Thursday, January 31, 2008

Second Line Scoring? No Problem!

  • The Rockets needed secondary scoring last night against the Everett Silvertips, and they got it. The first line of Colin Long, Jamie Benn and Brady Leavold was dismantled after it was learned that Benn will be out no less than 3 weeks with a badly sprained right ankle. Benn suffered the injury in practice on Tuesday. To make matters worse, Long saw limited time in last night's game on the power play after the WHL's leading scorer was bit by the flu bug.
  • So with essentially their top two point getters out of the lineup, manufacturing offense from several sources was necessary, and those players came through with flying colours. Milan Kyntar, Evan Bloodoff, Kyle St. Denis and Brandon McMillan enabled the Rockets to build up a 4-0 lead before Brady Leavold sealed the deal with a power play goal midway through the third period. When you get three of your five goals from 17 year-olds, you can't but be happy with the outcome.
  • Despite a 5-1 score, the Rockets needed to be at their best in this one. The Tips were a threat for 40 minutes, generating several great offensive chances. Yet when breakdowns occured, Rockets goaltender Torrie Jung was sharp making several key saves. The games first star also recieved help from the defensive core, who did a tremendous job blocking shots and clearing away traffic from infront of the net.
  • Does Tips overage forward Dan Gendur have the best shot in the Western Conference? Torrie Jung thinks so when I spoke to him about Gendur's bullet on the post game show. Jung's best save came off of Gendur, who was robbed on a second period power play. The Tips ended the night 0 for 7 with the extra man. The penalty kill was tremendous against the Tips, and Jung was the teams best penalty killer.
  • Kyle Beach returned to the Tips lineup after being sidelined with a concussion. Beach looked rusty, yet played the agitiating style that makes him one of the most hated players in the WHL. Funny thing is, I spoke to Beach about that very fact before the game. As he told me in an interview, "I am not out there to win any popularity contests".
  • I will learn more on the status of Rockets forward Cody Almond today at practice, after Almond was sent to the ice with a huge right hand from Tips defenseman Dane Crowley late in the third period. The fight sent Almond to the ice with a bloody nose. If it's broken I wouldn't be surprised.
  • Soft calls were the norm as referee Pat Smith had the ice all to himself last night. Smith made several calls where players simply skated on an opponents stick. I prefer the one referee system because it usually results in fewer penalties. That was not the case with Smith at the helm last night.
  • The Tips trip to Kelowna was a long one. The winter-like conditions on the Coquihalla and Connector resulted in the Tips travel time taking 10 hours rather than the normal 6 and a half hours it takes from rink to rink.


MG said...

Well you are right. My questions ( a few posts ago) after the trip out east were answered last night.
Everyone on the team played a full 60min and the result showed that.
Too bad about Benn, we will miss him.

Maybe McMillan, Leavold and Long ??

Regan Bartel said...

Long should get a regular shift Friday against the Canes. He is feeling better after feeling like dirt Wednesday. Benn goes for an MRI on his ankle to see if further damage was done. Despite what you saw in the Daily Courier on Thursday, Benn is not out two games, but no less than 2 WEEKS.