Kyle Beach Interview

https://od.lk/f/ODVfMjQ0ODY0NV8

Thursday, February 28, 2013

McKinlay having career year

  • Dylen McKinlay is having a career season and the Kelowna Rockets couldn't be happier. The twenty year-old scored his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season helping the Rockets to a 4-1 win Thursday night over the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds. McKinlay scored once shorthanded, his league leading (Adam Lowry of the SC Broncos also has 6) sixth shorthanded goal of the season, helping his team move 7 points up on Kamloops for first place in the BC Division. McKinlay leads the team in shorthanded goals, games played and plus minus with a whopping +51. Not bad for an overage player that was acquired from the Kootenay Ice prior to the start of the season. 
  • McKinlay was the Rockets best forward and was full marks for being named the first star. Overall it was a rough outing for the home team who seemed to struggle for the majority of the night despite scoring the opening goal - from McKinlay - less than 30 seconds into the game. The T-Birds deserve credit for playing hard, but I thought the Rockets were just good enough to win.
  • Jordon Cooke made only 17 saves but I thought he was sharp when his team wasn't. The 19 year-old goaltender made solid stops against a Seattle team that struggled mightily to find the back of the net. Cooke's best stop came against T-Birds Roberts Lipsbergs with a nice right pad save in the third period when the Rockets had a slim 3-1 lead.
  • The T-Birds power play is partially to blame for the loss. They had ideal chances to make it a one goal game with Damon Severson and Tyson Baillie taking penalties less than four minutes apart. Not only did Seattle fail to capitalize, but they had few good looks on either opportunity. The Rockets penalty killing unit was rock solid on four all kills.
  • T-Birds d-man Jesse Forsberg left the game in the second period after he was hit with what may have been a high stick from Rockets forward Rourke Chartier. Forsberg was on the power play at the time. Chartier's stick seemed to clip Forsberg in the head or face. The 19 year-old fell to the ice, and with no penalty on the play, Dylen McKinlay went down and scored a shorthanded goal to make it 2-0.     
  • The Rockets end the month with 7 wins in 12 games. It marked the first time this season the team went through a month losing five times.
  • The Rockets end the regular season against U.S based team going 12-8-0-0 in 20 games.
  • Myles Bell was the leading point producer in February with 6+11=17. Colton Sissons was 7+8=15 whle Dylen McKinlay had 5+6=11.
  • The Rockets are 7-0-0-0 in Thursday games and have allowed just 6 goals against in those seven Thursday games.
  • The Rockets have 26 wins on home ice this season, one win better than Portland (25) and Edmonton (25). 
  • The Rockets have 13 shorthanded goals, one fewer than league leading Spokane (14).
  • The Rockets have been shorthanded 300 times this season, second most in the league to only Saskatoon. (302).
  • Up next? Lethbridge visits Saturday night.

Rockets games notes vs. Seattle

Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets and Seattle Thunderbirds are meeting for the fourth and final time this season. The Rockets are 2-1-0-0 against Seattle, having out-scored the T-Birds 14-7. The Rockets are coming off back-to-back wins over Victoria last weekend out-scoring the Royals 15-5.  The Rockets are 21-5-2-0 in their last 28 games. The Rockets have ten regulation losses in their last 52 games (39-10-2-1). The Rockets have won 36 of their last 46 (34-9-3-0) games overall. Following tonight’s game the Rockets host Lethbridge Saturday before traveling to Kamloops (6 PM) to face the Blazers on Sunday.

Seasonal Series vs. Seattle:
Period:        1    2    3   OT   Final    
Rockets:     3    6    4    1      14  
T-Birds:       3   2    2     0      7

*The Rockets have out-shot the T-Birds in two of the three games. The Rockets average 35 shots on goal in the three games while Seattle has averaged 26 shots on net in the seasonal series. The Rockets are 0 for 9 on the power play while the T-Birds are 2 for 11 with the man advantage in the three games.  Jackson Whistle has played in two of the three games.      

Nine Games to Go: The Rockets have nine games left in the regular season. Six of those nine games are on home ice to conclude the regular season. The Rockets sit five points up on the Kamloops Blazers for first place in the BC Division.  Of those nine games, three are against Kamloops with two against the Vancouver Giants. Single games are against Seattle, Lethbridge, Victoria and Prince George.

Home Cook’n: The Rockets have lost a league low five times on home ice (25-5-0-0) this season. The team has scored 144 goals (4.8 per game) and has allowed 61 goals against (2.00 per game).  The Rockets have scored at least 3 or more goals in every home game this season except three, with losses to Kamloops (3-1), Portland (5-1) and to the visiting Blazers (3-2). The Rockets have scored four or more goals in 21 of their 30 home games. Jordon Cooke and Jackson Whistle have combined for six home ice shutouts this season. The team has allowed two or fewer goals at home this season in 20 of 30 games.

