Sunday, November 10, 2013

Big win against solid opponent

Photo by Marrisa Baecker

    • If you had any questions about how good this Kelowna Rockets team can be this season, those doubts were answered last night in an impressive 2-0 win. The Rockets penalty killing unit was terrific. Jordon Cooke was solid. The defence played with bite and the forwards created good chances at the other end of the ice. It all added up to a complete effort in the Rockets 14th win of the season against a very good Edmonton Oil King team.
    • The penalty killing unit was unbelievable. I thought Mitch Wheaton and Cole Martin were especially good in the 8 for 8 effort. Speaking of defenceman, Damon Severson's compete level was where it needs to be consistently. I thought his battle level was impressive as he fought for loose pucks along the boards and behind his own net. Even off a turnover in his own zone, the 19 year-old made a great play to redeem himself in an effort to recover. I thought Severson was very good last night.
    • For the first time this season I thought the officiating was weak. While the Rockets were guilty of some infractions, it was tough to swallow when Damon Severson was accessed a penalty for roughing with 2 and a half minutes left in the game when he was clearly cross checked in front of his own net during a goal mouth scramble.  
    • You knew goal production would be tough to come by against the Oil Kings after going three straight games without allowing a goal against. It took a bank shot off the end boards that enabled rookie Justin Kirkland to open the scoring in the second period. In fact, both goals the Rockets would score came from rookies. Kris Schmidli continued his strong play with his third goal in five games.
    •  Kirkland has seven points in his last five games. 
    • Jordon Cooke was solid yet not hugely tested in his 7th career shutout. Cooke now has the best goals against average in the WHL at 2.03.        
    • The biggest surprise for me was the play of Oil Kings forward Curtis Lazar. Maybe the road trip took its toll, but the sharp shooter was incredibly quiet. I can guarantee the next time these two teams meet those words won't be uttered from my mouth.  
    • The Rockets now have one player in the top 40 in league scoring. Tyson Ballie had an assist in the 2-0 win giving him 20 points this season. That is good for a tie for 37th spot.   
    • How about that crowd! Over 55 hundred fans took in the game and were vocally involved. Best atmosphere of the season without a doubt.   
    • The Rockets have now won 7 straight and have moved into a tie for first place in the overall WHL standings. 

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