Kyle Beach Interview

https://od.lk/f/ODVfMjQ0ODY0NV8

Friday, February 29, 2008

Saying Goodbye to the Key



This could possibly be the final regular season game the Rockets ever play at the Key Arena in Seattle. With the T-Birds playing in a brand new, 80 million dollar building in nearby Kent next season, I thought I’d share some thoughts of my memories of a WHL arena that was clearly designed for anything but hockey.


  • I remember my first visit to the Key Arena as the broadcaster of the Swift Current Broncos. Jeremy Reich was the most excited player on the bus as we arrived two hours before game time. Reich was traded by the T-Birds to Swift Current in the 1997-98 season and was as pleased as punch to be back. How excited was he? He gave me a quick tour of the joint, including showing me the shower stalls in a dressing room for the visiting NBA team. The shower stall was relatively normal, but the shower head was about 10 feet high. Obviously those shower heads had to cover the head of a 7 foot tall NBA Center.

  • The 2005 playoff series between the Rockets and the Birds was crazy, and the focal point of the series would be on the Rockets success at the Key Arena. The Rockets had home ice advantage in the semi final but were unable to win games at home. The Rockets lost the first two games at what was known as Skyreach Place, forcing an up hill climb with games three and four back at the Key Arena. The Rockets would shutout the T-Birds 4-0 in game three and were a 7-0 winner in game four to send it back to Kelowna for game five. For the third time in the series the Rockets would lose at home, facing playoff elimination in game five back in Seattle. Yet again the road team would prevail, with the Rockets recording a 2-0 win at the Key. With the Rockets holding a 3-2 lead in the series, finally the home team would win for the one and only time. The Rockets wrapped up the best of seven with a 2-1 home ice win. What’s amazing is the Rockets didn’t allow a goal in three games in Seattle. Derek Yeomans would earn all three shutouts. Who would have thought he’d become a T-Bird two years later?

  • I will always remember Kiel McLeod’s name being butchered by the Seattle public address announcer. He forever pronounced it ‘Keel’ over McLeod’s entire four year WHL career. The first time I heard it miss-pronounced, I turned off my mic and laughed. In future years it wouldn't phase me. No matter if the Rockets provided a pronunciation guide – in Seattle he was known as ‘Keel’.

  • The T-Bird fans celebrating after a goal is a great memory. Don't get me wrong, I did not appreciate the home team scoring, but Gary Glitters ‘Rock and Roll’ would come blaring out of the sound system as everyone stood up and yelled out ‘Hey’ at the appropriate time. It was my first experience of an American crowd getting into the game vocally. It made the then Centennial Civic Centre in Swift Current sound like a morgue. No one did it better than the 4 to 5 thousand strong who attended games at the Key Arena in the late 90’s. Now fans just down the road – in nearby Everett – have taken the decibel meter to a new level.

  • The Key Arena’s sound system is the best. Warm up is the best time to appreciate the shear volume and clarity that comes out of those speakers housed at center ice. The Key Arena is the home of the NBA’s Seattle Sonics, so the sound system was added for them specifically. That said the T-Birds benefit from a sound system, that to my ears is the best in the league.

  • My chats with a young, up and coming coach by the name of Dean Chynoweth. I conducted my fair share of interviews with the then T-Birds head coach because the Rockets played the T-Birds six times a season, not the four we are now accustomed too. Chynoweth would often joke with me over some odd ball question I was asking. Chynoweth didn't win many games in his time behind the Birds bench, but he was a pleasure to be around. He never took himself to seriously, nor that of a young broadcaster.

  • The coffee. If you want to strong cup of joe – the Key Arena press room is the place to be. Seattle is known for its great coffee, so is it any surprise the Key Arena gave you the coffee jolt you were needing prior to game time?

Josiah Loving It in Germany

It's one of the most interesting interviews I've done this season....ok it can't compete with my early season chat with NHL great Mark Messier, but a conversation I had with Josiah Anderson was awesome. Here is a Kelowna kid who played just 30 games with the Rockets two seasons ago, and is now playing pro hockey in Germany. Josiah Anderson was never the fastest skater, nor was he the most skilled, but he's been able to earn some cash and tour Europe thanks to the game of hockey.
It's one of those good things happen to good people kind of stories.
Here's the interview I had with Josiah. For readers of this blog you get the first hand listen. Anderson's interview will be part of our pre-game show Saturday night from Seattle.
http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FR09_0374.MP3&nid=675738&

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mental Miscues Rockets Downfall

  • Despite a 5-2 loss to the Spokane Chiefs Wednesday night, this was a one goal hockey game until the Chiefs scored back-to-back goals just 20 seconds apart in the third period. The Chiefs saw a two goal lead evaporate three times.
  • Mental miscues behind the Rockets net resulted in two of the Chiefs five goals. The first came on the opening goal of the game in the second period when Tysen Barrie passed the puck to Colin Joe behind the net. The puck bounced off Joe's stick and ended up deflecting to the side of the net where the Chiefs Ondrej Roman sent it to linemate Judd Black Water for the easy tap in. The Chiefs fourth goal was the result of miscommunication between veteran Brady Leavold and again Tyson Barrie. This time Leavold passed the puck behind the Rockets net, startling Barrie, resulting in a giveaway that Chiefs forward Levko Koper gladly intercepted and passed it in front to linemate Justin MacRae. Here's the audio of the miscues defensively: http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FR09_0376.MP3&nid=675157&
  • These two team's played a quick opening period, which saw the Rockets and Chiefs skate away scoreless despite 25 shots combined.
  • Kristofer Westblom got the start in goal for the Rockets. Despite giving up 5 goals on 31 shots, Westblom had little chance on several of the goals, yet his rebound control was in question on the Chiefs 5th goal. But that said, the 5th goal was simply icing on the cake for the visitors, who won for the 44th time this season.
  • The Rockets have now lost 3 straight games on home ice, after losses to Spokane, Vancouver and Seattle.
  • The Rockets sit a point back of Seattle for fourth place in the Western Conference. The T-Birds now have 2 games in hand. The two team's clash Saturday in Seattle in what is anticipated as a first round playoff preview.
  • Don't hold your breath on Jamie Benn returning this weekend to the Rockets lineup. The road to recovery has been a long one for Benn, who may not be back in the lineup until next Wednesday's home game against Vancouver.
  • Captain James McEwan told me he would be back for Saturday's game against Seattle. McEwan has missed 25 games with the lacerated wrist, and is anxious to get back into the lineup after missing the last two month.
  • Colin Long scored one of the two Rockets goals last night, and now leads Mark Santorelli by three points for the WHL scoring title. Santorelli failed to register a point in the Chilliwack Bruins 6-3 loss in Brandon last night.
  • Tysen Barrie picked up two assists last night, including one on the power play. Barrie now has 40 points on the season, with 31 of them coming with the extra man.
  • A quick pre-game pic with Spokane d-man Jared Spurgeon. The younger brother of former Rockets captain Tyler Spurgeon is having a great season, and is only second to teammate Chris Bruton for the WHL lead in plus/minus. Spurgeon is a +32. Man does that Spurgeon have hair! I have as much, but not on my head. I unfortunately have it in my nose!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rockets Game Notes vs. Chiefs

Tonight’s Preview: It’s the 4th and final meeting of the season between the Rockets and Chiefs. The Rockets are 0-3-0-0, having lost all three games by a single goal. The Rockets and Chiefs met February 19th with the Chiefs winning 2-1. The Rockets enter tonight’s game with four wins in their last thirteen games (4-7-0-2). The Rockets have lost 4 of their last 6 games on home ice. The Rockets snapped a 3 game losing streak Sunday with a 3-2 shootout win in Vancouver. Kristofer Westblom was solid making 35 saves in the win, while Cody Almond and Tyson Barrie scored goals in regulation time before Colin Long scored the winner in the shootout. Following tonight’s game the Rockets play back-to-back road games in Seattle Saturday and Portland on Sunday. The Rockets next home game is Wednesday March 5th against Vancouver.

When is Benn Back? How important is Jamie Benn to the Rockets success? When Benn scores the Rockets are 14-5-0-3. Benn's last game was January 26th against the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Rockets are 4-6-0-1 in 11 games without him. Benn could return as early as tonight with a sprained ankle or Saturday against the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Assist Assassin: Colin Long has 92 points. Last year's leading point getter in the WHL - Zach Hamill - had 93 points. It will take far more than 93 points for Long to win the scoring title over Mark Santorelli or Colton Yellow Horn. Long's 66 assists this season is the highest total since Rory McDade had 70 helpers in the 2000-2001 season. Allan Egeland had an impressive 76 assists with the Tacoma Rockets in 1993-94, but it's Marty Flichel that holds the franchise record with 79 assists for the Rockets in 1995-96.

Scoring by Committee: The Rockets have ten players with 10 or more goals this season. Last season the Rockets had just 6 players with ten or more goals. While the Rockets 74 power play goals this season are impressive, the team had a franchise high 117 power play goals during the 202-2003 season. Yes, that power play unit had the best success rate in the WHL that season with 508 power play chances.

Bringing it from the Back End: The Rockets have just 24 goals from the defensive core this season. Last season the Rockets had 22 goals from the back end. Name the two Rockets who have failed to score a goal this season? Tysen Dowzak and Kyle Verdino. Both are defenseman, yet Verdino has played the majority of the season as a forward.

