The Kelowna Rockets proved on the opening weekend of the regular season that they are not a one trick pony. They would be a far better team with those four in the line up, but even without them, this team has the ability to win hockey games.
Back-to-back wins against the Kamloops Blazers this weekend by identical 5-2 scores didn't come without its warts, but were we expecting a flawless performance in an exercise that last 72 regular season games?
The two games featured its share of highlites though. Here are a few of them.
- Sixteen year-old first round pick Nick Merkley scored his first career WHL goal Saturday night in a 5-2 win over the Blazers. At first it looked like line-mate Kris Schmidli had scored by his excitement after the puck went into the net. Video replay doesn't lie. Merkley was the last one to touch the puck on the goal mouth scramble.
- Schmidli wasn't denied on the weekend though. The 17 year-old Swiss registered his first career point - an assist - on Austin Glover's third period goal Friday night.
- Let's see....Merkley is playing with Schmidli and Glover. MSG. Some suggest MSG is a silent killer lurking in your kitchen. Maybe this new line is a silent killer?
- How nice was it to see the 2013 BC Division banner go high into the rafters Saturday night at Prospera Place? It was nice to see Myles Bell in uniform for the pre-game ceremony. Without his 93 points last season, that 9 point differential between the Rockets and Blazers would have been significantly tighter.
- I really liked the play of Jesse Lees and Cole Martin on the weekend. Specifically in Saturday's game, those two ramped it up with some nice defensive plays.
- A goalie making a spectacular glove hand save always has the crowd gasping, but how about the blocker save Jordon Cooke made in the second period? A rising shot that looks labeled for the left corner and the 20 year-old comes across and turns it aside. One word - beautiful.
- Cooke made his 100th appearance of his career Saturday night. Adam Brown is the franchise leader with 200 appearances. Kevin Swanson is next at 167.
- Tyson Baillie had a four point night with two goals and two assists in Saturday's 5-2 victory. It was the 17 year-old's first four point game of his career.
- The penalty killing unit was 9 for 9 in two games.
- Austin Glover scored his first goal of the season Friday night. It took him 30 games to score his first of the season last year.
- Up next, a date with the Victoria Royals next Saturday. It is really to bad we have to wait that long. Instead of playing four games in five night's or five games in seven nights later down the road, this week would have been ideal to avoid that by playing a mid week game.
- When was the last time the Rockets started the season 2-0-0-0? It was 2011-2012 when the Rockets beat Everett 5-4 in a shootout before winning their home opener 6-3 over Vancouver.