Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Knockout Punch Delivered In 9-0 Seasonal Series

  • The Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers may have differing opinions on who they would like to face in the opening round of the playoffs. The Rockets would choose the Blazers, while Barry's Smith's bunch would like to opt for any team other than Ryan Huska's high octane offense. The Rockets again won all facets of the game in a 7-1 rematch Saturday night at Prospera Place, wrapping up the home portion of the 2008-2009 regular season schedule, and winning the seasonal series against the Blazers 9-0.
  • The Blazers spirit was shattered on a Jamie Benn goal just 4 minutes into the first period. I thought prior to that goal, the Blazers provided some resistance. After that goal, the Blazers folded the tent and never really pushed back after that. The disappointing thing for Barry Smith and his coaching staff was the quit in their game. Unlike Friday when they battled back despite being down 5-0, Saturday's game had the visitors looking defeated after the opening goal.
  • Ian Duval had a great weekend. The overage forward, playing in his 230th career game, had 2+2=4. Duval earned the games first star, while earning his second-four point game during his brief time in a Rockets uniform. Duval had 4 assists against Vancouver February 20th. Duval had seven points in two games against the Blazers this weekend. What was the key to his success? Shooting the puck.
  • Duval now has 24 goals, two better than his career high of 22 set last season with the Calgary Hitmen. Duval also reached the 200 point mark for his WHL career. Duval now has 202 career points.
  • Speaking of career highs, Ryley Grantham scored his 12th goal of the season Saturday night, surpassing his career total of 10 goals set last season. Grantham now has goals in back-to-back games.
  • I hate to harp on the officials, but the Blazers had as much to complain about as the Rockets did. C.J Stretch is called for goaltender interference when he was clearly pushed into Adam Brown by a Rockets defenseman, and then Brandon McMillan gets away with a boarding call in the second period before Tyler Shattock gets fingered for a checking from behind call. The Rockets can complain about a quick whistle on a goal that was taken away from Mitchell Callahan. The first shot hits the goal-post, hits Groenheyde in the leg and then dribbles towards the goal line. Callahan clearly puts the puck in the net yet the play is dead because of a quick whistle.
  • In a game like this, those missed calls don't make a dramatic impact, but heaven forbid that type of officiating shows up in the playoffs. The good news is the veteran officials will be used in the playoffs, so problems like this shouldn't arise, should it? Gulp!
  • The game featured a third period scrap between Rockets goaltender Adam Brown and Blazers netminder Jon Groenheyde. It appeared that Brown initiated the meeting, yet it was Groenheyde that skated a longer distance to engage in the fisticuffs. Like most goalie fights, this one ended quickly with the two heavily padded combatants falling to the ice. Groenheyde landed on top of Brown before throwing a couple of hard rights to end the fight.
  • Colin Long has 3+10=13 in the month of March. Jamie Benn, who now has 46 goals on the season, is 7+4=11 during the month.
  • For precautionary measures the Rockets sat out forwards Mikael Backlund and Lucas Bloodoff. Head coach Ryan Huska says if it were the start of the playoffs, both would have been in action.
  • The Rockets extended their winning streak to a season high seven games heading into the teams final game of the regular season Monday night in Spokane.
  • A win by the Rockets, be it in regulation, overtime or a shootout, allows them to clinch 3rd place in the Western Conference. Bottom line is the Rockets have their fate in their own hands.


T.D. said...

Interestingly, Captain Colin Long also hit the 90 pt mark for the season last night. Good job Captain Long! I wonder if there have been any other Rockets in franchise history who have scored back to back seasons of over 90 pts (Long had 100 last season)? I believe that's 190 pts in 137 games over the past two seasons. Pretty impressive for an 11th round pick.

Regan Bartel said...

Congrats to Long...he's had another solid season. It's interesting to note that Jason Deleurme had 194 points over his last two seasons (1996-1998)with the Rockets in 137 games.

Shawn said...

Is there any particular reason why Jimmy Bubnick and Evan Bloodoff didn't receive fighting majors (according to the box score on the WHL website) during that goalie fight between Groenheyde and Brown? I know they were announced as fighting majors at the arena but not in the box score oddly enough.