Westy Wonderful: Goaltender Kristofer Westblom has won his last three starts, and has won 10 of his last 13 decisions. Those three losses came against Kamloops (twice) and Lethbridge. Westblom's save percentage in his last four games is .932.

Rockets Tidbits: Colin Long is 5 for 10 (50%) in the shootout this season. Tyson Barrie is 3 for 5 (60%). Cody Almond is 3 for 10 (30%) while Jamie Benn is 2 for 7 (29%) in the shootout…Kristofer Westblom has allowed just 3 goals on 17 attempts by opposition shooters while Torrie Jung has given up 13 goals to 31 shooters…The Rockets have scored a power play goal in 10 of their last 11 games….The Rockets snapped a 6 game winless streak on the road Sunday in Vancouver. The Rockets were (0-5-0-1) over that period…The Rockets are 6-4-0-0 in their last 10 home games…James McEwan is missing his 25th game tonight with a lacerated wrist suffered in a fight in late December against the Vancouver Giants. McEwan is expected to return to the lineup this weekend against Seattle…Torrie Jung has started 11 of the Rockets last 14 games….The Rockets have clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference for the 16th time in franchise history. The team has missed the playoffs just once in 17 years…The Rockets have 4 road games left, with stops in Chilliwack, Seattle, Portland and Tri City…The Rockets are 4 and 6 in the shootout this season with wins over Edmonton, Seattle and Vancouver (twice). The Rockets have lost shootout games to Kamloops (twice), Moose Jaw (twice), Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. The Rockets have been held to a single goal 4 times at home and 6 times on the road this season. The Rockets have been shutout twice this year.

Who’s Hot-Who’s Not: Colin Long is riding a seven game point streak (3+7=10). Brady Leavold has a six game point streak (3+7=10). Brandon McMillan has one goal in his last 15 games. Tyson Barrie has 3+7=10 in his last 11 games and has 9 points in the month of February. Lucas Bloodoff has points in 6 of his last 9 games (6+2=8). Myles MacRae has 3 goals in his last 17 games and just 2 goals in his last 12. Kyle St. Denis has one goal in his last 10.

Games Played Ticker:
Brady Leavold: 191 Colin Long: 152 Dylan Hood: 102 Tyler Myers: 124
Cody Almond: 151 Brandon McMillan: 117 Myles MacRae: 176
Kyle St. Denis: 59 Evan Bloodoff: 119 Tysen Dowzak: 158
Lucas Bloodoff: 130 Luke Schenn: 180 Colin Joe: 239

Rockets vs. Divisions:

vs. BC: 19-11-0-2 vs. US: 6-7-2-0 vs. Central: 4-2-0-1 vs. East: 5-3-0-2

Rockets Players by Province: BC=12 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=2 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=23

Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:
March 1 @ Seattle Rockets 3 Oil Kings 2 SOW
March 2 @ Portland Rockets 1 Spokane 2 L
March 5 vs. Vancouver Rockets 2 Seattle 5 L
March 8 vs. Tri City Rockets 1 Vancouver 3 L
March 9 @ Chilliwack Rockets 3 Vancouver 2 SOW

Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 5-5-0-1 3-3-0-1 2-2-0-0
November: 13 9-2-1-1 4-1-0-0 5-1-1-1
December: 12 6-4-0-2 2-1-0-0 4-3-0-2
January: 13 10-2-0-1 8-0-0-0 2-2-0-1
February: 11 3-6-0-1 2-4-0-0 1-2-0-1

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:
Most Goals Scored: 11 @ Prince George Jan 11/08 in an 11-1 win.
Most Goals Allowed: 9 vs. Lethbridge February 1/08 in a 9-4 loss.
Most Power Play Chances: 11 @ Chilliwack Feb 2/08 in a 6-3 loss, @ Swift Current Jan 25/08. The Rockets were 0/11, losing 4-0.
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 4 @ Cougars Jan 11/08 (11-1 W), vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win, @ PG Nov 10/07 (6-1 W)
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Vancouver Dec 29/07 (5-2 L), @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 41 @ Prince George Jan 12/08 (5-2 W).
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Fewest Shots Allowed: 13 vs. Blazers Oct 30/07 (6-1 W)
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 22 saves vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win. Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Swift Current Jan 25/08 – Guggenberger 30 saves (4-0 L)
Most Points by a Player: Jamie Benn had 2+4=6 vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Most Goals by a Player: Brady Leavold scored 4 goals vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Penalty Shots: Dylan Hood fails to score Feb 16/08 in a 3-2 shootout win vs. Edmonton. Juuso Puustinen fails to score on Torrie Jung Feb 8/08 in a Rockets 2-1 shootout loss to the Blazers. Lucas Bloodoff fails to score on Justin Leclerc in 4-3 loss to Kamloops December 28th. Torrie Jung stops Bruins forward Cody Smuk in a 4-1 win in Chilliwack Dec 31/07. Torrie Jung stops Hawks forward Luke Walker Nov 17/07 in a 4-1 win in Portland. Kristofer Westblom stops Everett’s Shane Harper in a 3-2 overtime loss Nov 16/07 in Everett. Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Overtime Winning Goal: Jamie Benn scored at 4:59 December 15/07 in a 3-2 win in Saskatoon. Tyler Myers scored at 3:58 of overtime December 5/07 in a 4-3 win over Medicine Hat. Colin Long scored at :44 of overtime Nov 23/07 in a 7-6 win over Kootenay. Jamie Benn scored at 1:07 of overtime Nov 2/07 in a 3-2 win over Chilliwack.
Shootout Game Winning Goals: Colin Long scores vs. Giants Feb 24/08 in a 3-2 win. Tyson Barrie scores vs. Edmonton Feb in a 3-2 shootout win. 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.

Roster Stats:
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 3 Dowzak, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, 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: 17.7
Rookies – 7

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, February 26, 2008

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

  • How important is Jamie Benn to the Rockets success? When Benn scores the Rockets are 14-5-0-3. Benn's last game was January 26th against the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Rockets are 4-6-0-1 in 11 games without him. Benn could return as early as Wednesday after being out with a sprained ankle. That said, my gut feeling is the team will give him a few more days before inserting him into the lineup for road games in Seattle and Portland this weekend.
  • Colin Long has 92 points. Last year's leading point getter in the WHL - Zach Hamill - had 93 points. It will take far more than 93 points for Long to win the scoring title over Mark Santorelli or Colton Yellow Horn.
  • Long's 66 assists this season is the highest total since Rory McDade had 70 helpers in the 2000-2001 season. Allan Egeland had an impressive 76 assists with the Tacoma Rockets in 1993-94 but it's Marty Flichel that holds the franchise record with 79 assists for the Rockets in 1995-96.
  • The Rockets have ten players with 10 or more goals this season. Last season the Rockets had just 6 players with ten or more goals.
  • While the Rockets 74 power play goals this season are impressive, the team had a franchise high 117 power play goals during the 202-2003 season. Yes, that power play unit had the best success rate in the WHL that season with 508 power play chances.
  • Here's some audio from Sunday's game in Vancouver. The goal was scored by Cody Almond to give the Rockets a 2-1 lead, but the goal was the result of point blast from defenseman Tyler Myers. http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FR09_0362.MP3&nid=673368&
  • The Rockets have just 24 goals from the defensive core this season. Last season the Rockets had 22 goals from the backend.
  • Name the two Rockets who have failed to score a goal this season? Tysen Dowzak and Kyle Verdino.
  • Goaltender Kristofer Westblom has won his last three starts, and has won 10 of his last 13 decisions.Those three losses came against Kamloops (twice) and Lethbridge. Westblom's save percentage in his last four games is .932.
  • The Rockets got an eye-opener Friday in a 5-2 loss to Seattle. The Rockets most likely opponent in the opening round of the playoffs are as skilled and as quick as they come. Here is an audio sequence of the T-Birds scoring against the Rockets off the rush. http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FR09_0356.MP3&nid=672646&
  • Remember Jesse Ferguson? The former Rockets d-man is getting married this summer. His best man is former Rockets forward Nick Marach. Ferguson has some interesting thoughts when I spoke to him on Marc Habscheid, getting into coaching, and his playing days in Portland. http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FR09_0339.MP3&nid=673809&

