Saturday, December 27, 2008

Shootout Success

  • The Kelowna Rockets' erased a 2-0 first period deficit in a 4-3 home ice shootout win Saturday night at Prospera Place. The Rockets received two power play goals from Colin Long and an even strength marker from Brandon McMillan in the teams 21st win of the season.
  • Three veterans stood out for me Saturday night. Brandon McMillan (1+2=3), Cody Almond (0+0=0) and Colin Long (2+1=3) were at their best. Almond had several shots on goal, won numerous face-offs and played with determination. Funny thing is Almond didn't even register a point, yet was one of the best players on the ice.
  • I suggested on this blog that the Rockets should consider making McMillan a defenseman full time. Can I take back that comment? McMillan was extremely good Saturday night as a forward by initiating body contact and winning loose pucks. Maybe McMillan was just excited playing alongside Colin Long? That or he is determined to elevate his play with the second half of the season quickly approaching.
  • It marked the first time this season the Rockets were forced to decide a game in a shootout. All three of the Rockets shooters scored. Cody Almond was credited with the game winner after beating Blazers goaltender Justin LeClerc with a quick shot blocker side after an attempted poke check. Colin Long and Tyson Barrie were also successful in the shootout, electing to beat the Blazers goaltender on the back hand.
  • LeClerc was full marks for being named a star in this one. The 19 year-old goaltender faced 20 shots in the second period alone. His counterpart, Rockets goaltender Kris Lazaruk, struggled and looked as if the Christmas break hampered his game.
  • Rockets defenseman Tyson Barrie returned to the Rockets lineup Saturday night after missing three games with a concussion. Barrie picked up a power play assist and scored in the shootout but looked a little tentative when body contact was applied.
  • Blazers defenseman Giffen Nyren again impressed. Nyren logs a ton of ice time and doesn't show fatigue. What a great pickup for the Blazers. I also didn't mind 16 year-old Blazers defenseman Brandon Underwood, who loves to get involved physically.
  • Nashville Predators scout Rick Knickle and Ottawa Senators scout Bob Lowes took in the game.
  • Kyle St. Denis is still a month away from returning to the lineup. It's expected St. Denis will have another cast put on his broken wrist in an effort to speed up the healing process.

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