Sunday, January 29, 2012

Rockets rolling in January

At the start of January the Kelowna Rockets likely looked at the daunting schedule hoping it would come to an abrupt end. Now that it's over, saying goodbye to a month that treated them so well is a tough thing to do. The Rockets concluded a stretch of playing 14 games in 29 night's with a 4-3 win Sunday over the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Rockets closed off the month going 8-5-0-1. Those 17 points that were earned in January were five points better than the 14 points the team collected in November.

The key in Sunday's win was a four goal second period. Damon Severson, Cody Chikie, Colton Sissons and Brett Lyon scored in a period where the visitors generated 21 shots on goal. Lyon's goal with four seconds left in the period was the game winner when he received a pass from Tyrell Goulbourne at the right face-off circle and knifed it high under the cross bar of T-Birds goaltender Calvin Pickard.

Sissons goal, his 26th of the season, came on the power play, which ended the night going 1 for 4. But it was the Rockets penalty killing unit that deserves the most credit after shutting out the T-Birds on three power opportunities and a crucial fourth chance with Goulbourne in the box late in the game and Pickard on the bench for the extra attacker.

Carter Rigby got into the act with a fight with T-Birds d-man Dave Sutter. It was Rigby's third fighting major of the season. Brett Bulmer also got into a fight with Brad Deagle, but that scrap was more of a wrestling match than anything. I thought both teams showed more emotion in the re-match after a hum-drum effort Friday night in Kelowna.

Jordon Cooke earned his 6th win of the season in a rare start. The 18 year-old's best save came against d-man Dave Sutter when the T-Birds were holding a 1-0 lead. Sutter received a nice cross-crease pass but saw his shot go directly into the path of the left pad of a sprawling Cooke.

The Rockets sit 11 points back of the Giants for 5th place in the Western Conference and now sit 12 points up on Seattle for 6th. Up next, a trip to Prince George for back to back games next weekend.

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