Sunday, October 26, 2008

Crowned By The Kings

  • The Brandon Wheat Kings had the Rockets back on their heels in the first period, yet it was the home team that had the visitors on the ropes as the Rockets rallied in an attempted to find the equalizing goal in a 3-2 home ice loss. The Wheat Kings scored just 21 seconds into the opening period, and were clearly the better team after twenty minutes. I thought the Rockets got better as the game went on, thanks to the power play and several big penalty kills including two 5 on 3's. Yet the game winner was scored when the Rockets were down two men late in the second period.
  • The Wheat Kings pressure was a far cry from the passive forecheck the Chilliwack Bruins attempted to throw towards the Rockets in the previous two games. The Rockets took a full 20 minutes to adjust to a pressure game that only an elite team can deliver. The Wheat Kings pressured the Rockets defensive core, resulting in several turnovers and quality chances on Kris Lazurak.
  • Evan Bloodoff wasn't given a star in the game but it was the speedy forwards work ethic and ability to make two solid hits that provided energy for his team. Bloodoff's first big hit resulted in the 18 year-old getting into a scrap with 6'3 211 pound Wheat Kings forward Jordon Hale.
  • Rockets veteran goaltender Kris Lazurak needed a strong game, and played well in his first start in four games. While he wasn't a difference maker, he didn't cost his team either. I was concerned about his outing after giving up a goal on the Wheat Kings first shot, but he settled down and played pretty well.
  • The Rockets learned before the game that forward Kyle St. Denis will miss no less than 4 weeks with a broken wrist. The broken scaphoid happened in Friday night's game against Chilliwack. Forward Dylan Hood was moved onto a line with Cody Almond and Brandon McMillan to fill the void left my St. Denis. Here is the audio of a conversation I had with St. Denis about the injury:
  • Wheat Kings forward Brayden Schenn took a late 5 minute major penalty for elbowing which almost let the Rockets back in the game. Schenn hammered Hood behind the net, sending the Rockets forward to the dressing room with under 5 minutes left in the 3rd period. The Rockets would score on a 5 on 3 to make it 3-2, but that's as close as they would come.
  • The Wheat Kings are a fun team to watch. Who was I most impressed by? Scott Glennie has great outside speed, and used it several times to break away from a Rockets defenseman. I would love to see a race between Glennie and Brandon McMillan. McMillan also has great speed to the outside, but unfortunately didn't use it against the Wheat Kings.
  • I spoke to Wheat Kings forward Brayden Schenn before last night's game. We discussed the future of his big brother Luke. We both agreed that he will likely stay in the NHL this season, and if that happens, Brayden deserves a big Christmas present as his older brother will be pulling in some hardcore cash.


Jared Comeau said...

Sorry Regan but I have to disagree about the getting better through the game analysis. I thought this was the worst outing by this club in the past year and a half, and that includes the loss to Vancouver. Passes were not on, we could not get off the outside of the box even strength. Myers easily had one of his worst games in a Rockets Uni....IMO

Regan Bartel said...

My point is they did get better after a terrible start. a) they were scored upon 21 seconds in b) they had just 3 shots in the first period.
In the second and third they generated some offense after Bloodoff's big hit and fight. Had they played harder, and with more urgency in the first period they wouldn't have had to pull out all the stops to try to send the game to overtime.

N said...

Hello. I'm from Texas. I've been lurking on your blog Regan and listen to Rockets games online when I have the chance. I'm excited about Jamie Benn for the Dallas Stars. I think he will be the pure finisher we have lacked for a long time. I'm hoping he will get called up this season :) Go Rockets and Jamie!

Regan Bartel said...

Thanks for the visit. Benn is having a great season, and could play for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships. The Jamie Benn you see today won't change much when he eventually plays pro. Sure he will be a little more polished defensively, but his quick release will undoubtedly serve him well as a goal scorer at the NHL level. Benn will be fun to watch in Dallas, but for the moment we are taking every chance we can to enjoy him as a 19 year-old junior player.

Rocketwatcher said...

Jared you are mostly right. This is a team that has/had high expectations to be a contender for a league title. Pummelling the weaker teams and getting outplayed by the better ones isn't pretty to watch. There were plenty of people in my section wondering when a third of the forwards were going to finally start to play. The same guys are showing up and the same guys are not. As for the defense Gogol is noted for being a tough kid and he was iced for all of three shifts as the Wheat Kings and even Chilliwack threw their weight around in our rink. That is how guys get hurt and the Rockets injury list is creeping up. Coaches have to fine tune this line up and figure out who is playing and who is coasting. And last, I have to admit I would have ridden the hot goalie until he faltered. Kris looked ok though. No one said this league was easy to figure out I guess.