Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mucha - the man

  • You have to wonder if the Kelowna Rockets used up all of their wins against the Kamloops Blazers last season. After going 9-0-0-0 during the regular season and then sweeping the Blazers in the opening round of the playoffs, the Rockets are having a hard time beating a team they owned one season ago. Saturday night at Prospera Place the Blazers won for the 5th time in six meetings with a 4-1 win.
  • Blazers goaltender Kurtis Mucha was the key story in the game. Mucha made several solid stops including a possible momentum changer with a breakaway save on Rockets defenceman Tyson Barrie with 7 seconds left in the second period. Had Barrie scored the Rockets would have carried momentum into the dressing room being down by just a goal. Mucha's stop gave the visitors a 3-1 lead heading into the intermission.
  • Mucha is named the games first star by not allowing a goal on 20 shots in the second period alone. Amazingly the Rockets had 21 total shots in a 6-4 loss the night prior in Kamloops. Mucha was also named the games first start in the Blazers 4-1 win at Prospera Place on December 30th.
  • The Blazers had not won two games in a row in Kelowna since the 2006/07 season. The Blazers were a 3-2 winner December 2/06 and then managed a 4-3 overtime win January 9/07.
  • The Rockets have now scored just 10 goals in their last 6 games. That's an average of 1.67 goals per game.
  • The Rockets scored their opening goal on the power play, yet the special teams unit essentially failed them when it was needed most. A crucial 5 on 3 power play midway through the second period in a two goal game netted them nothing but headaches. It wasn't the difference in the game but a contributing factor in the loss.
  • I hate to sound like Swift Current Broncos radio broadcaster/blogger Jon Keen, but a save by Rockets goaltender Mark Guggenberger off of Blazer forward Brendan Ranford in the first period has to be on the WHL Plays Of The Week. With the Blazers enjoying a 5 on 3 power play, Ranford receives a pass from the other side of the net and promptly puts the puck into a wide open goal. Or does he? Guggenberger, in a display of desperation, flings his catching glove towards the open area of the net and somehow catches the puck before it goes over the goal line. Ranford can't believe Guggenberger makes the save, including 61 hundred onlookers.
  • The Rockets have lost 5 of their last 6 games at home. Overall the team has dropped four in a row for the third time this season.
  • Overall the work ethic, hustle and determination of the Rocket was the best we've seen in four games. While they are on the losing end on this night, it's that type of work ethic that will win this team hockey games on most nights.
  • The loss has the Rockets three points back of Kamloops and in 8th place in the Western Conference, just 6 points back of 9th place Seattle. Gulp! The Rockets and T-Birds meet 4 times in the next 18 games.
  • For the first time in 15 games the Rockets out-shoot the opposition. The Rockets fired 43 shots at the Blazers net. Kamloops had just 11 shots through the final 40 minutes of the game.
  • Rockets forward Brandon McMillan is presented with Taylor Made golf clubs before the game from GM Bruce Hamilton and the local Taylor Made rep. McMillan is given the gift for his efforts at the WJHC.

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