Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bad Start - Great Finish

  • Are the Kelowna Rockets now good enough to win a game with just a 20 minute effort? It looked that way Wednesday night in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Tri City Americans. The visitors scored two goals in the first ten minutes and then carried that two goal lead into the third before the Rockets rallied for the one goal win.
  • Let's be honest, the Rockets won't be able to pull that off many times this season, yet you could see that everyone became more comfortable as the game moved on. New line mates and new teammates always requires a feeling out period.
  • It marked the first time this season that the Rockets won a game after trailing after 40 minutes.
  • The Americans out-shot the Rockets 17-3 in the first period, resulting in many fans rubbing their eyes in disbelief at what they just witnessed. With Mikael Backlund, Ian Duval, and Mark Guggenberger making their Rockets debuts, how could the home team be outplayed so badly? After being dominated in the first frame, the Rockets slowly took over, out-shooting the Americans 21-11 over the final two periods.
  • Mark Guggenberger made his first start in a Rockets uniform, and frankly looked shaky on the first two goals he allowed. Yet in saying that, the pressure that all three newcomers had wearing Kelowna Rockets colours must have been immense.Guggenberger did settle down after the first period barrage, and shut the door the rest of the way.
  • Cody Almond got the ball rolling for the Rockets with a power play goal just 41 seconds into the third. Almond's shot from the end boards appeared to hit Americans goaltender Chet Pickard in the leg or pants before sliding past the goal line. Almond's second goal was clearly directed in by Almond's skate on a centering feed from Stepan Novotny. Yet the rules state that the goal should only be called off if it is a kicking motion...which it wasn't. Even Am's head coach Don Nachbaur didn't complain, as the astute head coach had no grounds for a rebuttal.
  • Almond led the Rockets with 6 shots on goal. McMillan and Lucas Bloodoff were next with three each.
  • By our count, the Rockets won 37 of the 50 faceoffs in the game.
  • Ian Duval and Mikael Backlund earned assists in their Rockets debuts. Duval picked up an assist on Cody Almond's power play goal to make the score 2-1, before Backlund registered an assist on Jamie Benn's game winner at the 11:57 mark of the third.
  • Benn's game winner was a beauty. Stationed at the side of the Americans net, Benn appeared to have no where to go with the puck but take it behind the net. Instead of choosing the obvious, Benn went backhand to forehand and tucked the puck past a startled Chet Pickard short side.
  • Benn should also be credited for getting his team going with a solid fight with Americans defenseman Brett Plouffe. The two dropped the gloves halfway through the second period, leaving Plouffe bloodied and off to the dressing room for repairs.
  • Mark Guggenberger took a gamble with his team leading 3-2 and the Americans net empty for the extra attacker. Guggenberger found the puck in front of him, and elected to shoot it the length of the ice into the open goal. His shot misses, creating a key face-off in the Rockets zone.
  • Who was the last Rockets goaltender to score a goal? Jeff Calvert did it with the Tacoma Rockets in the early 90's.
  • The game had a playoff atmosphere to it. While these two teams haven't met in the playoffs since the 2004 post season, how fun would it be to witness these two teams in a 7 game series? Home ice would be huge, considering both teams split the seasonal series with the home team winning every game.
  • The Rockets played this one without Colin Long, Kyle St Denis or Tyson Barrie. Add those three to the mix, and this team is even more dangerous. Tri City played without Kruise Reddick, a pretty good player in his own right.
  • I handed in my 'Best Of The West' ballot last night. Can I change my pick for the fastest skater? Brett Plouffe has incredible wheels for a defenseman. Wow.
  • Here is the interview I had with Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton (WHL Chairman of the Board)about the Ontario Hockey League's bold move of suspending a player for taking his helmet off to get into a
  • Congrats to James McEwan for making his AHL debut Wednesday night for Worcester. McEwan got into a fight with the Philadelphia Phantoms tough guy.


entropyyy said...

the first 20 had me more than rubbing my eyes,it had me opening my wallet,suprised i payed for this game,but the momentum shift was pretty huge and benn's goal was top of the line,a beauty. guggenberger's shot would have topped it off,well,that and i wanted to see a grantham scrap first hand,but it shows that regardless of lineup changes and players out this team can shift momentum and get it going. bloodoffs were fantastic,with benn and almond,showing some personality. a solid 30 minutes at the end.

Rocketblade said...

I was thinking between the second and third period, that if they could pull off the win it might become the turning point for the season. But seeing as they hadn't won a game yet this year when losing after two it didn't seem too likely. Can't wait for Long, St.Denis and Barrie to all be back.

entropyyy said...

agreed ^^

g.k said...

Interesting article in the Courier today with reqards to Schenn!! If the Leaf's are out of the playoff picture it is still possible they could send him back!! Unlikely but hey it has happened before!!
" Keep The Faith "