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hunch Pays Off

  • It’s not how you start, its how you wish. Despite being out-played territorially for the majority of the first two periods, the Rockets found themselves in a 1-1 tie heading into the third period. The final 20 minutes saw the Rockets save their best for last as they took it to the WHL’s best team – the Vancouver Giants – and it took an ugly goal from Mitch Czibere to send this game into a shootout.
  • The Rockets best player, goaltender Kristofer Westblom, was his best in the shootout stopping all three shooters he faced. While Westblom was stoning the opposition at the one end, leading scorer Colin Long – the Rockets first shooter – beat Giants goaltender Tyson Sexsmith with a pretty move to lift the Rockets to a 3-2 win.
  • I love the showboating of Long when he scored on Sexsmith. As he skated near the glass towards the Rockets bench he calmly looked at the crowd as they jeered him giving the appearance that ‘hey that goal was easy’.
  • It was interesting to see the three players selected to shoot for the Giants in the shootout. It wasn’t who I expected. Head Coach Don Hay picked Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Craig Schira and Mike Piluso. Neither of the three shooters could score on Westblom. I thought we’d see leading scorer Spencer Machacek and Michal Repik. That said, I am not about to question a coach that has led his team to first place in the overall standings and a 44 win season.
  • Kristofer Westblom’s performance Sunday night was the Kristofer Westblom of old. The overage goaltender’s rebound control was great. He was quick, bounced back mentally after an early error while playing the puck, and wasn’t beat cleanly on either of the two goals he gave up. The coaches went on a hunch by giving Westblom the start after recording 3 wins against the Giants this season. Sometimes a hunch pays off.
  • The win moved the Rockets within a point of Seattle for 4th place in the Western Conference with 9 games left to play. The fight for home ice advantage in the first round will undoubtedly go right down to the wire.
  • The win snapped the Rockets three game losing streak, and snapped a 6 game winless streak on the road.
  • The Rockets success against the Giants is remarkable. The Rockets have now beaten the Giants five times this season. On top of that the Giants have lost in regulation time to a BC Division team just four times this season. The Rockets have beaten them two of those times.
  • This game took nearly 3 hours to play. While it was a rough affair, with some big hits and a pane of glass that got dislodged on a Craig Cunningham hit on Colin Joe, the main reason behind the snail paced game was the national TV audience watching at home. Sportsnet broadcasted Sunday's game. The telecast didn’t keep Giants fans away though, as a crowd of over 14 thousand took in the game.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It Was Better...But Not Good Enough

  • The effort was better, but the same result. The Rockets dropped their 3rd straight game with a 3-1 home ice loss to the Vancouver Giants Saturday night. The Rockets have 6 losses in 9 games in the month of February. The slump cost them any hope of catching the Giants for first place in the BC Division - which the Giants official clinched with last night's win - and has them on the edge of losing home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
  • A great start by the home team, saw Lucas Bloodoff score a power play goal just over 3 minutes into the game thanks to some solid work behind the Giants net. Yet the celebration was short lived as the Giants would tie the game at one just 1:01 later.
  • The Rockets have to be credited for playing a physical game against a Giants team that pushes and shoves with the best of them. Two fights broke out in the game, including a lopsided tilt between Rockets forward Milan Kytnar and Giants forward Chris Cloud. While Cloud had the upper hand, it was great to see Kytnar stand in there. Kytnar just battles, whether he's involved in a fight or a battle for a loose puck. You have to tip your hat to that type of work ethic.
  • Had a bounce gone the Rockets way it may have been a great finish. Brandon McMillan had a glorious chance to make it a one goal game only to see the puck jump over his stick with a wide open goal staring him right in the face.
  • I had a good chat with Rockets forward Jamie Benn before the game. Benn told me he should return Wednesday at home against the Spokane Chiefs. Benn has missed about a month now with an ankle sprain, and the team has just 3 wins to show for it. If the playoffs were to begin tonight, Benn says he would be game ready.
  • When Benn and James McEwan return next week, don't be surprised if the Rockets again transform into the high powered - high octane offensive team we witnessed in January. Benn provides instant offense and makes others around him better. McEwan's leadership and work ethic will be a huge boost to a team that has looked anything but themselves in the month of February.
  • Unrelated to last night's game, a fan up in Prince George doesn't know how to treat a visitor. Apparently a fan Saturday night at the CN Centre had a verbal confrontation with Edmonton Oil Kings broadcaster A.J Jakubec - while he was on the air. Jakubec was calling the game when the fan stood up, walked up a few steps and started verbally abusing him. The Cougars organization and security did a great job of defusing the situation, but you have to wonder what the fan was thinking? Maybe he broke up with his girl friend earlier in the day and wanted a dog to kick and Jakubec was an easy target? That or he had too many beers as he watched in a drunken stooper as the expansion team beat the Cougars 5-0.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Noose Tightens



  • For the first time this season the Kelowna Rockets faced a pressure packed game, and the end result was not pleasing to the coaching staff. Up for grabs was 4th place in the Western Conference, and the Seattle Thunderbirds took it away without a fight, in a dominating 5-2 win Friday night.
  • The T-Birds scored four of their five goals off the rush, much to the dismay of Rockets head coach Ryan Huska, who was not pleased with his forwards lackluster effort in enabling the T-Birds several odd man rushes.
  • The T-Birds pin-point passing and speed was a killer Friday night. The Birds top five point getters got into the action offensively while Lindsay Nielsen was stellar defensively, including taking away a scoring chance on an apparent breakaway by Rockets forward Brady Leavold. Leavold broke in all alone, only to see Nielsen come from no-where to knock the puck off of Leavold's stick.
  • This game lacked physical play, which played into the hands of the speedy T-Birds. Just one penalty was called over the first 40 minutes before penalty trouble resulted in four power plays for the Rockets in the final 15 minutes of the game. But by then though the home team was down 5-2, so the game was essentially out of reach.
  • T-Birds forward Jim O'Brien, I beg for your forgiveness. Throughout the game I called him Doug O'Brien. The reason? Doug O'Brien was a defenseman with the Gatineau Olympiques in the 2004 Memorial Cup in Kelowna.
  • Colin Long had an assist last night, keeping two points up on Mark Santorelli of the Chilliwack Bruins for the WHL points lead. It was Long's first point against the T-Birds in 8 career games.
  • Long now has 90 points. Last years WHL leading scorer, Zach Hamill, had 93 points. Long has 64 assists, 3 more than Hamill had all of last season.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Rockets Game Notes vs. T-Birds

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and T-Birds are meeting for the third of just four times this season. The Rockets are 1-1-0-0 against Seattle. In the Rockets lone win, October 6th in Seattle, Dylan Hood scored the game winning goal in a 4-3 shootout victory. One night earlier, in Kelowna, the T-Birds earned a 4-1 victory. Following tonight’s game these two teams will close out the seasonal series March 1st in Seattle. If the playoffs were to begin tonight the Rockets and T-Birds would meet in round one. The Rockets are coming off a 2-1 road loss in Spokane Tuesday night. Colin Long had the lone goal for Kelowna. In the big picture the Rockets enter tonight’s game with three wins in their last ten games (3-5-0-2). After tonight’s game the Rockets host Vancouver Saturday night before facing the Giants at Pacific Coliseum Sunday afternoon for a 5 o’clock start.

Rockets vs. Seattle Breakdown: Torrie Jung and Kristofer Westblom have split the duties in goal in the first two games of the seasonal series. Westblom made 18 saves in the shootout win October 6th while Jung took the loss making 20 saves in a 4-1 setback October 5th. The Rockets have been out-shot in both games for a combined total of 61-40. The Rockets are 2 for 14 in the seasonal series (14.3%) on the power play while the T-Birds are 3 for 14 (21.4) with the extra man.

Rockets-Seattle Scoring:
1 2 3 OT SO Total
Rockets 2 2 0 0 1 5
Seattle 4 1 2 0 0 7

Quick Hits: WHL leading scorer Colin Long has never recorded a point against the T-Birds. Long has 0+0=0 in 7 career games against Seattle…Long is playing in his 150th WHL game tonight…The Rockets have scored a power play goal in 8 straight games. The last time the Rockets failed to score a power play goal was January 26th when they went 0/2 in a 4-3 shootout loss in Medicine Hat….The Rockets have scored 24 goals in their last 8 games. Of those 24 goals, 13 (54%) of the teams goals have been scored on the power play….The Rockets are 6-2-0-0 in their last 8 home games…Rockets forward Jamie Benn will miss his 9th straight game tonight with a sprained ankle. The Rockets are 3-4-0-1 in his absence…James McEwan is missing his 22nd game tonight with a lacerated wrist suffered in a fight in late December against the Vancouver Giants. McEwan is expected to return to the lineup next weekend against either Spokane or Seattle… Torrie Jung has started 9 of the Rockets last 11 games….The Rockets have clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference for the 16th time in franchise history. The team has missed the playoffs just once in 17 years…The Rockets have 5 road games left, with stops in Chilliwack, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and Tri City…The Rockets snapped a six game losing streak in the shootout Saturday night with a 3-2 win over Edmonton. The Rockets are 3 and 6 in the shootout this season with wins over Edmonton, Seattle and Vancouver. The Rockets have lost shootout games to Kamloops (twice), Moose Jaw (twice), Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. The Rockets have been held to a single goal 3 times at home and 6 times on the road this season. The Rockets have been shutout twice this year.

Who’s Hot-Who’s Not: Colin Long is +29 this season. Last year Long was -29. Long has 3 goals and 4 assists in his last four games. Long’s longest pointless streak this season is just three games. Brady Leavold has 2+5=7 in his last three games. Leavold has three-5 point games in his last 12. Brandon McMillan has one goal in his last 12 games. Cody Almond has goals in two of his last three games. Tyson Barrie has 2+6=8 in his last 8 games. Barrie has 37 points this season in his first year in the WHL. For comparison, Shea Weber had 18 pts as a 17 year-old while Mike Card had 29 points as a 16 year-old. Josh Gorges had 10 points as a 16 year-old. Lucas Bloodoff has points in 5 of his last 6 games (5+2=7).

