Sunday, January 31, 2010

Taking it to the Tigers

  • The Medicine Hat Tigers led the Western Hockey League with 14 shorthanded goals entering Saturday night’s action. The Kelowna Rockets decided to give the visitors a little of their own medicine when the two teams met at Prospera Place. Spencer Main and Geordie Wudrick scored shorthanded goals, leading the Rockets to a lopsided 7-2 win. The victory extended the Rockets winning streak to 5 games while snapping Medicine Hat’s 6 game winning streak.
  • After winning four straight games against teams below them in the standings, the question remained before Saturday night’s game if the Rockets were indeed for real. The 61 hundred fans at Prospera Place and even the opposing team may now be convinced that when the Rockets really want to play, they can compete against the best. The Rockets scored the games first seven goals and received contributions from every player in the lineup. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when all hands are on deck. It’s also amazing how mediocre this team can look if several players opt out and become passengers.
  • Spencer Main earns the Gordie Howe Hat trick. Main scored twice, added an assist and got into a second period fight with Tigers forward Cole Grbavac. Main got involved physically after teammate Max Adolph was being pushed into the Tigers bench. Main’s willingness to engage with Grbavac is just another sign of wanting to do his part for the betterment of the team.
  • A good indication of a good night ahead for the home team came early when off the opening face-off the first minute was played extensively inside the Tigers zone. It sent a clear message to the visitors that escaping with two points wouldn’t come easy.
  • The Rockets were not without their shaky moments. The first four minutes of the second period had the Tigers applying good pressure, yet coming away with no results. Instead, Cody Chikie scores a power play goal to make it a 5-0 score, telling the Tigers that they won’t be leaving Prospera Place with two points on this night.
  • The most snake bitten Tiger? Linden Vey. While he scored a nifty shorthanded goal – the Tigers 15th – he missed on several point blank chances and an open net.
  • I thought Geordie Wudrick had his best game in a Rockets uniform. Why? Sure he scored once and added an assist, but he was physical. A consistent physical presence on the ice by hitting the Tigers d-men every time they touched the puck makes Wudrick a much more affective player. It may not been an enjoyable way to play the game for the 19 year-old forward, but if he would night in and night out play that way, I would bet you Wudrick would earn an NHL contract. You can’t be a big body and not play that way.
  • How much did the Rockets want to win this game? Look no further than a second period shift from rookie Brett Bulmer. Bulmer attempts to make contact on Tigers defenceman Thomas Carr and goes flying high in the air after contact is made. The slighter Bulmer gets back up and bangs another body. You don’t have to be 6 foot 6 and weight 230 pounds to be a pain to play against, but you can be 6’3 and 175 pounds and use your body in such a way that the opponent will be aware you are on the ice. I loved that shift. Bottle that one up.
  • The Tigers were definitely the older of the two hockey clubs. Medicine Hat dressed eight 19 year-olds and three 20 year-olds. The Rockets dressed three-19 year-olds and just two-20 year-olds. Overage forward Lucas Bloodoff sat this one out with the flu.
  • The Rockets scored three goals on the power play and scored twice shorthanded. During the five game winning streak the Rockets are 11 for 29 on the power play, or almost 38 percent.
  • The win moved the Rockets into 7th place in the Western Conference, tied in points, but the Rockets have more wins than Chilliwack.
  • Medicine Hat was playing their 32nd road game of the season Saturday night. Amazing. The Tigers have just four more road games this season.
  • Adam Brown was again steady in goal for the Rockets. Rebound control was not a problem. He out dueled Tigers starter Tyler Bunz, who is rated among the top five North American goaltenders for the upcoming NHL draft. Brown isn’t ranked.

1 comment:

jaz301 said...

Well I guess they did improve their game. I was not able to make it 2 the game, but from what I heard Rockets played a well fought game. And from what you have posted I think it confirms that the Rockets played a good game.

I think these 3 day game weekends need to end. It is nor far for a team to have to play 3 games in a row. The boys must be tired the time Sunday hits. I guess we will see how tire they are tonight.