- Hockey is a physical sport. Last night in Spokane, the majority of the Kelowna Rockets defensive core had a hands off approach in a 6-3 setback. It was a night filled with relentless stick checking which made for an extremely easy night on the Chiefs forwards, who were never forced to pay the price for carrying the puck. Had old timer Howie Meeker been watching last night's game he would have yelled out to all who would listen that the best way to separate the man from the puck is still, and will always be, initiating body contact.
- Initiating body contact doesn't mean hitting someone into next week, but don't be afraid to step into an opposing player to let them know you are there. A defenceman can have all the skill in the world, but if you don't apply any form of body contact the forwards face no retribution for hanging onto the puck.
- As tough of a night it was for the d-core, the same can't be said for the forwards. That unit, all 12 of them did enough good things to win the game. They brought energy and played a good portion of the game inside the Chiefs zone. In fact, the forwards were so good in the first period (the forwards were), they may have played close to 80 percent of the opening 20 minutes inside the Chiefs zone. The forwards should have left Spokane shaking their heads wondering how they crossed the border with no points in their back pocket.
- The best d-man for the Rockets was Riley Stadel. The 17 year-old was not without his warts, but he picked up two assists and fought for the second time this season. Stadel is turning into a terrific player because his compete level is above average and he has the offensive instincts to boot. It is funny that he wears sweater #3, the same number worn by assistant coach Dan Lambert when he starred with the Swift Current Broncos. In my opinion, Stadel has some tendency's that Lambert possessed as a player. There compete level and distaste for losing are a complete match.
- It amazed me that the Rockets were down 3-1 after one period because of the huge territorial advantage. The Chiefs manufactured 12 shots on net in the opening 20 minutes but saw little time in the o-zone. Essentially every time they had any sort of puck possession inside the Rockets zone they scored.
- Myles Bell scored once last night but should also be credited for an assist on Ryan Olsen's power play goal in the third period. Bell took the shot that seemed to make its way through the legs of Chiefs goaltender Eric Williams. Olsen obviously got a piece of it before it went in.
- The Rockets played this game without Colton Heffley. The 19 year-old was the significant scratch. With Carter Rigby close to returning (he is cleared for contact on Oct 19th), you may see more older players watching from the bleachers if their play doesn't improve.
- Zach Franko's 6 game point streak came to end last night. Despite being held off the scoreboard, the 20 year-old was very good and was one of the most dangerous players on the ice. Franko hit a goal post in the third period in an effort to keep his point streak alive.
- Up next, another huge challenge against the Seattle Thunderbirds Friday night. It is a rematch of last years epic playoff series and a first look at T-Birds rookie Mathew Barzal.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Failing to punish opponent hands Rockets first loss
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