Games Played Ticker:
Brady Leavold: 188 Colin Long: 149 Dylan Hood: 100 Tyler Myers: 121
Cody Almond: 148 Brandon McMillan: 114 Myles MacRae: 173
Kyle St. Denis: 56 Evan Bloodoff: 116 Tysen Dowzak: 155
Lucas Bloodoff: 127 Luke Schenn: 177 Colin Joe: 236

Rockets vs. Divisions:

vs. BC: 18-10-0-2 vs. US: 6-6-2-0 vs. Central: 4-2-0-1 vs. East: 5-3-0-2
Rockets Players by Province: BC=12 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=2 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=23

Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:
Feb 23 vs. Vancouver Rockets 1 Kamloops 2 SOL
Feb 24 @ Vancouver Rockets 1 Chilliwack 4 L
Feb 27 vs. Spokane Rockets 8 Brandon 2 W
March 1 @ Seattle Rockets 3 Oil Kings 2 SOW
March 2 @ Portland Rockets 1 Spokane 2 L

Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 5-5-0-1 3-3-0-1 2-2-0-0
November: 13 9-2-1-1 4-1-0-0 5-1-1-1
December: 12 6-4-0-2 2-1-0-0 4-3-0-2
January: 13 10-2-0-1 8-0-0-0 2-2-0-1
February: 11 2-4-0-1 2-2-0-0 0-2-0-1

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:
Most Goals Scored: 11 @ Prince George Jan 11/08 in an 11-1 win.
Most Goals Allowed: 9 vs. Lethbridge February 1/08 in a 9-4 loss.
Most Power Play Chances: 11 @ Chilliwack Feb 2/08 in a 6-3 loss, @ Swift Current Jan 25/08. The Rockets were 0/11, losing 4-0.
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 4 @ Cougars Jan 11/08 (11-1 W), vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win, @ PG Nov 10/07 (6-1 W)
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Vancouver Dec 29/07 (5-2 L), @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 41 @ Prince George Jan 12/08 (5-2 W).
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Fewest Shots Allowed: 13 vs. Blazers Oct 30/07 (6-1 W)
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 22 saves vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win. Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Swift Current Jan 25/08 – Guggenberger 30 saves (4-0 L)
Most Points by a Player: Jamie Benn had 2+4=6 vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Most Goals by a Player: Brady Leavold scored 4 goals vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Penalty Shots: Dylan Hood fails to score Feb 16/08 in a 3-2 shootout win vs. Edmonton. Juuso Puustinen fails to score on Torrie Jung Feb 8/08 in a Rockets 2-1 shootout loss to the Blazers. Lucas Bloodoff fails to score on Justin Leclerc in 4-3 loss to Kamloops December 28th. Torrie Jung stops Bruins forward Cody Smuk in a 4-1 win in Chilliwack Dec 31/07. Torrie Jung stops Hawks forward Luke Walker Nov 17/07 in a 4-1 win in Portland. Kristofer Westblom stops Everett’s Shane Harper in a 3-2 overtime loss Nov 16/07 in Everett. Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Overtime Winning Goal: Jamie Benn scored at 4:59 December 15/07 in a 3-2 win in Saskatoon. Tyler Myers scored at 3:58 of overtime December 5/07 in a 4-3 win over Medicine Hat. Colin Long scored at :44 of overtime Nov 23/07 in a 7-6 win over Kootenay. Jamie Benn scored at 1:07 of overtime Nov 2/07 in a 3-2 win over Chilliwack.
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.

Roster Stats:
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 3 Dowzak, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, 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: 17.7
Rookies – 7

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)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Scarred for Life

That's the wrist of Rockets captain James McEwan. I took the picture Tuesday before leaving with the team for Spokane. The scar on McEwan's wrist is the result of two arteries cut from the skate of Giants enforcer Garet Hunt in a fight December 29th. McEwan says he will be back in the lineup next weekend, likely against Spokane or Seattle. It's been a long wait. McEwan has missed 21 games with the laceration.
You likely wouldn't have noticed this at Prospera Place but many Okanagan kids are well aware of what it's all about. These next two pic's are the back of the seats of six season ticket seats on the opposite end of Manhattan Point Restaurant, purchased by former Rockets Shea Weber and Scott Hannan. Those six seats are donated by Hannan and Weber enabling kids from the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers/Big Sisters to attend games this season.

Timing of No Tie-Down Terrible

  • With the Rockets holding a slim 1-0 lead heading into the third period of Tuesday's game in Spokane, the Chiefs were looking for momentum. I don’t think they necessarily got it when Spokane’s leading scorer Drayson Bowman elected to fight his younger brother Collin just 10 seconds into the third. Both players did a good job of not hitting each other in the face, with the majority of the blows directed at the shoulder/upper arm area. That said, a fight 4 second after the Bowman brother’s bout did have a significant impact on the game.
  • Rockets forward Brady Leavold got involved in a scrap with Spokane’s Dustin Donaghy. The spirited tilt saw Leavold’s jersey eventually pulled over his head, and the overage was not only given a five minute major for fighting but a ten minute misconduct for an improper tie down. So in essence Leavold was lost for 15 minutes, or the majority of the third period. On a team that is already shorthanded without Jamie Benn (ankle), Lucas Bloodoff (suspension) and James McEwan (wrist), losing a 25 goal man in a one goal hockey game had a huge impact.
  • Why Leavold wasn’t using a tie-down is beyond me. If anyone on the Rockets is bound to get into a scrap isn’t Leavold the odds on favorite? Did he forget? If he in fact did, you can bet that won’t happen again this season.
  • Whether Leavold should have fought Donaghy is up for debate. Leavold plays on emotion, was challenged, and accepted the invitation to dance. What Leavold will have to learn is he is far more valuable on the ice than in the box, and Donaghy goated him into a fight that took him off the ice in a one goal game. Even if Donaghy didn’t win the fight, it is clearly advantage Spokane.
  • Torrie Jung was terrific Tuesday night. Jung made some tremendous saves and can’t be faulted for either of the two goals he gave up. While Chiefs goaltender Kevin Armstrong was named the games #1 star, I reversed the order on the post game show giving Jung first star status. He was clearly the better of the two goaltenders, win or lose. If he continues to play like that, it should answer the question of who is the Rockets number one goaltender.
  • It was only the third time this season the Rockets have lost after leading after 40 minutes. The Rockets are now 25-3-1-2 when having the lead after two periods.
  • As stated earlier, forward Lucas Bloodoff didn’t see action in this one after he was suspended for one game for a five minute major for boarding against Edmonton Saturday night. Without Bloodoff, Myles MacRae saw time on the power play, and responded with a solid game.
  • The Rockets are now 0-3-0-0 against the Chiefs this season, with all three losses by a single goal. The two teams conclude the seasonal series February 27th in Kelowna.
  • The Rockets are now winless in 6 straight road games (0-5-0-1) with their last win coming in January over the Prince George Cougars. The Rockets will try to get back in the win column on the road when they visit the Giants in Vancouver Sunday night.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bloodoff Won't Play

Rockets forward Lucas Bloodoff has been suspended for one game after a boarding major against Edmonton Saturday night. Bloodoff won't be in the lineup when the Rockets are in Spokane tonight.
Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Chiefs are meeting for the third time this season. The Rockets are 0-2-0-0 after back-to-back one goal losses to Spokane way back in October. In fact the Rockets played the Chiefs twice in their first 11 games of the regular season. The Rockets suffered a 2-1 loss at home before falling 4-3 October 20th in Spokane. Following tonight’s game the two teams will wrap up the four game seasonal series at Prospera Place on February 27th. The Rockets enter tonight’s game having won two straight, after a 3-2 shootout win against the Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday night. Tyson Barrie scored the game winner. The Rockets won two of three games on a three game homestand including a 8-2 victory over Brandon Thursday night. The only loss came in a 4-1 setback to Chilliwack February 9th. In the big picture the Rockets enter tonight’s game with three wins in their last nine games (3-4-0-2). After tonight’s game the Rockets play three of their next four games on home ice including a date with Seattle on Friday night.

Rockets vs. Spokane Breakdown: Torrie Jung has played both games in goal against the Chiefs this season. Jung made 25 saves in a 2-1 loss October 13th and made 24 saves in a 4-3 loss October 20th. The Chiefs have out-shot the Rockets in both meetings this season, or by a combined total of 55-41. The Rockets are 2/10 in the seasonal series on the power play while the Chiefs are 4/10 with the extra man.

Rockets-Spokane Scoring:
1 2 3 OT Total
Rockets 0 4 0 0 4
Spokane 2 1 3 0 6

Quick Hits: The Rockets have lost 4 straight games in Spokane. The Rockets were winless this season and suffered two losses and a shootout loss in Spokane last season. The Rockets last win at the Spokane Arena was February 8, 2006 in a 4-1 win. Kristofer Westblom was named the games first star in the victory. Tory Bodie, Clayton Bauer, Alexander Edler and Kirt Hill scored for the Rockets in the win…Kristofer Westblom is 6-2-1-0 in 9 career games against the Chiefs dating back to the 2004-2005 season…Rockets forward Jamie Benn will miss his 8th straight game tonight with a sprained ankle. The Rockets are 3-3-0-1 in his absence…Torrie Jung has started 8 of the Rockets last 10 games….The Rockets have clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference for the 16th time in franchise history. The team has missed the playoffs just once in 17 years…The Rockets have 5 road games left, with stops in Chilliwack, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and Tri City…The Rockets snapped a six game losing streak in the shootout Saturday night with a 3-2 win over Edmonton. The Rockets are 3 and 6 in the shootout this season with wins over Edmonton, Seattle and Vancouver. The Rockets have lost shootout games to Kamloops (twice), Moose Jaw (twice), Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. The Rockets have been held to a single goal 3 times at home and 5 times on the road this season. The Rockets have been shutout twice this year.

