Sunday, February 5, 2012

Solid Road Effort

  • On Friday night the Kelowna Rockets looked flat and uninspired in a 2-1 win in Prince George. One night later that same team was energized, enthused and all aspects of their game were intact in a 4-1 road win against the Cougars. Shane McColgan scored once and added two assists in the teams 24th win of the season. The win extended the Rockets road winning streak to a season high five games.

  • The first two shifts of the game was a precursor of things to come. The Rockets elevated their physical play and received a terrific effort from 16 year-old Jesse Lees. Used as a forward, Lees set the tone physically with a solid hit on Cougars d-man Jesse Forsberg. Lees got reacquainted with Forsberg again with a solid hit in the third period. Lees was forced to play forward with the loss of Brett Bulmer (illness) and Brett Lyon (suspension). With Lees's strong play up front, it makes you wonder how good he could be if he was used regularly as a forward.

  • The game was won or lost in the second period. In a 1-1 tie, the Rockets scored two goals in a span of 35 seconds before Carter Rigby closed out the scoring with his first goal in nine games. In the second period the Rockets generated an impressive 21 shots on net.

  • Overall, the Rockets registered a season high 49 shots on goal. Had it not been for the strong play of Cougars goaltender Devon Fordyce, the score could have been much worse. While the 17 year-old would like to have had the third goal back, Fordyce made several solid saves and without question was the best Cougars player on the ice.

  • Adam Brown had the easiest night of his 20 year-old season. The veteran goaltender faced just 15 shots. Brown is now 27-5-0-1 lifetime (regular season/playoffs) against Prince George.

  • Mitchell Chapman left the game early in the first period after receiving a hit in front of the Cougars bench. The 19 year-old never returned. Carter Rigby was also hit in the third period and didn't return.

  • The Rockets are now 6-1-0-0 against the Cougars this season with one more game against them in March.

  • The Rockets now sit 14 points up Victoria and appear to be locked into 6th place in the Western Conference. Things can change, but the third seed in the Western Conference appears the Rockets first round playoff opponent.


Anonymous said...

go rockets go! I know that if they work this hard all the time they can go all the way!! :)

StolzHockey said...

The Rockets are now 7-2-1 in their last 10, which now ties us with Kamloops and Spokane for hottest in the West.

This win also put Kelowna a game ahead of .500

We have two more games against the Giants, and they both happen to be the final games of the Regular Season for the Rockets. If we continue at this pace, we should be able to close the gap on the Giants, and those last two games could mean the difference.

Keep in mind, Spokane and the final Home Ice slot are right there in the standings as well.

Gord McGarva said...

Great to see some positive comments StolzHockey.

Finishing 4th or 5th will be a daunting task.

If the Rockets win/loss record in their final 19 games is 15-4 they will finish with a season record of 39-27-2-4. Good for 84 points.

The Giants would need to go 9-10 in their remaining 19 games to finish at 83 points. (40-29-1-2)

Spokane would need to go 9-11 in their final 20 to finish with 83 points. (38-27-4-3)

Can this happen? Possibly.

It would be great to see the Rockets on a roll during Feb and March and carry it into the playoffs.

StolzHockey said...

I'd say passing Vancouver in the standings is a possibility, especially if we sweep those last two games.

The Giants have four more games against Kamloops, and a road trip through the States coming up. Assuming some of the weaker teams like Victoria and Everett can put up a fight against the Giants, I would like to think that a 9-10 record (or worse), may not be far from reality. The Giants have been playing .500 Hockey at best lately, and if you think our fans are complaining about consistency, just go chat up a Giants fan. (Losses to Lethbridge/Red Deer, wins over Kamloops/Portland in last 10)

Spokane is a huge stretch at this point, I will admit, but anything is possible.

g.k said...

I would say the Rockets best bet of getting through the first round would be for the Blazers to fall to the 3rd spot, they can be had & it would be great hockey just like the old times!! Would'nt take all that much for Portland to overtake them.

StolzHockey said...

In response to G.K.:

The WHL gives the top two seeds in the playoffs to the BC and US division leaders. So unless Vancouver finds a way to close that 13 point gap between themselves and the Blazers, Kamloops is guaranteed to finish top two in the Western Conference playoff picture.

I'd say the possibility of us playing anyone but Spokane, Portland or Tri-Cities in the first round is pretty close to zero.

g.k said...

I stand corrected, thanks Stolz!! Now the way I see it, if the Rockets don't start playing more consistently on a nightly basis, they will have a tough time beating any of those teams in a seven game series, but hey the Giant's beat the Patriots in the Superbowl so you never know!!