Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rockets flop back to reality

The Kelowna Rockets looked like a 6th place team in the Western Conference Friday night in Lethbridge. The home town Hurricanes looked anything but a team destined to finish out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference for a second consecutive season. Brady Ramsay scored all three goals on the power play as the Hurricanes out-worked the Rockets in a 6-2 win. The loss snapped Kelowna's two game winning streak while extending Lethbridge's to a modest three games.

The Hurricanes dominated the first period and had it not been for the play of Adam Brown this one would have been ugly early. The Hurricanes played huge stretches of the period inside the offensive zone and the Rockets were content to watch rather than react to what was in front of them. Brown made a sensational save against Russell Maxwell and then positioned himself well on a 2 on 1 by stoning Nick Buonassisi at close range. Despite those two stops, the Hurricanes recorded ten quality chances in the first period alone and carried a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

The Rockets were guilty of being extremely weak in front of their own net. Give the Hurricanes credit for being hungry, but not been strong on sticks allowed the Hurricanes to beat Brown from several in-tight chances. The 20 year-old goaltender was replaced by Jordon Cooke to start the third period. Brown, despite his solid play, gave up five goals on 29 shots.

Much like Brown's numbers don't tell the entire story, the same can be said for the number of shots the Rockets registered towards the Hurricanes net. While 39 looks impressive on paper, the number of quality chances were few. The best came when Brett Bulmer recovered a loose puck inside the Lethbridge blue line, skated in on a breakaway, made a terrific move, only to find the left toe of a down and out Damien Ketlo.

Speaking of Bulmer, criticize him all you want, but the 19 year-old really came to play Friday night. He often dominated play and was consistently the Rockets best forward. At the end of the night he is held off the score-sheet, but in this game you couldn't but help notice his strong play.

It marked the first time in nine road games that the Rockets failed to earn a point.

It must be hard not to start Jordon Cooke on the road. While Adam Brown is clearly the number one goalie, Cooke has lost only twice in regulation in 11 road starts this season. Cooke is 5-2-2-2 in 11 road games.

1 comment:

g.k said...

I was quite excited to watch this game on TV as we don't get to see the Rockets on the tube very often. The excitement was short-lived however!! Wow was that a pathetic performance!!