- The Kelowna Rockets beat the Victoria Royals in many ways last night at Prospera Place. The scoreboard read 6-1, but the Rockets also beat the visitors at their own game by bringing the hammer down physically. The Rockets hit, scored and used their power play to win their 30th game of the season in lopsided fashion. It wasn't close. Damon Severson and Ryan Olsen each had a goal and two assists in the teams 7th straight win of the season and 16th consecutive on home ice. The win also moved the Rockets into sole possession of first place in the BC Division and now second place in the overall WHL standings, nine points shy of the Portland Winterhawks.
- What made this win so impressive was the fact the Rockets were playing with just five defenceman. With Madison Bowey fighting the flu, Jesse Lees, Riley Stadel, Damon Severson, MacKenzie Johnston and Cole Martin did a great job limiting the Royals to a handful of quality scoring chances. The forwards also deserve credit for keeping the puck at the other end of the ice for extended periods which takes the pressure off the short staffed defensive core.
- I thought it was a real good night for Jesse Lees. Lees was making hits, was composed with the puck and just made smart plays. It is fair to say it has been an up and down season for the 17 year-old, who plays well and stands out when he plays intense hockey but looks mediocre when he doesn't play with jam.
- It took 65 games, but 19 year-old MacKenzie Johnston scored in a wild second period where the Rockets erupted for five goals. Johnston is now +13 in his last seven games. Not bad for a d-man who plays against the other teams top players.
- The final score could have been 8-1. Dylen McKinlay had two outstanding chances to score, once in the first with a wide open net, and another ideal chance shorthanded with time ticking down, but again missed the net. McKinley would be leading the league in shorthanded goals had he potted that one. Oh well, at the end of the night his team had enough goals to cruise to the win.
- The Rockets 6 goals is the 7th time on home ice this season they have scored 6 or more times.
- I loved the way Tyrell Goulbourne responded when he was hit hard into the end boards by Royals d-man Jordan Fransoo. Instead of someone coming in to fight Fransoo, which seems to be the typical norm these days, Goulbourne got up, shook off the dust and began firing punches at Fransoo before rag dolling him to the ice. That was the perfect way to handle the situation. In fact, that's the way players used to deal with a cheap hit. They handled it themselves.
- Riley Stadel, Austin Glover and Rourke Chartier were all back in the line up after taking part in the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge in Quebec. I thought all three had good jump despite being held off the scoreboard.
- The reason why this team wins games is because of its diverse attack. Again it was 6 different goal scorers with 11 players registering a point.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
A 'Royal' beating
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