- The Kelowna Rockets won't win many games when only one line is contributing. Against the elite teams of the WHL, they don't stand a chance without secondary scoring and secondary effort. Against the Spokane Chiefs Friday night, the line of Colton Sissons, Geordie Wudrick and Evan Bloodoff were responsible for both goals in a 3-2 home ice loss. With that line generating the bulk of the chances - and even they were few and far between - the remaining three lines were silent in effort as the Chiefs dominated the majority of the one goal game.
- How dominant were the Chiefs? The Rockets didn't earn their first shot on goal until 7:45 was remaining in the opening period. Spokane had a 17-3 shot advantage after the opening period but thanks to Adam Brown and the five defenceman in front of him, it was only a 1-0 Spokane lead after one period.
- The only other significant scoring chance from another line came when Spencer Main had an in-tight shot from the high slot that Chiefs goaltender Mac Engel got a piece of sending it out of play.
- Despite being outplayed, the Rockets had a chance to tie the game when they pulled Brown late in the third period. While not tested to any great degree for the majority of the game, Chiefs goaltender Mac Engel made a nice glove hand save off of Evan Bloodoff on a power play with 6 minutes left in the game before shutting the door when the Rockets applied pressure to find the equalizer.
- Levko Koper scored twice and added an assist in the win. The Chiefs have the luxury of having two of the best 20 year-old's in the WHL in Koper and Tyler Johnson. Johnson was held off the score-sheet but is always a threat to score. With overage goaltender James Reid healthy, the Chiefs are as good as any team in the Western Conference.
- While Koper had a three point night, the two players that stood out for me were defenceman Jared Cowen and forward Anthony Bardaro. I thought Cowen was a dominating force every time he was out on the ice and physically punished the Rockets much smaller forwards. Bardaro didn't reach the score-sheet, yet was extremely slippery and created some good things in the Rockets zone.
- Cowen showed how strong he is in a second period scrap with Jesse Astles. Astles couldn't unload a punch on the much taller Cowen, who had a distinct reach advantage. Cowen hasn't sparkled for me in the seasonal series up until now, but you couldn't miss his steady play Friday night.
- Overage forward Evan Bloodoff played with the heart and was clearly the best Rockets forward on the ice. Colton Sissons also had a high battle level and was rewarded with a goal and an assist.
- Defenceman Kevin Smith added an assist in the game, giving him 24 points this season. Those 24 points are the exact number he had one season ago.
Friday, February 18, 2011
One line won't get it done!
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