Here are the 'best of' when it comes to the Rockets recent road trip.
1) Best player: Defenceman Tyson Barrie. Barrie didn't put up the most points during the trip but worked consistently hard throughout all six games. Barrie often times controlled play on his own and was used as a forward on occasion to provide the Rockets with some spark in the offensive zone. Barrie will become the Rockets all-time leader in points by a defenceman before this season is through and has to be regarded as one of the best rear-guards to ever wear a Rockets unform. And he's just 18. He conducts himself like a pro both on and off the ice. My advice for his teammates would be to emulate the actions of Tyson Barrie. I have a feeling Barrie was watching Tyler Myers closely last season. Look where he is.
2) Best coaches move: Head coach Ryan Huska stuck his neck out for his goaltender when he elected to go with veteran Mark Guggenberger in a game against Moose Jaw after allowing 8 goals the night prior in Brandon. Huska believed Guggenberger needed to regain his confidence, something he did in a 2-1 shootout victory over the Warriors. It made Huska look like a genius.
3) Best Goal: It came in Regina when Tyson Barrie and rookie Max Adolph broke in on a shorthanded two on one. With Barrie bringing the puck into the zone on right wing, the veteran d-man waited until the very last second before making a picture perfect pass to Adolph, who promptly snapped the puck into the wide open side of the net.
4) Best Shootout Goal: No question, it was Shane McColgan's goal against Moose Jaw. The 16 year-old forward picks up the puck at centre and quickly moves to the left side of the ice, almost making contact with the boards. McColgan than quickly moves in on the goaltender beating the Warrior 'tender' to the glove hand side.
5) Best fight: Mitchell Callahan had a couple, but none better than the beat down on Moose Jaw's Cody Smuk. Smuk took on both Callahan and Gogol in the second period to jump start his team, but Callahan was simply too much for the 20 year-old forward.
6) Best courage move: Forward Tyler Matheson fighting Blades enforcer Randy McNaught. Matheson may be a heavy weight when you tip the scales at close to 230 pounds, but he shouldn't be considered an elite fighter. He simply doesn't do it enough. To stand in there and trade punches with McNaught shows a lot of b***s.
7) Best Rink: I love Regina. The new improvements with wrap around seating towards the roof line of the building gives it a 'today' type of feel with an old school vibe. Great junior rink. Prince Albert edges out Swift Current as my second choice. Both are bright, clean arenas.
8) Best Meal: We ate a lot of team meals over the course of the trip out east but the choice by assistant coach Ryan Cuthbert to go with fajitas on an off day was brilliant. I do not want to see chicken and pasta for another two weeks.
9) Best referee: Chris Savage in Swift Current and Chris Savage in Saskatoon.
10) Best surprise: Coming off the bus in Prince Albert, entering the Art Hauser Centre and actually feeling 'heat' in the building. Traditionally PA and Moose Jaw have been the coldest stops on the circuit, but the freezer box like conditions, specificially in Prince Albert, were no where to be found.
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