Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rockets drop road trip opener

  • Winning games while giving up 51 shots on goal don't go hand-in hand. Sure, it happens from time-to-time but those are rarities in the game of hockey. Rockets rookie goaltender Jordon Cooke made the best of a bad situation in a 4-2 loss Tuesday night to the Kootenay Ice. The 17 year-old made 47 saves, many of the spectacular variety, as the Rockets dropped the first game of a five game road trip.

  • Kootenay Ice radio broadcaster Jeff Hollick got it right in naming Cooke the second star. Big saves in the third period against Ice forward Cody Eakin were the norm and an early breakaway save when the game was minutes old gave his team a chance to find their legs. Had Cooke had an off night the score could have been far greater than just 4-2.

  • It was a tentative start for two teams that looked like they hadn't seen each other all season - which they hadn't. The Rockets generated little in the way of shots in the first 10 minutes of the game, but despite being tentative, they went into the dressing room tied at zero.

  • The Ice clearly had a solid respect for the Rockets power play and were extremely disciplined. They veered away from that game plan once they regained their two goal lead in the third period, but up until that point they made few trips to the penalty box.

  • Brayden McNabb and James Martin were extremely good on Kootenay's back end. You have to remember I don't see this team but once a season, so I was impressed by how they handled themselves in the offensive zone and how physical they both were. As a team, the Ice out-hit the Rockets by a wide margin. The Ice are big but also have the ability to skate.

  • The 'after two period statistics' is almost right on the money at this time of the year. As an example, Kootenay's statistic shows they have lost just twice in regulation time after leading after two periods. As it would turn out, the Ice had a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes only to see the Rockets score two quick goals to tie the game. Rather than getting rattled, the Ice scored the final two goals for their 39th win of the season.

  • It was a pleasure to speak with Ice GM Jeff Chynoweth before Tuesday's game. The interview featured Chynoweth talking candidly about the attendance at Ice home games. Chynoweth didn't beat around the bush at his disappointment in the smallish crowds at the Rec-Plex, specifically since the acquisition of Cody Eakin. I will post a portion of the interview once I edit it down. The 11 minute interview was time well spent.

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