 7 in overtime games dating back to the start of the 2005-2006 season.

Tonight’s Notables: Luke Schenn is playing in career game number 143 tonight, 7 shy of 150 for his career. Colin Long is playing in his 100 career WHL game tonight. Rockets overage forward Brady Leavold played in his 135th WHL game Oct 6.2007 in Seattle. One hundred thirty-three (133) of those games have been played as a member of the Swift Current Broncos. Tysen Dowzak played in his 100th WHL game September 26th against Vancouver. Cody Almond played in his 100th career game last night. Colin Joe has the most games under his belt of anyone in the Rockets lineup. Joe plays in his 187th career game tonight. James McEwan played in his 175th game October 6/07 in Seattle. Justin Bernhardt played in career game 175 also against the T-Birds October 6th. Bernhardt recorded his 100th point of his WHL career with a second period goal in last night’s loss to Everett.






Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:

Oct 24 vs. Giants Rockets 4 Seattle 3 SOW
Oct 26 @ Kamloops Rockets 4 Giants 2 W
Oct 27 vs. Moose Jaw Rockets 5 Calgary 0
Oct 30 vs. Kamloops Rockets 1 Spokane 2
Nov 2 vs. Chilliwack Rockets 3 Everett 4

Rockets Players by Province: BC=13 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=3 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=25

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:

Most Goals Scored: 6
Most Goals Allowed: 6
Most Power Play Chances: 7
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 2
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 37
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Fewest Shots on Goal Taken: 24
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 – Sexsmith 9 saves (5-0 L)
Penalty Shots: Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Shootout Goals: Dylan Hood scores in a 4-3 win in Seattle October 6/07.

vs. BC: 1-2-0-0 vs. US: 2-3-1-0
vs. Central: 1-0-0-0 vs. East: 0-0-0-0

Roster Stats:
Player total: 25
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 4 Dowzak, Bernhardt, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, Brusciano, L. Bloodoff, Jung, Schenn, Almond, Benn
17’s – 6 St. Denis, E. Bloodoff, McIntosh, Myers, McMillan, Hood
16’s – 4 Bowman, Barrie, Paradis, Verdino
Average Age: 17.8
Rookies – 7

Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 3-3-0-0 1-2-0-0 2-1-0-0
November: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
December: 12 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
January: 13 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
February: 11 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0 0-0-0-0

NHL Draft Picks-Training Camp Attendees: Jamie Benn (Dallas 07), Torrie Jung (Tampa Bay 07), Cody Almond (Minnesota 07), Milan Kytnar (Oilers 07), Tysen Dowzak (Tryout Philadelphia).

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel (AM 1150)

Stupid Penalites According to the Coach

  • Stupid Penalties. That's how Rockets head coach Ryan Huska summed up his clubs 4-3 home ice loss Friday night to the Everett Silvertips. Huska didn't like the checking from behind call Kyle St. Denis took just 5 minutes into the game, an interference call by Justin Bernhardt 3 minutes later and a bad roughing minor by captain James McEwan 3 minutes after Bernhardt's minor . The Tips would strike for two first period power play goals and took a 3-1 lead into the dressing room after 20 minutes.
  • Hooking penalties are traditionally lazy penalties. The Rockets took 3 of the them in the game. While the Rockets took just 16 minutes in penalties combined, coach Huska was none to pleased with what he saw as a momentum killer for his team. Much like the first meeting against these two teams, the Rockets were the better team 5 on 5.
  • Rockets goaltender Kristofer Westblom I thought struggled in the first period. I honestly didn't like all three goals the Tips scored in the first period, yet Westblom got better as the game progressed, as did his team, in the clubs 3rd-one goal loss of the season.
  • Jamie Benn again impressed, playing with Colin Long. Benn had a pair of nice goals, including a nifty backhand goal to draw the Rockets within one. Long again played the role of setup man, collecting two assists. Long now leads the Rockets in scoring, one point better than Brandon McMillan.
  • Evan Bloodoff was again a healthy scratch for the Rockets. Bloodoff took a bad penalty against Spokane last weekend, and head coach Ryan Huska put the hammer down by sitting Bloodoff in the stands. Bloodoff's absence meant 16 year-old Jesse Paradis was injected into the lineup, playing on the teams 4th line with Dylan Hood and Kyle St. Denis.
  • Veteran Myles MacRae was a healthy scratch. Why? My guess is one goal - an empty netter against the Tips in late September. Not good enough for a 19 year-old forward in my mind.
  • What's with Dylan Hood? The 17 year-old had a great game, despite a bad clearing attempt which resulted in Dan Gendur's game winner in the second period. Hood was very good on the penalty kill, and had great energy all night. At one point he was rewarded by being placed on the teams number one line with Colin Long and Jamie Benn. Hood is playing with a lot of confidence, and it shows.
  • Tips forward Kyle Beach played a smart game. He wasn't his agitating self Friday night, and didn't need to be. He didn't get into scrums with James McEwan or Brady Leavold early in the game, which kept the home team in a docile mood. Had Beach attempted to stir up a hornets nest by getting Leavold or McEwan involved in the game early, the Tips likely wouldn't have exited the first period with a 3-1 lead.
  • People in the WHL can bad mouth Beach all they want, but it's not coming from my lips. He's a great player and a sure fire pro. Be thankful you can see this kid now, as he'll be skating up and down the wing of an NHL team in a couple of years time.
  • It appears Tips captain Jonathon Hardy suffered a hip injury after what I thought was a clean hit by Rockets forward Jamie Benn. Hardy was in a heap of pain after the hit, and was helped off the ice and never returned.
  • How good was Dane Crowley last night? The Tips d-man was everywhere. He was forced into major minutes once Hardy went down, and was solid all night long.
  • How bad was the officiating last night? I haven't seen that many missed calls in one game in a long time. Kevin Muench, the Director of Officiating for the WHL was in attendance last night, and couldn't have liked what he saw.
  • Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton was not at last night's game. He was in Spokane watching his son Curtis and the Saskatoon Blades face-off against the Spokane Chiefs.