Friday, December 10, 2010

Random thoughts from Red Deer

  • Two teams with two dynamic 17 year-old forwards meet tonight in Red Deer as the Rebels host the Kelowna Rockets.
    Rebels forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins beat out the Rockets Shane McColgan last season for the W-H-L rookie of the year.
    The two meet for the first time since last years league awards were handed out.
    The Rebels enter the game with the third most points of any team in the WHL while the Rockets are just two points back of Vancouver for first place in the BC Division.
  • Nugent-Hopkins leads the Rebels in scoring and is riding a six game point streak. The 17 year-old has just one goal in his last seven games though. McColgan finds himself in a similar predicament with one goal in his last nine.
  • The Rockets had their seven game home ice winning streak snapped Wednesday night by the Swift Current Broncos. Now the Rockets hope to do the same against the Rebels tonight at the Centrium. The Rebels last loss on home ice was October 20th in a 1-0 setback to the visiting Kamloops Blazers.
  • In the big picture the Rebels have just one regulation loss in their last 13 games. The Rebels are 10-1-1-1 over that period. The one loss was a 3-0 setback to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
  • The Rebels have 10 wins in 13 home games this season. The only losses on home ice came against Kamloops, Medicine Hat and Saskatoon.
  • The Rebels have allowed the fewest goals against at home of any team in the WHL this season. The Rebels have allowed 21 goals against in 13 home games, or just 1.6 goals per game.
  • Tonight's game features the WHL Goaltender of the Week, Rebels Darcy Kuemper, against WHL Goaltender of the Month Adam Brown.
  • The Rockets and Rebels are in the top three when it comes to the number of power plays they've been awarded this season. The Rebels have been given 166 power play chances while the Rockets have had 164 opportunities. Only the Brandon Wheat Kings (174) have spent more time on the power play.
  • As I mentioned last night on Twitter, it will be interesting to watch 16 year-old Rebels defenceman Matt Dumba. Dumba has nine goals and has been involved in six fighting majors this season. Dumba, the Rebels first round bantam pick two years back, loves to dish out open ice hits. The Rockets' forwards better be aware when Dumba is on the ice when accepting a pass.
  • Tyson Barrie enters tonight's game having failed to score a goal in ten games. That may come as a surprise, yet Barrie went 13 games without a goal last season.
  • Rockets overage defenceman Zak Stebner knows something about the Rebels. The 20 year-old was a second round pick of the Rebels in 2005. Stebner played under then head coach Brian Sutter.
  • The only other connection the Rockets have to the Rebels is defenceman Aaron Borejko. The 19 year-old was a 5th round pick by the Rockets in the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft.
  • Rockets forward Brett Bulmer and Rebels goaltender Darcy Kuemper are both draft picks of the Minnesota Wild. Bulmer was taken in the second round this summer while Kuemper was selected in the 6th round in 2009.
  • The Centrium brings back fond memories to Rockets assistant coach Ryan Cuthbert. Cuthbert won a WHL title with the Rockets in a six game series win over the Rebels in 2003.
  • Cuthbert has been designated the 'head coach' while Ryan Huska is keeping busy at the World Juniors. So if/when the Rockets win, Cuthbert will be credited with a WHL coaching victory. So Rockets players remember to pick up the puck for coach Cuthbert if you find yourself on the winning end of the scoreboard.
  • Rookie goaltender Jordon Cooke should have a strong contingent of family on hand for tonight's game in Red Deer. This might feel like a home game as the 17 year-old was raised in nearby Leduc, Alberta. Leduc is situated just 124 k north of Red Deer. Maybe he will get the start in Edmonton one night later? Leduc is just 35 kilometers away from the 'City of Champions'.
  • Surprisingly the Rockets have just two players on their roster with Alberta connections. Cody Chikie was raised in St. Albert, Alberta.
  • The Rebels had a nice three year run, winning a WHL title and making three straight appearances in the league championship from 2000-2003. Yet over the last six seasons they have missed the playoffs three times and have been a first round casualty three times. The Rebels and their fans are due for a good season.


Gord McGarva said...

All three of the "Hockey Guys" picked Red Deer to win this morning on AM 1150.

I will go with the Rockets, in OT.

Great pics on the road. Keep them coming.

Regan Bartel said...

Bastards. Especially Doyle!

Jared Comeau said...

I'm going with 5-3 Kelowna