Saturday, October 12, 2013

'Negative Ned' won't rear his ugly head

  • Disappointed with the loss. Not disappointed with the effort. That would best sum up the Kelowna Rockets 4-3 shootout loss last night to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. When you manufacture 43 shots on net, many of the quality variety, plus you are stoned by a hot goaltender, it is really tough to leave the building dissatisfied with the Rockets overall play. If you want to get really picky, giving up a 3-1 third period lead hurts and scoring only once on seven power play chances isn't good enough, but really the effort was there. I can't be overly critical considering they were playing an awfully good Seattle team. 
  • I thought the T-Birds had the early jump in this one and momentum only shifted after the visitors found themselves in penalty trouble. The Rockets had four power plays in the first period and were unable to find the back of the net. It marked only the third time this season the Rockets have opened the scoring. 
  • The forwards were again a solid group. I thought they were physical and created good things around the T-Bird net. I would like to see more secondary chances on goal, especially when you face a goalie that is in a zone and will be tough to beat on an original shot. Justin Myles was terrific for the T-Birds and in my books should have been named the first star. The Seattle goalie was one of the main reasons they earned two points and the Rockets came away with their second shootout loss of the season.
  • How about that backhand shootout goal by T-Birds d-man Shea Theodore? Magnifico. Check the highlite video to appreciate it. In my opinion that is WHL Plays of the Week material. 
  • I really liked the play of Zack Franko. I have liked him the last three games as one of the best players on the ice. The 20 year-old is bringing more consistency to his game. Adding an assist on Madison Bowey's goal, Franko is off to a terrific start.
  • It was a better game for the Rockets d-core. Still turning over the puck too much for my liking, they moved the puck better and made safer plays. They could still be more physical. I would guess that Cole Martin was the teams most physical blue liner, which really shouldn't be the case considering he is just 170 pounds.   
  • It was my first chance to see 16 year-old rookie Mathew Barzal in action. While he didn't hit the score sheet, he's a terrific player. Barzal is calm with the puck and his offensive instincts are above average. If I had to compare him with Rockets rookie Nick Merkley, on this night, they were darn close. Merkley is getting power play time and has 9 points in 8 games. Barzal has 12 points in nine games.
  • Both teams scored a fluke goal. Madison Bowey's shot hits Seattle defenceman Jared Hauf and goes in and then Hauf fires a long shot on net that deflects off Rockets d-man Damon Severson and makes its way past Jordon Cooke. Both goals were the third of the game for either team. It felt like the 'Hockey Gods' wanted this game to end in overtime or a shootout. 
  • Tyrell Goulbourne was involved in his first fight of the season when he dropped the gloves with Seattle's Mitch Elliott. I would call it a draw as neither player threw a sever blow at one another. Goulbourne had the take down for what that's worth? Goulbourne is on pace to fight only nine times this season. Times are a changing.
  • Eleven of the Rockets 37 goals have been scored from the defensive core.
  • While Seattle and Prince Albert have scored most goals than the Rockets, they have also played more games. The 37 goals the team has scored this season averages out to 4.63 goals per game, among the best in the WHL.    

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