Who’s Hot-Who’s Not: Colin Long is +29 this season. Last year Long was -29. Long has 2 goals and 4 assists in his last three games. Brady Leavold has 2+4=6 in his last two games. Leavold has three-5 point games in his last 11 games. Brandon McMillan has one goal in his last 11 games. Cody Almond has goals in back-to-back games. Tyson Barrie has 2+6=8 in his last 7 games. Barrie has 37 points this season in his first year in the WHL. For comparison, Shea Weber had 18 pts as a 17 year-old while Mike Card had 29 points as a 16 year-old. Josh Gorges had 10 points as a 16 year-old. Lucas Bloodoff has points in 5 of his last 6 games (5+2=7).

Games Played Ticker:
Brady Leavold: 187 Colin Long: 148 Dylan Hood: 99 Tyler Myers: 120
Cody Almond: 147 Brandon McMillan: 113 Myles MacRae: 172
Kyle St. Denis: 55 Evan Bloodoff: 115 Tysen Dowzak: 154
Lucas Bloodoff: 127 Luke Schenn: 176 Colin Joe: 235

Rockets vs. Divisions:

vs. BC: 18-10-0-2 vs. US: 6-5-2-0
vs. Central: 4-2-0-1 vs. East: 5-3-0-2

Rockets Players by Province: BC=12 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=2 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=23

Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:
Feb 22 vs. Seattle Rockets 3 Chilliwack 6 L
Feb 23 vs. Vancouver Rockets 1 Kamloops 2 SOL
Feb 24 @ Vancouver Rockets 1 Chilliwack 4 L
Feb 27 vs. Spokane Rockets 8 Brandon 2 W
Rockets 3 Oil Kings 2 SOW
Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 5-5-0-1 3-3-0-1 2-2-0-0
November: 13 9-2-1-1 4-1-0-0 5-1-1-1
December: 12 6-4-0-2 2-1-0-0 4-3-0-2
January: 13 10-2-0-1 8-0-0-0 2-2-0-1
February: 11 2-3-0-1 2-2-0-0 0-1-0-1

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:
Most Goals Scored: 11 @ Prince George Jan 11/08 in an 11-1 win.
Most Goals Allowed: 9 vs. Lethbridge February 1/08 in a 9-4 loss.
Most Power Play Chances: 11 @ Chilliwack Feb 2/08 in a 6-3 loss, @ Swift Current Jan 25/08. The Rockets were 0/11, losing 4-0.
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 4 @ Cougars Jan 11/08 (11-1 W), vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win, @ PG Nov 10/07 (6-1 W)
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Vancouver Dec 29/07 (5-2 L), @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 41 @ Prince George Jan 12/08 (5-2 W).
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Fewest Shots Allowed: 13 vs. Blazers Oct 30/07 (6-1 W)
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 22 saves vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win. Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Swift Current Jan 25/08 – Guggenberger 30 saves (4-0 L)
Most Points by a Player: Jamie Benn had 2+4=6 vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Most Goals by a Player: Brady Leavold scored 4 goals vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Penalty Shots: Dylan Hood fails to score Feb 16/08 in a 3-2 shootout win vs. Edmonton. Juuso Puustinen fails to score on Torrie Jung Feb 8/08 in a Rockets 2-1 shootout loss to the Blazers. Lucas Bloodoff fails to score on Justin Leclerc in 4-3 loss to Kamloops December 28th. Torrie Jung stops Bruins forward Cody Smuk in a 4-1 win in Chilliwack Dec 31/07. Torrie Jung stops Hawks forward Luke Walker Nov 17/07 in a 4-1 win in Portland. Kristofer Westblom stops Everett’s Shane Harper in a 3-2 overtime loss Nov 16/07 in Everett. Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Overtime Winning Goal: Jamie Benn scored at 4:59 December 15/07 in a 3-2 win in Saskatoon. Tyler Myers scored at 3:58 of overtime December 5/07 in a 4-3 win over Medicine Hat. Colin Long scored at :44 of overtime Nov 23/07 in a 7-6 win over Kootenay. Jamie Benn scored at 1:07 of overtime Nov 2/07 in a 3-2 win over Chilliwack.
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.

Roster Stats:
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 3 Dowzak, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, 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: 17.7
Rookies – 7

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, February 18, 2008

Schulz Signs with Moose

The Manitoba Moose, the AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, announced they have signed defenceman David Schulz from the Texas Wildcatters to a pro tryout contract.

Schulz, 22, has played in 28 games so far this season with the Wildcatters where he’s scored four goals and eight assists for 12 points and 24 penalty minutes. The Winkler, MB native also appeared in nine playoff games with the CHL’s Memphis Riverkings last year where he collected two penalty minutes. Schulz played five seasons and 302 career games in the WHL with the Swift Current Broncos, Saskatoon Blades, and Spokane Chiefs. In that time, he scored 23 goals and 71 assists for 94 points and 433 penalty minutes.

Schulz was originally drafted by the Canucks in the eighth round, 254th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

  • While overager Kristofer Westblom has started the last two games in goal, look for Torrie Jung to get the nod when the Rockets visit the Chiefs in Spokane Tuesday. Westblom has registered back-to-back wins, yet for my money he simply does not look comfortable.
  • Here is part two of a conversation with former Rockets Head Coach Marc Habscheid. http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FR09_0328.MP3&nid=668980&
  • Gregg Drinnan did a great job last week with his in-depth article on the 25 most powerful people in the WHL. I think he may have missed one person on that list though - himself. Speak to any coach or media person who covers this league and no one will question who the authority is when it comes to the inner workings of teams across the league. Drinnan is well connected and well respected across the WHL. Some even fear him for what he might write about them. If you don't think other GM's and coaches across the league don't look at his blog for all the 'dirt' on others, you are fooling yourself. Drinnan is one person who has power at his finger tips with a stroke of the keyboard.
  • I once again applaud Anne Fowler at the Tri City Herald for conducting the Best of the West poll. Again some interesting results, and some no brainers. I was surprised that Giants goaltender Tysen Sexsmith was regarded as the most overrated player in the conference. Many believe that if Sexsmith played on a team that didn't focus on defense, he would be lit up like a Christmas tree. Sexsmith has company when it comes to those doubting his play. Kelly Guard was given the same treatment when he backstopped the Rockets to a Memorial Cup title in 2004. Both Sexsmith and Guard have something those naysayers don't have. A Memorial Cup ring.
  • Here is the audio of the conversation with Edmonton Oil Kings Assistant Coach Rocky Thompson. I love the confident swagger he has about him. http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FR09_0336.MP3&nid=668977&
  • Speaking of the Oil Kings, it was great to meet up with A.J Jakubec after Saturday's game. A.J and I teamed up as the voices of the Rockets during the 2000-2001 season. Jakubec always had a passion for play-by-play, yet that season he waited his turn and played the role of the color analyst. Now he's calling games in the WHL, and enjoying every minute of it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Shootout Success...Finally!

  • The Rockets were involved in their 9th shootout game of the season, and after six straight shootout losses, Tyson Barrie scored the game winner in the teams 33rd win of the season. The Rockets are 3 and 6 this season in the shootout. The Rockets have shootout wins over the Oil Kings, Vancouver and Seattle. The Rockets have suffered losses in the shootout to Moose Jaw (twice), Medicine Hat, Kamloops (twice) and Lethbridge.
  • Three of the Rockets four shooters scored in the shootout. While Barrie was credited with the game winner, Brady Leavold and Colin Long also scored. Three of the Rockets four shooters who scored were right hand shots. Cody Almond was the only one to miss with a left hand blade.
  • Oil Kings goaltender Alex Archibald was very good in this one. Archibald was steady, making some nice saves when the Rockets threatened late in the 2nd to make it 3-1. Instead it was just a one goal game before the Oil Kings found the equalizer 14 minutes into the third.
  • Lucas Bloodoff was booted out of this game after a five minute major penalty in the second period for boarding. While the fans didn't like the call, Oil Kings forward Brent Raedeke was down for several minutes before skating slowly off the ice. Raedeke stayed in the game while Bloodoff had an early shower.
  • I still love the one referee system. Matt Kirk called a great game Saturday night. Rockets fans won't agree considering the Rockets were given 27 minutes in penalties compared to the Oil Kings 12, but Kirk was right on the money the majority of the night.
  • It was great to run into Rocky Thompson before the game. The Oil Kings assistant coach was one of my favorite interviews when he played junior in Medicine Hat and Swift Current, and he again didn't disappoint in a pre-game chat. I will post the interview here on Sunday, as our chat revolved around fighting. Thompson and I don't know each other well, but he and I were with the Broncos back in the 1996-97 season. Thompson was acquired along with Josh Green from the Tigers that year in a lopsided trade that would never be pulled off today. Thompson was the heavy weight champion when he played junior in the mid 90's, and like so many tough players on the ice, he's a class act off it.
  • Oil Kings forward Brett Breitkreuz must have been licking his chops when he was on the ice surface in overtime. How sweet would it have been for him to score the game winner against his old team? I thought maybe he'd get a chance in the shootout, but the coaching staff elected to keep him on the bench as a spectator.
  • How about the Prospera Place ice crew's ability to quickly clean the ice for the shootout? Unbelievably quick.Wow! It was as painful as a root canal when the Rockets were involved in a shootout game in Kamloops earlier this month. The ice crew at Prospera made 3 passes, and it was game on. Now that's the way it should be done.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rockets Game Notes vs. Oil Kings

