Thursday, December 12, 2013

No lead is safe as Rockets win 8th straight

Rockets Jordon Cooke denies Warriors Sam Fioretti
  • How many times in hockey have you seen one team open up a significant lead only to see the opponent battle back and either win the game or put the fear of God into the team that had it all under control? It happened Wednesday night in the Kelowna Rockets 6-3 win in Moose Jaw. A solid opening 27 minutes enabled the Rockets to build a commanding 4-0 lead before the Warriors rallied and eventually made it a one goal game. Fortunately for the Rockets, Carter Rigby's goal with just under five minutes left in the third period made it a two goal cushion before Ryan Olsen clinched it with an empty netter to make it a three goal deficit.
  • It was nice to see Myles Bell score a pair of goals. The 20 year-old failed to find the back of the net Tuesday in Swift Current after hitting the goal post on a second period breakaway. Bell made up for it a night later by scoring once even strength and once on a breakaway shorthanded. It was Bell's 12th multi-goal game of his career. 
  • The power play had some good looks against the Warriors but again it shot blanks. The power play went dry on six chances and appeared to struggle when it needed to step up in an effort to win the game. It is amazing to see a team leading the WHL in overall points and having a power play that is statistically the fourth worst unit among the 22 teams.
  • A high five to rookie forward Justin Kirkland for defending himself in a scrap with Warriors defenceman Jesse Forsberg. Despite being three years younger, Kirkland did a good job against a much more experienced pugilist. It was Kirkland's first fight in the WHL while Forsberg has been around the block a few times when it comes to chucking the knuckles. To be honest, I am not a fan of a overage player going after a young guy like that who clearly doesn't play that type of game. So while it speaks of the character of Kirkland for standing up for himself, what does it say about Forsberg? I will let you answer that for yourself. 
  • I had a concern about my lack of knowledge for the Warriors heading into Wednesday's game but those fears were put to rest considering the amount of time the same players were unitized on the ice. Leading scorer Travis Brown logged huge minutes as did Sam Fioritti, Brayden Point and Scott Cooke to name just a few.  
  • You can't but be impressed by Mosaic Place. It is an unbelievable building that can only be seen in person to truly be appreciated. Everything about it is outstanding. A lot of thought went into its design. The press box is tremendous for visiting media and their isn't a bad seat in the building for the fans. Even the seats behind the team benches are raised, so when you are seated there as a fan, your vision isn't blocked by either coaches or players. The only criticism of the building I can find is the huge bowl with the high ceiling and restaurant/lounge at the north end may play a factor in killing the sound in the building and thus creating a dull atmosphere. 
  • The sound system in the building is excellent. It is crystal clear. In Kelowna the sound is 'muddy' but I think the speakers in the building are the culprit there. In Swift Current, the sound system is nothing short of terrible. Whatever the case me be, I could clearly hear the PA announcer in the building in Moose Jaw and the music was loud but not irritating.
  • Speaking of the PA announcer, I don't know who he was but he did an excellent job. He was clear in his delivery, wasn't over the top in any of the announcements he had to make and sounded like a complete pro. Also a high five for not using a goal horn when either the home team makes a good hit during the play or throws a few good punches at a visiting player during a fight. If you don't want to be considered 'small town', then don't do it. Whoever thought that was a good idea needs to give his/her head a shake. Trust me, its bush league. 
  • The Rockets have now won eight in a row. Impressive, but it is four wins shy of the 12 the team recorded during the 2002-2003 season.  
  • The Rockets have also won 9 straight games on the road. The last time that happened was from October 2/2005 to October 30/2005 when the team also won 9 straight road games. The longest road winning streak for the Rockets is 12 games during the 2003-2004 season. The longest undefeated streak on the road by the team was set in 2003, when from January 5th to March 1st the Rockets went 14 games without suffering a regulation loss.      
  • A nice way to say goodbye to defenceman Damon Severson before he heads to Toronto for the start of Team Canada's training camp. Severson's parents made cheese cake for the entire team and presented the 'good eats' during the teams post-game meal in Moose Jaw. Good luck Damon in your quest to wear Canadian colours.
  • The Rockets are now 2-0-0-0 on a six game Eastern Conference road trip. Up next is a date with the Brandon Wheat Kings Friday night.

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