Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Night Of 5's

  • It was a night of 5's for the Kelowna Rockets. The Rockets were a 5-4 winner Wednesday night over the Chilliwack Bruins. The Rockets snapped a 5 game losing streak on home ice with the win and moved into 5th place in the Western Conference, one point up on the Everett Silvertips, who fell 3-1 to the Tri City Americans.
  • Was Jamie Benn's return to the Rockets lineup after missing 17 games with an ankle injury a big deal? Oh ya! Benn scored a power play goal - his 30th of the season - and created several key offensive chances in the Rockets 37th win of the season. Benn's 14th power play goal of the season was a one timer off a great feed from Cody Almond. Benn makes everyone around him play better and brings so much attention to himself that it gives others greater chances on goal. No wonder Rockets fans are proclaiming him the team MVP this season.
  • Colin Long had two goals in this one, and now has a 3 point lead on Chilliwack's Mark Santorelli for the league scoring lead. Santorelli had an assist on the Bruins opening power play goal 4 minutes into the period to open the scoring. Long's second goal - on the power play - was the result of the Bruins respecting Benn on the one-timer. Long promptly saw the shooting lane and noticed the Bruins cheating towards Benn that he went to the net and had two shots on goal before banging it in.
  • Brandon McMillan got the monkey off the back by scoring the Rockets second goal late in the first period. McMilllan had gone 16 games without lighting the lamp. McMillan was very good playing alongside Kyle St. Denis and Cody Almond.
  • Luke Schenn fired a bullet from the blueline that tied the score at 3 late in the second period. Schenn has now scored goals in back-to-back games. He has a tremendous shot, but rarely uses it. Here is the audio of Schenn's laser from the blueline:
  • The Rockets allowed a season low 11 shots on goal. The Bruins simply capitalized on the chances they were given, which were few and far between.
  • The Rockets 5 goal outburst is the most goals they've score since scoring 8 against the Brandon Wheat Kings in a 8-2 win February 14th at Prospera Place.
  • Brady Leavold was held off the score-sheet playing with Long and Benn, but created some good chances. The best came with the Rockets holding a 5-4 lead late in the 3rd period:
  • Bruins head coach Jim Hiller interestingly replaced starting goaltender Mark Friesen with Matt Esposito to start the 3rd period. The Rockets promptly greeted him with 15 shots on goal.


hocus_lopez said...

It was great to see the team get the win Wednesday night. Hopefully they'll be able to build on the momentum of the home win, the offensive outburst, and the come from behind win to build some confidence in the playoffs.

As far as the MVP comments go, I have to disagree. I've made it known to several fans after the game at Manhatten Pointe that Long is my choice. No other player has played in every game this season; in 70 games he's the only player to avg over 1 pt a game this year (I believe he's at 1.4); the team relies on him on the pp, pk and even strenght; he doesn't take unwarranted penalities (look at his avg pim); he's leading the league in points and team in goals and assists; his ability to playmake is unmatched in the League; and when the team was struggling with the flu and losses in Jan/Feb he continued to produce and keep them in games where there would have been fewer wins had he not been in the lineup.

That's not to ditract from Benn's contribution/impact but IMO when selecting an mvp you have to consider contribitions throughout the entire season, not a portion of it.

rockets said...


Luke Schenn did have a strong game and would like to see him use that slap shot more. The line of MacMillan, St.Denis and Almond was very strong. Getting back to Schenn's Goal, you have to credit alot of the work to St.Denis who skated with the puck from center ice to Chiefs end and around the net protecting the puck and being able to make the pass to the point.

MG said...

Benn is the MVP this season for sure. If one looks at the season as a whole I do not think that Long would be the leading the points race without Benn, although that is speculation.

Benn is just so well rounded and controls that play so well.

My question is why was Jung in net last night ?? I not a coach by any means but with only two regular season games left I would want my #1 goalie starting ever game, getting his confidence up and being mentally prepared for the playoffs. I also don't think Jung played that well. ??

Regan Bartel said...

I think hocus lopez brings up some good points on the MVP issue, and a like his strong view on Colin Long. While I am as amazed as others at the improved play of everyone when Jamie Benn is in the lineup, let me put this question to you on the value of Colin Long. Take Colin Long out of the lineup for 17 games and tell me how the Rockets would do? Would Jamie Benn be as brilliant? I am not saying he wouldn't score, but Long's absence would be surely felt. It would be as painful as Benn's in my opinion.

As for the goaltending, the coaches thought Westblom struggled Sunday in Chilliwack. The first goal by Oscar Moller was a shot Westblom should have had, considering it was a drive from the blueline that he got a piece of before Moller jammed it past him. Jung allowed 4 goals on 11 shots last night, yet I'd have to look at the video to get an idea on if they were weak. The breakdown after the big hit Cody Almond applied on Brandon Campus and the faceoff goal that had Jung at the mercy of Evan Pighin can't be considered soft goals by the goaltender at first glance.

MG said...

Regan: Good point on Long.

Look at what I read today on former Rocket Quintin Laing. Talk about "after school special". this guys story is just awesome.

"The Washington beat writers have nominated Quintin Laing as the Capitals' Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy candidate for this season. The award is given each year to the player "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey." "

Regan Bartel said...

Very interesting. Thanks for passing that along.

MG said...

I forgot to tell you that the "scrolling message part" of the score clock facing Manhattan Point didn't wrok last night. Did you ask your parents about it ??

We need a "Quintin Laing" night at a Rockets game.

g.k said...

That dam score clock is " Bush League " at the best & the Rockets Organization as well as Prospera Place management should be embarrassed, can you imagine what all the NHL GM's, scout's & coaches think when they come to our beloved arena to watch a game. What a joke!!