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets are playing game three of a three game homestand tonight. Following tonight’s game the Rockets are in Spokane Tuesday before hosting the Seattle Thunderbirds Friday night. The Rockets are coming off an 8-2 home ice win over Brandon Thursday night. Brady Leavold had two goals and three assists in the win, snapping a two game home ice losing streak. The two teams were scoreless after one period before the Rockets exploded for six goals in the second period. Colin Long had a goal and three assists in the team’s 32nd win of the season. The Rockets enter tonight’s game with two wins in their last eight games (2-4-0-2). After tonight’s game the Rockets play 4 of their next 7 games on the road.

Rockets vs. Expansion Teams: When it comes to success against expansion teams, the Rockets results have been mixed. Last season the Rockets lost 3-1 to the expansion Chilliwack Bruins. In 2003 the Rockets were a 3-2 winner over the then expansion Everett Silvertips. In 2001 the Rockets earned a 3-3 tie in their first meeting ever against the Vancouver Giants. During the 1996-97 season the Rockets faced the expansion Edmonton Ice. It was February 15/97 when the Rockets earned a 7-5 win. The game - in Kelowna - saw the Ice take a 5-1 lead into the third period before the Rockets would score 6 unanswered goals in the final 10:32 of the final frame. Brett McLean led the way with two goals and three assists. Aaron MacDonald made 20 saves for the Rockets in goal while Jordon Landry had a goal and an assist in the loss for the expansion Ice.

Rockets Explode for Six: The Rockets scored 6 goals in the second period of Thursday’s 8-2 win over Brandon. It marks the third time this season the Rockets have scored six goals in one period. The Rockets scored six times in the first period in an 11-1 road win in Prince George January 11th. The Rockets also scored 6 goals in the second period of a 9-2 home ice win over Portland January 23rd.

Kruiser is Back in K-Town: His nickname is ‘Kruiser’ with the Edmonton Oil Kings, yet Rockets fans know him as Brett Breitkreuz. Breitkruez was acquired from the Rockets by the Oil Kings in the WHL expansion draft. Breitkruez played 58 games with the Kelowna Rockets last season, scoring 8 goals and collecting 14 points. Breitkruez made his WHL and Kelowna Rockets debut September 29/06 in Everett and got into a fight that night with Kyle Beach. The Springside Saskatchewan resident scored his first WHL goal October 18/06 against the Prince George Cougars. Breitkreuz was the Rockets 2nd round pick in the 2004 WHL draft. Breitkreuz was taken 20 players after Rockets d-man Luke Schenn was selected in the opening round.

Quick Hits: Rockets forward Jamie Benn will miss his 7th straight game tonight with a sprained ankle. The Rockets are 2-3-0-1 in his absence…Torrie Jung has started 8 of the Rockets last 9 games….The Rockets have clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference for the 16th time in franchise history. The team has missed the playoffs just once in 17 years…The Rockets have 6 road games left, with stops in Chilliwack, Vancouver, Spokane, Seattle, Portland and Tri City…The Rockets have lost 6 times in the shootout this season. That’s a league high shared with Moose Jaw and Edmonton…The Rockets have been held to a single goal 3 times at home and 5 times on the road this season. The Rockets have been shutout twice this year.

Games Played Ticker:
Brady Leavold: 186 Colin Long: 147 Dylan Hood: 98 Tyler Myers: 119
Cody Almond: 146 Brandon McMillan: 112 Myles MacRae: 171
Kyle St. Denis: 54 Evan Bloodoff: 114 Tysen Dowzak: 153
Lucas Bloodoff: 126 Luke Schenn: 175 Colin Joe: 234

Rockets vs. Divisions:

vs. BC: 18-10-0-2 vs. US: 6-5-2-0
vs. Central: 3-2-0-1 vs. East: 5-3-0-2

Rockets Players by Province: BC=12 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=2 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=23

Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:
Feb 19 @ Spokane Rockets 4 Lethbridge 9 L
Feb 22 vs. Seattle Rockets 3 Chilliwack 6 L
Feb 23 vs. Vancouver Rockets 1 Kamloops 2 SOL
Feb 24 @ Vancouver Rockets 1 Chilliwack 4 L
Feb 27 vs. Spokane Rockets 8 Brandon 2 W

Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 5-5-0-1 3-3-0-1 2-2-0-0
November: 13 9-2-1-1 4-1-0-0 5-1-1-1
December: 12 6-4-0-2 2-1-0-0 4-3-0-2
January: 13 10-2-0-1 8-0-0-0 2-2-0-1
February: 11 1-3-0-1 1-2-0-0 0-1-0-1

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:
Most Goals Scored: 11 @ Prince George Jan 11/08 in an 11-1 win.
Most Goals Allowed: 9 vs. Lethbridge February 1/08 in a 9-4 loss.
Most Power Play Chances: 11 @ Chilliwack Feb 2/08 in a 6-3 loss, @ Swift Current Jan 25/08. The Rockets were 0/11, losing 4-0.
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 4 @ Cougars Jan 11/08 (11-1 W), vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win, @ PG Nov 10/07 (6-1 W)
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Vancouver Dec 29/07 (5-2 L), @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 41 @ Prince George Jan 12/08 (5-2 W).
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Fewest Shots Allowed: 13 vs. Blazers Oct 30/07 (6-1 W)
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 22 saves vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win. Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Swift Current Jan 25/08 – Guggenberger 30 saves (4-0 L)
Most Points by a Player: Jamie Benn had 2+4=6 vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Most Goals by a Player: Brady Leavold scored 4 goals vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Penalty Shots: Juuso Puustinen fails to score on Torrie Jung Feb 8/08 in a Rockets 2-1 shootout loss to the Blazers. Lucas Bloodoff fails to score on Justin Leclerc in 4-3 loss to Kamloops December 28th. Torrie Jung stops Bruins forward Cody Smuk in a 4-1 win in Chilliwack Dec 31/07. Torrie Jung stops Hawks forward Luke Walker Nov 17/07 in a 4-1 win in Portland. Kristofer Westblom stops Everett’s Shane Harper in a 3-2 overtime loss Nov 16/07 in Everett. Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Overtime Winning Goal: Jamie Benn scored at 4:59 December 15/07 in a 3-2 win in Saskatoon. Tyler Myers scored at 3:58 of overtime December 5/07 in a 4-3 win over Medicine Hat. Colin Long scored at :44 of overtime Nov 23/07 in a 7-6 win over Kootenay. Jamie Benn scored at 1:07 of overtime Nov 2/07 in a 3-2 win over Chilliwack.
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.

Roster Stats:
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 3 Dowzak, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, 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: 17.7
Rookies – 7

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)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Luke Has Last Laugh

  • The game between the Rockets and Wheat Kings featured the Schenn brothers meeting for the first time. It was older brother Luke who had the last laugh in Kelowna's lopsided 8-2 home ice win. Luke Schenn had two assists in the victory while Wheat Kings forward Brayden Schenn was held off the scoreboard.
  • While Brayden Schenn didn't exactly impress, his 23 goal season as a 16 year-old can not be overlooked. If you compare him to former Seattle Thunderbirds forward Patrick Marleau, the Saskatoon resident isn't far behind. Marleau had 32 goals as a 16 year-old. Marleau had 72 points in his rookie season back in 1995-96, just 14 more than Schenn has collected this season. Marleau left the WHL after just two seasons. The Wheat Kings are all about developing players, but are hoping Schenn doesn't follow a similiar path as Marleau, who bolted for the NHL at the tender age of 18.
  • Here is my conversation with Wheat Kings GM/Coach Kelly McCrimmon on Brayden Schenn. http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FR09_0329.MP3&nid=667620&
  • The Rockets erupted for a 6 goal - second period in the route. It was the third time this season the Rockets have scored 6 times in a period. The Rockets scored 6 times against Prince George in the first period of an 11-1 romp and managed to score 6 times in the second period of a 9-3 win over the Portland Winter Hawks.
  • Brady Leavold had 2+3=5 while Colin Long had 1+3=4 in the victory. Cody Almond also chipped in with a goal. The top three point getters on the Rockets scored the opening three goals of the game. Leavold, Long and Almond were a combined +9.
  • Lucas Bloodoff is the hottest Rocket. Bloodoff extended his point streak to five games with two goals and a fight. While his tilt with Brandon's Jay Fehr was as lopsided as the game was, it was Fehr's first WHL fight. The second year forward had just 12 penalty minutes entering last night's game, so to see him involved with Bloodoff in the late third period scrap was a surprise.
  • The Wheat Kings lost overage defenseman Daryl Boyle early in the game with an undisclosed injury. That only made matters worse after 30 goal man Tyler Dittmer sat this one out with what is expected to be a broken knuckle, after a slash the night before in an overtime win in Vancouver.
  • Kristofer Westblom wasn't overly tested in this one, but the overage goaltender played well enough to get the start Saturday against Edmonton. The Rockets coaching staff would like to ride with the hot goaltender, but it sure is nice if both Westblom or Jung are on the top of their game.
  • After the 8 goal outburst, the Rockets are again the highest scoring team in the WHL. The Rockets have scored 215 goals this season, two more than the Tri City Americans.
  • The win moves the Rockets five points up on Seattle for 4th place in the Western Conference. The T-Birds have two games in hand. Home ice is crucial for any team taking part in this years playoffs where no one will face a weak sister in the opening round.
  • Jamie Benn skated for the first time Thursday since he sprained an ankle in practice. Benn admitted that it was a little tender. It appears that Benn is still a week or so away from giving it a try in a game situation.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Trying to Dethrone a King - A Wheat King That Is!

