One thing is guaranteed. You will get two very different opinions from both the winning and losing side after a hockey game.
The winner will feel their team was full marks for the victory while the losing team believes they either under performed or were slighted in some way.
Let me give you the losing perspective as I witnessed the Kelowna Rockets 2-1 loss to the Portland Winterhawks at the Rose Garden Friday night.
Defenceman Mitchell Chapman is assessed a cross checking penalty at the side of the Rockets net with under six minutes to play in a terrific 1-1 tie. The Hawks go on the power play where d-man Joe Morrow scores the game winning goal.
We've seen this time and time again where an official involves himself in the game when he could have simply let the two teams decide it on their own. Previously to Chapman's cross check, Rockets rookie forward Tyson Baillie is seen receiving what appears to be a high hit just outside the blue line. No call...and you know what? I can handle that because it's a good game, and while it is likely a penalty, it would be a marginal call in a tied game. I'm still of the school of thought that unless it's vicious, keep the whistle in the pocket and let the two combatants duel it out until buzzer sounds.
It didn't happen.
Too bad, but let's move on.
The rant is over.
Both goaltenders have to be applauded for the excellent performance. Jordon Cooke was tremendous in the Rockets net and Mac Carruth, while not spectacular in the early stages of the game, saved his best save for last. With the Hawks clinging to a 2-1 lead and the Rockets net empty for the extra attacker, rookie d-man Madison Bowey finds teammate Brett Bulmer in the slot with the puck. Bulmer's shot looks labeled for the right side of the net, but Carruth makes a game saving stop with 5 seconds left on the clock.
Of the 35 stops Jordon Cooke made, how many came off the stick of Hawks d-man Joe Morrow? Man, he shoots the puck a lot and has a great release. Sure he makes errors in his own zone, but what he does at the other end of the ice is awfully impressive.
I thought 20 year-old Cody Chikie came alive as the game wore on. Chikie's best period was the third, when he had two golden opportunities. Like his teammates, the veteran forward is struggling finding the back of the net. He's creating things but now has to bear down for a stronger finish.
It was nice to see Zach Franko score. His third period goal was his first in 14 games.
As previously mentioned, this game was played at the Rose Garden. Spectacular! Everything about the game you had to enjoy. From the score clock to the cheerleaders to the game itself, it was a treat to be back. You can't beat the American sports fan, you just can't. In the final minute everyone gets on their feet and cheers as the home team is attempting to tie a franchise record with it's 16th consecutive home ice win. You just can't get better fan interaction than that.
The Rockets were on the bus immediately after the game where they arrived to snow flurries in Vancouver. The team will likely get a cold reception Saturday night after the Giants were humiliated at home to the visiting Tri City Americans.