Amazing what a few
days of r and r will do for a team.
Credit the coaches, training staff and
players for taking advantage of a four day break from game action earlier this
week. After winning just two of seven games, panic set in from everyone outside
of the Rockets dressing room. What was happening? Why was this team struggling to
beat Spokane, Portland and Kamloops? Folks, they were playing high end teams and
were mentally and physically drained. Tired. Gassed. Pooped.
Well rested though heading into this weekend, the Rockets looked anything
but a team struggling after back-to-back impressive 8-3 and 7-2 wins over the
Victoria Royals. The Rockets looked exactly like the team that treated us to a
23 game home ice winning streak and vaulted them into the CHL Top 10 rankings.
As one off ice official told me after Saturday's game, "This team looks like
they could make a run". After two weekend wins, I couldn't argue.
Victoria Royals unraveled in both games and team discipline was a huge issue.
The end result was a Rockets power play that struck for 6 goals on 14
opportunities. That's a success rated of 43 percent. The Royals wanted to engage
in a slugfest and beat the Rockets down, literally. The Rockets preferred to
take out their aggression in another manner and it provided a lopsided
scoreboard that looked like this at weekends end. Kelowna Rockets 15. Victoria
Royals defenceman Keegan Kanzig is a big, tough player but you have to know when and when not to fight. Kanzig picks a fight with an
unwilling (do you blame him) Rockets forward Colton Heffley and receives an
instigator penalty. The Rockets promptly strike for a power play goal and they
are off to the races. It was the start of three goals in under 2 minutes and the
Rockets were up 3-0. Kanzig never saw a shift for the remainder of the first
The best player on the ice Saturday night was Cody Fowlie. The
20 year-old scored two goals and set up another and leaves Victoria with three
goals and a career high 17 on the season. If he was still playing for his old
team, the Everett Silvertips, Fowlie would be third in team scoring.
best Royals' over the two nights were d-man Joe Hicketts and forward Ben Walker.
Those two play consistently hard from puck drop to the sound of the buzzer.
While the Rockets are 6 and 1 in the seasonal series, those two always impress
The best fight Saturday night came when Royals 19 year-old Logan
Nelson elected to pick on 16 year-old Riley Stadel. Nelson traded punches and eventually got knocked down by the 5 foot 9 rookie
The Rockets were the first team this season to beat the Royals on
home ice in back-to-back games. Victoria has lost seven home games this season,
three of them to the Rockets.
The win Saturday night was big on so many
levels. It provided renewed confidence (swagger) and moved the Rockets five
points up on Kamloops for first place in the BC Division. The Rockets also moved
into sole possession of second place on the overall WHL standings with nine
games left in the regular season.
Up next, a date with Seattle on
Thursday in the first of thankfully, three games in four nights not three games
in three nights.
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- McKinlay having career year
- Rockets games notes vs. Seattle
- Things that make me go hmmm....
- Goal scoring by committee - audio
- The race for first place
- There back!
- Rockets get their groove back
- Flashback interview with Tyson Barrie
- Rockets all-time leading d-man pots first in NHL
- Fatigue a factor in February losses
- Rockets game notes vs. Blazers
- Photo's from Everett
- Game notes vs. Tips
- Huska heading into BC Hockey Hall of Fame
- Petan's natural hattrick audio
- Fight is YouTube hit - literally!
- Character win to end tough stretch
- Winterhawks prove they are a cut above
- Despite the outcome, that my friends was fun
- Rockets game notes vs. Winterhawks
- First regulation loss of 2013
- By the numbers
- 40 never looked so good
- 'Whistle' while you work
- A January to remember
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