  • It's Luke vs. Brayden as the Schenn boys face one another tonight at Prospera Place. It's not the first time a Kelowna Rockets player has faced his brother this season. Rookie d-man Collin Bowman faced his older brother Drayson when the Rockets and Spokane Chiefs clashed earlier this season. Those two guys go at it again Tuesday in Spokane.
  • Brayden Schenn has 23 goals in his first season in the WHL. Does that bother his older brother Luke, considering the elder Schenn has just 10 career goals over three seasons? Brayden is a forward, so his goal totals should be higher than his defensive minded older bro.
  • How impressive is Brayden Schenn's goal total? Former Rockets forward Justin Keller had 25 goals in his rookie season. Keller was 17 at the time, a year older than Brayden.
  • The Rockets are playing game two of a three game home stand tonight. The Rockets host Edmonton Saturday night. The Rockets are meeting the Wheat Kings for the second time this season. These two teams met December 12th with the Rockets earning a 5-4 win. Colin Long (2+3=5) and Jamie Benn (2+2=4) led the way for the visitors, who managed just 18 shots on goal. Kristofer Westblom made 32 saves in the win. The Wheat Kings made a visit to Prospera Place last season, beating the Rockets 7-1 on October 28th. Luke Schenn scored the lone goal for the Rockets in that game while Torrie Jung gave up all seven goals in the lopsided loss. The Rockets are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Chilliwack Bruins Saturday night. The Bruins scored the first four goals of the game before Tyson Barrie’s power play goal gave the home side reason to cheer. The loss extended the Rockets winless streak to 4 games (0-3-0-1), with the team’s last win coming January 30th in a 5-1 home ice victory over Everett.
  • What hasn't been noticed this season is only one Rockets player has dressed for all 57 games. Who is it? Colin Long. It appears he's making up for lost time after suffering from mono in his rookie season two years ago.
  • What's impressive is former Rockets forward Justin Keller didn't miss a game in three seasons with the Rockets from 2003-2006.
  • I spoke with former Rockets team Captain Tyler Spurgeon Wednesday. The often injured Spurgeon is again sidelined, this time with a concussion. //www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FR09_0326.MP3&nid=666876&

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Speaking Candidly with Marc Habscheid


It was a pleasure to chat with Marc Habscheid on Wednesday. I spent four extremely successful seasons with Habby in the Rockets glory years from 2000 to a Memorial Cup win in 2004. The former Kelowna Rockets head coach is spending this winter in Southwest Saskatchewan, oddly enough out of the coaching racket. But as you will hear in this interview, Habscheid is enjoying the time away from the rink, but shares his thoughts on returning to major junior, and explains to me how close he was to taking a job with the Kelowna Rockets and Portland Winter Hawks this summer. http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FZB09.mp3&nid=666222
I will have part two of my interview with Marc Habscheid Friday on this blog. These two interviews will also be featured on our Rockets broadcasts Thursday and Saturday night.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

  • How excited is Brayden Schenn about Thursday's game in Kelowna? The Brandon Wheat Kings forward has watched his older brother Luke play at Prospera Place in the past, and now the 16 year-old will take to the ice against the team I am sure he always dreamt of playing for. Thursday's game will feature the Schenn brothers playing against each other for the first time, as Luke was at the Canadian World Junior training camp when the Rockets visited the Wheat Kings in early December.
  • Speaking of Brayden Schenn, if he is not awarded the WHL rookie of the year it is indeed a crying shame. I applaud the efforts of first year forward's Jamie Benn (Rockets) and T.J Galiardi of the Calgary Hitmen for sensational seasons, but both players are two years older than Schenn. In my opinion the rookie of the year award should be handed out to a 16 year-old player, not a player who is two years older and is two years advanced both physically and mentally.
  • Colin Long has 55 points more than a year ago. That transformation from one season to the next puts him at the top of the heap when it comes to players who have worn Kelowna Rockets colours. Only Cam Paddock comes close with 24 points in 2000-2001 and an impressive 73 points a season later. That's an improvement of 49 points. Tomas Slovak (+45), Kiel McLeod (+42), and Tyler Mosienko (+41) also improved substantially from one season to the next. Technically speaking, Rory McDade had 98 points more than an injury plagued 1999-2000 campaign. McDade would go pointless in two games that season before putting up 98 points in 2000-2001. What makes Long's numbers stand out is the 18 year-old played in 69 games last season and managed just 28 points. This year he has 83.
  • Has Swift Current Broncos GM and Head Coach Dean Chynoweth sent a thank you note to the Kelowna Rockets yet? Since the Broncos beat the Rockets 4-0 on January 25th the Broncos have won 9 in a row. Overall the Broncos have won 10 straight, but was it the win over the Rockets that showed Chynoweth's crew that if they outwork an opponent they have the ability to win every night?
  • A month ago a WHL scout told me that the Tri City Americans are the best team in the league. At the time I questioned the statement. Now I am a firm believer. The Americans are the hottest team out West at least after smoking Spokane 7-2 on the weekend. With Colton Yellowhorn leading the way, Don Nachbaur's boys are going to be tough to beat come playoff time.
  • After the scary incident which saw Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik's neck cut by a skate, does the WHL look at possibly having players wear protective neck guards? It's been a staple in the QMJHL for years now and minor hockey players across Canada are required to wear them. Why not in the WHL?
  • Dan Russell of Sports Talk fame had an interesting interview with WHL Commish Ron Robison Friday night. Robison spoke about the concern he has for the Portland Winter Hawk franchise and the stability or level playing field he wants to see across the league when it comes to scouting. Robison also spoke about a new building for Moose Jaw and the anticipated announcement of a new building in the 'Jaw' later this month. To be honest with you, it's the first interview I've heard with Robison where he tackled some interesting issues head-on. I actually came away from the interview enlightened. Or maybe we should credit Russell for simply asking good questions?
  • Speaking of the Commish, where has he been this season? I have not run into Ron Robison all season. I've been told he's been making the rounds across the Western Hockey League this season, but he hasn't made a stop in K-Town. You couldn't help but run into him in 2004 when the Rockets were hosting the Memorial Cup.
  • If you missed it, here is the interview I had with former Rockets forward Blake Comeau, now up with the NHL's New York Islanders. http://www.am1150.ca/player/player?mediapath=&type=mp3&fi=files%2Fam1150%2Fsrimedia%2FR09_0314.MP3&nid=664585&
  • What NHL player - property at one time of the Kelowna Rockets - was traded Monday night? Mike Commodore was traded along with Corey Stillman to Ottawa from the Carolina Hurricanes. Commodore was the Rockets 8th round pick, 119th overall in the 1994 bantam draft. Commodore never played a game with the Rockets, elected to go the college route attending the University of North Dakota.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sagging Lower Lip Irk's Coach Huska

  • Head Coach Ryan Huska says his club looked as if they felt sorry for themselves during Saturday's loss to the Chilliwack Bruins. After getting down 4-0, the Rockets needed a spark and 18 year-old Luke Schenn provided that with a solid fight with Bruins tough guy Partik Bhungal. It lifted the spirits of his team, yet they struggled to find the back of the net despite firing 14 shots on goal in the second period. It was clamp down time for the visitors in the third, allowing the Rockets just 2 shots on goal.
  • Excluding the second period of Saturday's game, the Rockets managed just 5 shots on goal combined in periods one and three.
  • The Rockets have scored just two goals in the last two games. That's not good for what was the top scoring team in the WHL heading into the weekend. That honor now goes to the Tri City Americans.
  • The Rockets have been held to a single goal 3 times at home and 5 times on the road this season. The Rockets have been shutout twice this year.
  • When was the last time the Rockets were held to a single goal in consecutive games? Look no further than to March 9th of last season in a 4-1 home ice loss to Seattle followed by a 4-1 loss again at home to Vancouver one night later. What's scary is the Rockets were shutout in the next game following the loss to the Giants, falling 4-0 on the road in the Tri Cities.
  • Are you concerned at the Rockets start to the month of February? If it's any concellation the Rockets were 1-1-0-0 with two ties in the teams first four games in the month of February during the 2004-2005 season. That season the Rockets won the WHL title. In 2003-2004 the Rockets lost two of their first three games during the month. Oh ya, that year they won the Memorial Cup.
  • All good teams struggle. Look at the Spokane Chiefs this weekend losing to Tri City and Seattle. Yes those two teams are solid hockey clubs, but to expect the Rockets to roll over the opposition like they did in January may be asking too much.
  • The Rockets have scored seven of their last 9 goals on the power play. While that may sound well and good, the team has generated just two even strength goals in the last four games. Not good!
  • Rockets forward Jamie Benn is expected to skate this week on his wonky ankle. Benn has missed the last five games, and the Rockets have just one regulation win to show for it. Benn's absence in early February may have just proven that he indeed is the teams MVP. Up until his injury, Benn had 10 goals in his last 12 games.
  • WHL leading scorer Colin Long has four points in the five games without Benn. All four points have been assists. Long hasn't scored a goal in 11 games. Brady Leavold has just one goal in his last 7 games.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Rockets Game Notes vs Bruins

