Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lackadaisical after nine day layoff

(Photo courtesy of Marissa Baecker)
  • No energy. No jump. No execution. A nine day layoff for the Christmas holidays came back to bite the Kelowna Rockets in a disappointing 4-1 loss Tuesday night to the visiting Spokane Chiefs. The Chiefs, winners of just three road games prior to the Christmas holidays, scored two power play goals in their 16th win of the season. The victory also moved the Chiefs four points up on the Rockets for 5th place in the Western Conference. The two teams meet again in just eight days.
  • You knew this would be a tough night when the Rockets manufactured just four shots on goal in the opening period. With a standing room only crowd of 62 hundred fans wanting to get their hockey fix, the home team disappointed despite receiving three power play chances in the opening frame. The Rockets have no one to blame but themselves as they saw their home record drop to 9-9-0-1.
  • Had it not been for goaltender Adam Brown, the Rockets could have been in a much larger hole then just being down 1-0 after 20 minutes. Brown made some solid stops throughout the night and was clearly the only player ready to compete for the full 60 minutes.
  • Veterans Cody Chikie and Myles Bell returned the line up Tuesday night. Both players missed the entire Eastern Conference road trip after being sidelined with injuries. Bell earned an assist on Brett Bulmer late third period goal while Chikie had a tremendous chance in the second period but was stoned by Chiefs goaltender Mac Engel. Engel won't get much credit at the end of the night, but the veteran goaltender did come through with some big saves, including denying rookie forward Filip Vasko of his first career WHL goal in the third period.
  • Bulmer's goal extended his point streak to a career high 10 games.
  • Rookie 15 year-old forward Justin Kirkland earned his first career WHL point with an assist on Bulmer's third period goal.
  • The Chiefs won the game without leading point getter Anthony Bardaro. Bardaro was reportedly sick but looked no worse for wear as he sat in the press box laughing it up with a teammate.
  • Rockets defenceman Mitchell Chapman left the game after becoming ill. The loss of the 19 year-old allowed rookie Tanner Moar to play some significant minutes back on the blue line.

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