Thursday, January 26, 2012

How do you like me now?

Country singer Toby Keith sang it best, "How do you like me now". How do you like the Rockets now?

  • Ryan Huska didn't want to admit it was his teams biggest win of the season. Yet, he did agree that it was one of the most complete efforts of the 2011-2012 campaign. The Kelowna Rockets knocked off the best team in the Western Hockey League Wednesday night with an impressive 3-2 shootout win over the Kamloops Blazers. The Blazers hadn't tasted a defeat in nine straight games. Zach Franko,again, scored the shootout winning goal with his 7th of the season after beating Blazers goaltender Cole Cheveldave to the stick side. Franko's heroics came on the heels of a third period goal from Brett Bulmer, who tied the game at two after a great rush up the ice. It marked only the second time this season, and second in two games, that the Rockets rallied to win after trailing after 40 minutes. Up until that point, the Rockets had gone 19 games without a win when trailing after two periods.
  • I thought the Rockets had a really good start thanks to an opening shift by veteran Cody Chikie. The 20 year-old set the tone that a win in Kelowna wouldn't come easy for a Blazers team loaded with depth and talent. While out-shot 9-6 in the opening frame, the Rockets created no less than three solid scoring chances.
  • Brett Bulmer! What can you say? When he is on his game the 19 year-old is a force. Bulmer scored a crucial goal in the third period but was dangerous every time he touched the puck. He looked so much better alongside Shane McColgan after head coach Ryan Huska changed up the lines in an effort to generate more offense. Bulmer was named the games first star.
  • Damon Severson returned to the line up Wednesday night after missing 16 games with a hand injury. The 17 year-old, remarkably, didn't miss a beat and was arguably the Rockets best d-man. In fact, the entire d-core had an extremely solid game, and despite a series of turnovers, they did a good job of recovering after making an error.
  • How big was MacKenzie Johnston's sweep check in the dying seconds of regulation time off of Blazers leading scorer Brendan Ranford? Ranford picks up a pass behind Johnston and is going in on what appears to be a breakaway in a 2-2 game. Johnston doesn't give up on the play, skates back hard, dives, and gets his stick on the puck and sweeps it aside. What a great play with a tremendous desire to compete. Impressive.
  • Speaking of impressive. How about Tyrell Goulbourne's second period fight with Blazers d-man Tyler Bell. Goulbourne again showed that he is one of the toughest 17 year-old's in the entire WHL. Question is, has Goulbourne lost a fight this season?
  • The Rockets were clearly ramped up for this game. They were facing the best team in the league, had a national TV audience watching and a big crowd in the building. Clearly if they could play with that type of passion and intensity every game they wouldn't find themselves in the lower portion of the Western Conference. In saying that, if this indeed is the turning point of the season so be it. It is better to find your game in late January than lose it with two months left in the regular season. Because as they say, anything can happen in the playoffs. If the Rockets play like they did Wednesday, beware!


Unknown said...

best game of 2012 yet luv those guys when they compete... let s see what the week end brings..When is Astles suppose to be back . He would look good beside chickie right now ..

jaz301 said...

That definitely was the best rockets game of the season. It is really annoying that the rockets can have such a great game one night and the next night play with no emotion at all. Why cant the rockets play like they did last night every game? Lets hope the rockets continue playing like this for rest of the season.

StolzHockey said...

Game of the Year. I'd love to hear from the people who were hating on the Rockets last week after the Everett/Lethbridge games. Every team has nights off, like it or not.

At the end of the day, it's the wins against teams like Kamloops that show you this team's worth. These are the teams we're going to have to play in the playoffs, not Everett.

MG said...

Sure you can hear from me :) Last night they played awesome, even Bulmer had a good game. However, we are 49 games into the season and finally saw last night what they can do if they come together and play. I think they need to establish a bit of consistency before anyone starts back tracking on the comments about their poor performance this season.

Jared Comeau said...

I'm still not convinced this team can have consistant efforts through the season. They play to the level of their competition, and if they can't play like that against the lower teams, there is no hope for them in the Playoffs. String together 4-5 games of efforts like that, then I might be convinced, but until then.....................Prove to the Rockets faithful that you really are as good as you played on Wednesday.

StolzHockey said...

In the last 10 games from all Western Conference teams, there has only been three teams hotter than Kelowna (6-4-0). These teams are Kamloops (9-0-1), Spokane (8-1-1) and Portland (7-3-0).

We've beaten all three of these teams in January.

Now I'm not saying this team is going to roll over everyone and win the Memorial Cup, but to think this team can't give us a round or two of exciting, hard-fought playoff Hockey is absurd. If you believe this team won't make it out of the first round, please do the rest of us a favour and don't bother purchasing playoff tickets.