- The Rockets ended the pre-season portion of the schedule Saturday night with a convincing 6-1 win over the visiting Vancouver Giants. Rourke Chartier and Tyson Baillie each had a goal and two assists while goaltender Jackson Whistle made 24 of 25 saves in the win. The Rockets were 3 for 10 on the power play and finish the exhibition schedule with a 3 and 1 record.
- Tyson Baillie had 4+4=8 in four games, leading the team in scoring for a third consecutive pre-season. A 26 goal man from last season, Baillie is poised to put up some impressive numbers in his third season in the WHL. To think he is still 17. Baillie won't turn 18 until November 16th.
- Rourke Chartier had a strong pre-season with 7 points in four games. Last night he played with a full shield after being roughed up against Kamloops the night before.
- It was nice to see Henrik Nyberg find some offensive success in pre-season. Nyberg, now 19, scored twice in pre-season. While providing energy on the fore check, I am sure the coaches would like to see his name on the score sheet a few more times this season. As an older player, he has to make a greater contribution.
- I again like Dalton Yorke (pictured right) on the Rockets blue line. The most physical d-man the Rockets iced last night, Yorke isn't afraid to make an opposition forward pay for carrying the puck. So many defenceman learn to angle guys off, which is good, but it sure is nice to see someone attempt to paste an opponent in open ice or along the boards the old fashioned way.
- Jackson Whistle was steady in goal. Positionally sound is the name of his game and getting his big body in front of pucks works well for the 18 year-old. Of the two goaltenders, Payton Lee of the Vancouver Giants was called upon more to make bigger saves. The only shot that got by Whistle was a long range clear-in that hit the glass behind the net, then bounced off Whistle's back and into the goal.
- It was my first look at Tyler Benson. The first player taken in the 2013 WHL bantam draft had poise with the puck and made solid, smart decisions. Benson isn't the type of player that carries the puck for extended periods of time and makes a series of sensational moves in an effort to score. Like all good goal scorers though, he is often in a position to create a good scoring opportunity for himself or a teammate.
- Both teams were without several significant players who are attending NHL training camps.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Rockets close out pre-season with win
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