Thursday, February 26, 2009

Foot Soldiers Deserve Credit In Road Win

  • When the Kelowna Rockets went into battle Wednesday night with the Medicine Hat Tigers, it wasn't the stealth bomber-like offense led by Jamie Benn, Colin Long and Mikael Backlund that helped the visitors earn their 39th win of the season, it was the foot soldiers that do the grunt work that enabled the Rockets to earn their 4th consecutive victory. Mitchell Callahan scored twice, Evan Bloodoff had a goal and two helpers, and Spencer Main scored his first WHL goal. Of the Rockets top 8 point getters, only Cody Almond was able to register a goal.
  • Callahan not only scored twice - snapping a 12 game goalless drought - but the feisty forward also got involved in two scraps. The most impressive was when Mark Isherwood asked Rockets 16 year-old forward Spencer Main if he wanted to fight after the two began pushing in front of the Tigers bench. Main wasn't interested, but Callahan quickly came into the scene and said 'hey - hey' and the two started trading punches.
  • My general impression is Callahan loves to scrap. He shows no fear and no hesitation to back up a teammate. When you are as good as he is at it, why not take your frustrations out on the opposition physically.
  • Look out Ryley Grantham, Callahan is making a move up the fighting standings. Callahan's two scraps Wednesday night gives him 15 on the season - one behind Grantham's 16.
  • Curt Gogol couldn't be outdone, getting into a tilt with Tigers defenseman Thomas Carr. It's Gogol's willingness to get involved that forces the coaches hands to play him.
  • In some respects I was glad Grantham never engaged with Tigers tough guy Matt McCue once the Rockets built up a 5-1 first period lead. The Tigers showed little bite in their game other than an early flurry in the second period that had the visitors back on their heels. McCue was playing a quiet game and wasn't getting his nose dirty in any way. An accumulation of misconducts may have McCue taking a more passive approach unless he is forced into action by an opponent taking liberties on a teammate.
  • It was nice to see Spencer Main get his first WHL goal. Sure it took him 54 games to finally get it, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. Who's next on the list of players looking for their first WHL goal? Kyle Verdino. Verdino has gone 87 games without scoring his first WHL goal.
  • Another one of the 'foot shoulders' that impressed Wednesday night was Evan Bloodoff. Often in the shadows of Benn, Long, Almond and Backund, the youngest Bloodoff had a career matching three point game. Bloodoff also had a goal and two assists last January in a win over Prince George.
  • Despite the lopsided score, goaltender Mark Guggenberger was tested several times in this one. It was a good bounce back game for the veteran goaltender, who looked comfortable between the pipes.
  • Tyler Ennis again had a quiet game for the Tigers, but much of that was do to the solid defensive effort of Rockets d-man Tyler Myers. Myers made sure he was on the ice every time Ennis jumped over the boards. The two will likely be teammates in the near future considering both are drafted by the Buffalo Sabres.
  • Credit the Rockets defense for two long stretch passes that sent forwards in on clear cut breakaways. Collin Bowman's long pass to Cody Almond enabled the 19 year-old to score his 31st goal of the season while Myers also sent a long bomb to Jamie Benn, who failed in his breakaway attempt to earn his 40th goal of the season.
  • The ugly stat of the night was Mikael Backlund, Ian Duval and Lucas Bloodoff all being a -1 in a game that ended up 6-1.

1 comment:

Jess Rubenstein said...

Excuse me excuse me

How come nobody notices that Tysen Dowzak in 2 big wins like tonight and last Friday was +3 with a fight in each game.

How about some love for the big fella eh Regan?