- That's why we play the games. Anything, yes anything can happen in one game. The Vancouver Giants had 20 fewer wins than the Kelowna Rockets entering Saturday's game but that meant little to the home team. The last place Giants, who have traded away almost any player of value in an effort to rebuild, were up for the challenge in outworking and outplaying the BC Division leaders in a 4-3 overtime win. The Giants got what they deserved and so did the Rockets when defenceman Brett Kulak scored the game winner with 1:59 left on the clock. The win snapped the Giants four game losing streak and ended the Rockets run of 8 consecutive wins.
- The Rockets have lost three consecutive overtime games in Vancouver.
- The Rockets have lost all three overtime games they've played this season. Losses to Kamloops, Medicine Hat and now Vancouver.
- This looked like a cake walk when the Rockets struck for two goals on their first three shots of the game. Colton Sissons scored less than a minute into the game before Rourke Chartier responded 45 seconds later to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. Lights out for the Giants right? Nope. Two power play goals from Jackson Houk and the willingness to win puck battles helped the home team bounce back after a terrible start.
- As poorly as the Rockets played through 40 minutes, which included only five shots in the second period, we have seen them crush the opposition by ratcheting up their game in the third. It didn't happen Saturday night. With a power play that struggled mightily (0 for 5), you knew the winning streak was in jeopardy and an upset was in the making. The best scoring opportunity on three power play chances in the third period alone came from 20 goal man Ryan Olsen who worked the puck wide of the net on a nice set up at the side of the goal.
- We saw the true value of Myles Bell. Suspended for his hit on Americans defenceman Zachary Yuen a night earlier, Bell's presence on the power play was missed with his heavy shot from the blue line. Taking him out of the line up was a huge factor in a power play that has essentially won them games this season. That is why Bell is considered the team MVP. His overall value to the success of this team is clearly noted when #29 is missing from the line up. Bell makes Colton Sissons better and makes Zach Franko a constant threat.
- With Bell missing Saturday's game with a suspension, Dylen McKinlay is now the only Rockets player that has dressed in every game this season. In today's concussion conscious world, that is no small feat. McKinlay scored his 16th goal of the season late in the second period to give his team a 3-2 lead heading into the dressing room. The 20 year-old now has 43 points, tying his career high set with the Chilliwack Bruins in the 2009-2010 season when he scored 20 times while dressing in all 72 regular season games.
- The Rockets were minus Bell, Mitch Wheaton, Henrik Nyberg and Cody Fowlie. Those are four significant players but against the worst team in the WHL, a solid effort should have seen the road team earn the two points.
- Some will think I'm coming down to hard on the team. When you win 31 games, are the second best team in the WHL when it comes to points, the bar is raised. Expectations are high. Teams lower in the standings are gunning for you. Every night you have to be up to the challenge.
- Considering the Rockets were outworked and outplayed, they should feel fortunate to earn a point out of that effort. They remain three points up on Kamloops for first place in the BC Division after the Blazers earned only two of a possible four up in Prince George on the weekend.
- Just over 75 hundred fans took in last night's game in Vancouver. I thought the atmosphere was terrific. For a team with a league high 18 losses at home, the Giants marketing department has to be pleased with the strong number of fans in the seats.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
That's why we play the games..anything can happen
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