- On Wednesday the Kelowna Rockets solidified the three 20 year-old players they will be going with this season. Two night's later the three overagers the team kept played a major factor in a 6-2 home ice win over the defending WHL champion Portland Winterhawks. Twenty year-old goaltender Jordon Cooke was named the games first star making 41 saves in the clubs fourth win of the young season. Twenty year-old Myles Bell had two goals and elder statesman Zach Franko had two assists. The win, before a crowd of just over 5 thousand fans, improved the Rockets record to 4-0-0-1 and moved them into sole possession of first place in the Western Conference.
- Without Cooke's heroics the result could have been different or the score would have been closer. The veteran goaltender was the best player on the ice. Despite giving up what would be considered a soft goal five minutes into the game, the Leduc, Alberta product showed the mental toughness that only elite goaltenders possess in shrugging off a tough start. Cooke looked fresh and having Wednesday night off in Everett may have had something to do with it.
- Myles Bell needs to score big goals in big games and found the back of the net twice on Friday. Bell opened the scoring and then notched the game winner 6 minutes into the second period on the power play. The 20 year-olds wrist shot, which is extremely accurate, is one of the best in the game.
- Despite the four goal win, the Rockets made it far to easy for the Winterhawks to gain the zone and played a chasing game for long stretches. Often playing a cute game, the Rockets needed to dumb down the game by hitting and taking shots from anywhere on the ice. Much needs to improve in order to pull off the sweep of the weekend series Saturday night when the same two teams hook up again at Prospera Place.
- While Nic Petan will receive a lot of attention after his 120 point season a year ago, I thought the best Winterhawks forward was Alex Schoenborn. Portland head coach Mike Johnston would likely agree as Schoenborn logged considerable ice time and had several point blank scoring chances on Cooke. Chase De Leo also had a strong game but failed to find the score sheet.
- I wouldn't have expected 17 year-old Riley Stadel to be the first Rockets player to be involved in a fight this season but that's exactly what happened Friday night. Stadel elected to scrap with Steven Alldridge. Rockets head coach Ryan Huska said on the post game show that Stadel's fight was one of two turning points in the game. The other was his teams ability to kill off all six Winterhawk power plays.
- Give the coaching staff credit for putting Nick Merkley, Tyrell Goulbourne and Tyson Baillie together. United on Wednesday in a 6-3 win in Everett, that line has combined for 13 points in the last two games. Merkley now has five goals this season after back-to-back two goal games.
- It was nice to run into Shane McColgan during the second intermission. The Portland Winterhawks forward is sidelined with a hand injury and won't play this weekend. It was nice to see the 20 year-old in the press box talking to owner Bruce Hamilton before coming by our broadcast location for a quick chat.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Cooke plays crook in four goal win
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