Monday, October 29, 2012

Success on opposition ice

  • A huge confidence builder during a four game in five night road trip for the Kelowna Rockets. Wins over Calgary and Red Deer and a shootout loss to Medicine Hat to open the trip produced five out of a possible eight points. Impressive considering this team entered the trip without veterans JT Barnett, Mitch Chapman and Carter Rigby.
  • Lets be honest, the Rockets should have won Wednesdays game in Medicine Hat. They deserved a better fate after firing 58 shots at the Tigers net. Three nights later they had a 3-2 lead heading into the third period before the Edmonton Oil Kings came back with three unanswered goals. In every game they played on the trip, the ability to win was there. That is an encouraging sign.
  • Sundays game was as mental a battle as it was a physical one. The last game of a road trip can end in disaster with a sluggish effort or lift your spirits with a character building two points. Zach Franko scored twice and added an assist in a 4-1 win over the Hitmen, the teams 8th win of the season.
  • Franko is becoming a dangerous player. His backhand goal Sunday to tie the game at one was impressive. What also was impressive was Tyson Baillie's unselfish play on a two-on-one, when instead of shooting, the soon to be 17 year-old passed the puck to Franko who easily scored his second goal of the game and 9th of the season. Franko had 7+6=13 and was a +3 in October. Myles Bell led the way with 6+12=18 and was a +7 in October while line mate Colton Sissons was 9+7=16 with an impressive +12 rating.    
  • Is it any coincidence that Baillie had a goal a night after being a healthy scratch and then assisted on the game winner against the Hitmen? Sometimes a brief stint in the press box is positive when the first reaction to being a scratch is a negative one. There are so many positive attributes to Baillie's game, but we have to remember he is still extremely young. Patience must be taken with this second year forward that spent some time on the teams power play last season.
  • Was this Mitch Wheaton's best game? It would be close. The rookie d-man assisted on Franko's first period goal but also ramped up his physical game. While I don't like anyone taking a penalty, his minor for slashing was an aggressive penalty. I like a little more snarl in his game. It doesn't mean he needs to fight, but stepping into someone letting them know you mean business will give him or respect as the season moves along.
  • Wheaton saw significantly more ice time Sunday after 19 year-old MacKenzie Johnston was hurt Saturday night in Edmonton. Johnston's injury also allowed 16 year-old Riley Stadel the opportunity to show what he can do, and did he ever! Stadel was involved in a fight with Hitmen d-man Josh Thrower in a spirited tilt. This was no wrestling match as the two traded punches. I like Stadel's compete level.
  • Dylan McKinlay has been a good addition to the team. The 20 year-old scores timely goals and now has six on the season. McKinley scored the game winner Sunday when he was hard on the forecheck. My belief is McKinlay hasn't peaked. He can play better. McKinlay was 5+9=14 and had a +8 rating in October.
  • After an October schedule, which included a harsh dose of road games, the Rockets open a four game home stand Thursday against the Kamloops Blazers. These two teams opened the season in late September with a home and home series. The Blazers won both, but the two games were decided by a single goal.


g.k said...

Been a while since we had a successful road trip like that, congrats to the boys & keep up the hard work. Looking forward to the game on Thursday night, its been quite some time since the Blazers have had a team as talented as they do now, hopefully this will bring the old rivalry & hatred back that we use to see quite a few years back. Hey Regan what was your overall impression of Cody Fowlie, do you think he can stay here as an overage after the others get healthy??

Regan Bartel said...

I thought Fowlie was ok. As an older player he has an edge on some of the younger guys, so is considered an upgrade. In saying that, he needs to really show his game before Barnett and Chapman return. He is more of an energy guy and a checker, so you likely won't see him much on the score sheet.