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets open a three game home stand tonight against the Chilliwack Bruins. Overall the Rockets play 5 of their next 6 games on home ice. It’s the 8th of 10 meetings between the Rockets and Bruins this season. The Rockets are 5-2-0-0 in the first seven games, including 3-0-0-0 on home ice. The Rockets are 2-2-0-0 in Chilliwack. In the seasonal series three of the seven games have been decided by a single goal. Overall the Rockets have out-scored the Bruins 21-18. Following tonight’s game these two teams will face each other March 9th in Chilliwack before concluding the seasonal series March 12th back in Kelowna. The Rockets are coming off a 2-1 shootout loss last night in Kamloops. Tyler Myers third period power play goal tied the game at one and set the stages for the shootout. The Rockets were 1/6 on the power play and out-shot the Blazers 32-23. Following tonight’s game the Rockets host the Edmonton Oil Kings in a rare Thursday night game.

Shootout Woes Continue: The Rockets participated in their 8th shootout game of the year last night in Kamloops. The Rockets are 2-6 in the shootout. The Rockets only shootout wins were a 4-3 victory over Seattle October 6th and a 2-1 win over Vancouver October 24th. Since that game the Rockets have lost 6 straight shootout games. The Rockets have dropped shootout games to Kamloops and Moose Jaw (twice), Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Oddly enough Torrie Jung has been in goal in five of those six shootout losses, and is now 1-7 in his career under the format.

Quick Hits: The Rockets are winless in 3 straight games (0-2-0-1), with their last regulation win coming in a 5-1 home ice victory over Everett January 30th. The Rockets longest losing streak this season is just three games. The Rockets were 2-1 losers to Spokane October 13th, before falling 4-3 to Everett on October 19th. The Rockets then dropped a 4-3 decision to Spokane October 20th…Rockets forward Jamie Benn will miss his 5th straight game tonight with a sprained ankle. The Rockets are 1-2-0-1 in his absence…Torrie Jung has started 7 consecutive games in goal, with Kristofer Westblom’s last start January 19th against the Prince George Cougars ….The Rockets have clinched a playoff spot in the Western Conference for the 16th time in franchise history. The team has missed the playoffs just once in 17 years…Colin Long has 54 points more than he had all of last season…The Rockets have just 6 road games left, with stops in Chilliwack, Vancouver, Spokane, Seattle, Portland and Tri City…The Rockets have lost 6 times in the shootout this season. That’s a league high shared with Moose Jaw and Edmonton…While Jung has had little success in the shootout, he is 4-0 when it comes to penalty shot situations. Jung has stopped Blazers forward Jusso Puustinen, Vancouver’s Michal Repik, Chilliwack’s Cody Smuk and Portland’s Luke Walker.
Games Played Ticker:
Brady Leavold: 184 Colin Long: 145 Dylan Hood: 96 Tyler Myers: 117
Cody Almond: 144 Brandon McMillan: 110 Myles MacRae: 169
Kyle St. Denis: 52 Evan Bloodoff: 112 Tysen Dowzak: 151
Lucas Bloodoff: 124 Luke Schenn: 173 Colin Joe: 232

Rockets Tidbits: The Rockets have been out-scored 26-16 in their last six games…Colin Long has a 3 point lead on Mark Santorelli for the WHL points lead. Long also leads the WHL in assists with 59, 2 better than Santorelli…Jamie Benn leads WHL rookies in scoring, 5 points better than Brandon’s Brayden Schenn. Benn is listed as day-to-day with a sprained ankle…Brady Leavold has points in 3 of his last 4 games (1+3=4).…Jamie Benn has seven-two goal games this season, but has yet to register a hat-trick…Colin Long has 25-multiple point games this season…The Rockets have scored the most power play goals in the WHL (69), four better than Vancouver’s 65….The Rockets have 16 games left in the regular season, 10 at home and 6 on the road…The Rockets have points in 10 of their last 15 road games (6-5-0-4). Cody Almond has 97 career points…The Rockets have played the second most games in the Western Conference (56). Only Everett, Portland and Kamloops (57) have played more.

Rockets vs. Divisions:

vs. BC: 18-9-0-2 vs. US: 6-5-2-0
vs. Central: 3-2-0-1 vs. East: 4-3-0-2


Rockets Players by Province: BC=12 US=4 ALB=3 SASK=2 MAN=1 EURO=1 Total=23
Rockets Schedule - Next 5 Games: Rockets Results - Last 5 Games:
Feb 14 vs. Brandon Rockets 3 Tigers 4 SOL
Feb 16 vs. Edmonton Rockets 5 Everett 1 W
Feb 19 @ Spokane Rockets 4 Lethbridge 9 L
Feb 22 vs. Seattle Rockets 3 Chilliwack 6 L
Feb 23 vs. Vancouver Rockets 1 Kamloops 2 SOL

Record by Month:
Month Games Record Home Road
September: 4 1-2-1-0 0-1-1-0 1-1-0-0
October: 11 5-5-0-1 3-3-0-1 2-2-0-0
November: 13 9-2-1-1 4-1-0-0 5-1-1-1
December: 12 6-4-0-2 2-1-0-0 4-3-0-2
January: 13 10-2-0-1 8-0-0-0 2-2-0-1
February: 11 0-2-0-1 0-1-0-0 0-1-0-1

Rockets Season Highs and Lows:
Most Goals Scored: 11 @ Prince George Jan 11/08 in an 11-1 win.
Most Goals Allowed: 9 vs. Lethbridge February 1/08 in a 9-4 loss.
Most Power Play Chances: 11 @ Chilliwack Feb 2/08 in a 6-3 loss, @ Swift Current Jan 25/08. The Rockets were 0/11, losing 4-0.
Most Power Play Goals Scored: 4 @ Cougars Jan 11/08 (11-1 W), vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win, @ PG Nov 10/07 (6-1 W)
Most Power Play Goals Allowed: 4 @ Vancouver Dec 29/07 (5-2 L), @ Everett Sept 29/07
Most Shots Taken: 41 @ Prince George Jan 12/08 (5-2 W).
Fewest Shots Taken: 9 @ Vancouver Sept 29/07 (5-0L)
Most Shot Allowed: 48 @ Vancouver Sept 30/07
Fewest Shots Allowed: 13 vs. Blazers Oct 30/07 (6-1 W)
Last Shutout: - Kristofer Westblom 22 saves vs. Cougars Jan 4/08 in a 6-0 win. Kristofer Westblom 28 saves vs. Calgary (5-0 W)
Last Time Shutout: - @ Swift Current Jan 25/08 – Guggenberger 30 saves (4-0 L)
Most Points by a Player: Jamie Benn had 2+4=6 vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Most Goals by a Player: Brady Leavold scored 4 goals vs. Prince George Jan 19/08.
Penalty Shots: Juuso Puustinen fails to score on Torrie Jung Feb 8/08 in a Rockets 2-1 shootout loss to the Blazers. Lucas Bloodoff fails to score on Justin Leclerc in 4-3 loss to Kamloops December 28th. Torrie Jung stops Bruins forward Cody Smuk in a 4-1 win in Chilliwack Dec 31/07. Torrie Jung stops Hawks forward Luke Walker Nov 17/07 in a 4-1 win in Portland. Kristofer Westblom stops Everett’s Shane Harper in a 3-2 overtime loss Nov 16/07 in Everett. Torrie Jung stopped Michal Repik in the 3rd period of a 5-0 loss Sept 29/07.
Overtime Winning Goal: Jamie Benn scored at 4:59 December 15/07 in a 3-2 win in Saskatoon. Tyler Myers scored at 3:58 of overtime December 5/07 in a 4-3 win over Medicine Hat. Colin Long scored at :44 of overtime Nov 23/07 in a 7-6 win over Kootenay. Jamie Benn scored at 1:07 of overtime Nov 2/07 in a 3-2 win over Chilliwack.
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.

Roster Stats:
Player total: 24
Year by Year Breakdown:
20’s – 3 Westblom, McEwan, Leavold
19’s – 3 Dowzak, MacRae, Joe
18’s – 8 Long, Kytnar, 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: 17.7
Rookies – 7

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)