Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ugly would best describe it

The Kelowna Rockets deserved better Friday night in a 2-1 loss to the Portland Winterhawks. A night later in Vancouver, they deserved worse and got better.
Make sense? Let me explain.
The Rockets looked flat and only generated seven shots through 40 minutes. By the grace of the hockey Gods, the Rockets earned a 4-3 win over a depleted Giants line up. Vancouver, losers 11-4 to Tri City a night earlier, fired 39 shots at the Rockets net despite playing without leading scorer Brendan Gallagher and top defenceman David Musil. Giants veteran goaltender Adam Morrison was also sidelined with injury meaning 16 year-old Jackson Whistle received the start and struggled. At the other end, Adam Brown essentially stole the two points with a terrific goaltending performance. Carter Rigby's third period goal stood up as the game winner. Brown was named the game's first star.

The game started off with fireworks just nine seconds into the opening period. Giants d-man Wes Vannieuwenhuizen elected to fight Rockets 19 year-old Mitchell Chapman, which proved to be a bad idea. Chapman totally dominated Vannieuwenhuizen with several huge upper cuts that were never returned. It was all Chapman in the most lopsided decision of the d-man's career. If he keeps this up, NHL scouts are going to be inquiring about his services as a camp invite.

What surprised me most was the Rockets response after the Chapman tilt. They looked totally flat, it appeared they had driven five hours the night before and planted their heads on a hotel pillow at 4:30 in the morning. Oh ya, come to think of it, they did. Fortunately, the Rockets escaped the first period tied at one despite generating just four shots on net.

The second period was much like the first with the Rockets generating little in the way of offense. Yet, when Myles Bell came out of the penalty box and Brett Bulmer flipped the puck to centre ice, the 18 year-old d-man found himself on a two on one with Colton Sissons. Sissons took the pass from Bell and fired home his team leading 22nd goal of the season. Who would have thought the Rockets could be leading 2-1 after 40 minutes with only seven shots on net?

The Rockets let a 3-1 third period lead slip away as the Giants scored two quick goals less than a minute apart to tie the game at three. Head Coach Ryan Huska immediately called a time out before Carter Rigby promptly scored the game winner 46 seconds later.

I sure like the confident swagger 20 year-old Brett Lyon brings to the team. Involved in two fights against the Giants, the veteran engages himself physically and is tough to play against. Lyon's open ice hit on Taylor Makin was a prime example of the physical element he brings to the team. It is only three games, but I think Rockets fans will be happy with him when he makes his home debut Wednesday night.

The road trip ends Sunday afternoon in Everett against the Tips. Wouldn't it be fitting if euro Filip Vasko would score his first career WHL goal in Everett? You may remember, Vasko scored the game winner in a shootout on opening night against the Tips. Vasko hasn't found the back of the net since.


Ryan said...

Man Regan you should watch the Chapman fight online and listen to the Giants PBP guy describe it. During the fight he basically ignores punches thrown by Chapman and acts like the Giant is chucking haymakers, then at the end describes it as neither player doing any damage.

There is Homer calling but this is a joke.

Regan Bartel said...

Wes took more than a few on that tilt.
I have found that some video's are about a second or two behind when a fight happens.
I viewed one that I was calling and it was a second or two off. Makes the play-by-play look bad.

Unknown said...

Here's a link to the Chapman vs Vannieuwenhuizen video. (nice work by Chappy)