This and That: Cody Fowlie plays in his 200th career game tonight…The Rockets end off the month of February tonight with a game against the T-Birds. The Rockets are 6-5-0-0 in 11 games. Those five losses have come in the last 9 games….The Rockets have scored 273 goals this season. The team record for goals in a season is 311 set back in the 2002-2003 season. The team needs to average 4.2 goals per game in their final nine regular season games to tie that record. The Rockets average 4.3 goals per game….Rockets Myles Bell has 84 points, becoming the first Rockets player since Colin Long (91) in 2008-2009 to register 80 or more points in a season. ….The Rockets have hit the 40 win plateau for the 9th time in franchise history…The Rockets have made the playoffs for the 17th time in the franchises 18 year history….The Rockets are rated as the 5th best team in the country according to this week’s CHL Top 10 rankings. Last week the Rockets were rated 6th….Ryan Huska and the Kamloops Blazers are being inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame. The Blazers teams – 1993-94 and 1994-95 - will be inducted during a ceremony in Penticton in July…The Rockets have 3 road games left in the regular season with all 3 against BC Division teams…Jordon Cooke was named the WHL Goaltender of the Month for December. Cooke was 6-0-0-0 and posted a goals against average of 2.00….The Rockets 23 game home ice winning streak was the third longest winning streak on home ice in WHL history. It was snapped February 8th in a 5-3 loss to Portland….Dylen McKinlay is the only Rocket to play in every game this season…The Rockets have led going into the third period in 41 of their last 54 games with two games being tied heading into the final frame.…The Rockets have out-scored the opposition 144-61 on home ice this season….Dylen McKinlay has five shorthanded goals…Since relocating from Tacoma to Kelowna for the start of the 1995-96 season, the Rockets have picked up 671 wins over the last 18 seasons…Since entering the WHL in 1991, the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets have scored 4 thousand 603 goals (4,603)…The Rockets have participated in one shootout game this season. That is a league low. Last season the Rockets were involved in a league high 15…Dylen McKinlay leads the team in plus/minus with a +47. It is the highest +/- total for a Kelowna Rockets player. Jesse Schultz was +40 in 2002-2003…Since November 1st the Rockets have lost eight times in regulation…Five of the teams thirteen regulation losses came in the first five weeks of the season…JT Barnett played in his 250th career game February 8th against Portland…Tyrell Goulbourne has 19 fighting majors this season…Damon Severson is four points shy of 100 for his career…Zach Franko played in his 200th career game February 14th against Everett.….Ryan Olsen is the first 18 year-old forward since Jamie Benn to score over 30 goals in a Rockets uniform. Benn scored 33 times in 2007-2008…Dylen McKinlay has 21 goals, none on the power play.

Who’s Hot: Ryan Olsen has 4 goals in his last six games…J.T Barnett has 4 goals in his last eight games…Myles Bell has a six game point streak (3+9=12)… Colton Sissons has five goals in his last eight games….Sissons has points in 30 of his last 33 games….Carter Rigby has 7+3=10 in last six games… Cody Fowlie has 3+2=5 in his last two games…Jackson Whistle has goals against average of 1.67 in four appearances this month. Whistle has won his last four starts.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Things that make me go hmmm....



  • How can the Victoria Royals – the most penalized team in the WHL - have 38 more power play chances than the Kelowna Rockets? The Rockets are choir boys compared to their BC Division rivals.   
  • What happens to WHL first overall pick Mathew Barzal? Will he sign with Seattle or will the T-Birds be forced to trade him? The reason he is on my mind is the 15 year-old and his midget team played against the Okanagan Rockets this past weekend. 
  • Do you think the Edmonton Oil Kings have a better appreciation for the Western Conference? After losses to Spokane and Tri City, the Oil Kings still have to meet first place Portland before their U.S Division road trip comes to an end. 
  • Didn’t we all anticipate the Tri City Americans to fall flat on their face after they lost starter Eric Comrie? Guess that didn’t happen. Proves they are not a one trick pony. 
  • Is the WHL officiating improving as much as the play on the ice with the playoffs quickly approaching? Sadly, I don’t think it is. 
  • When will the day come when a player punches an opponent on the ice, the victim doesn’t retaliate and the offender is the only one sent to the penalty box? 
  • While everyone is bitching about the number of fans coming out to watch Kelowna Rockets home games this season, is their another team in the WHL that can boast 5 sell outs? 
  • How can Portland’s Nic Petan go from 35 points last season to 106 points this season?  That is a 71 point improvement. Ok, I get it. He is getting increased ice time, power play time and is working with two solid line mates. Still, a 71 point improvement is crazy. 
  • I encourage you to listen to Bob Stauffer of the Edmonton Oilers Radio Network. He is solid on the air. Tapped in, but honest and critical of the team he broadcasts games for. Honestly, it’s refreshing. 
  • The Saskatoon Blades 15 game winning streak is impressive. But should we consider that the Blades have played Moose Jaw five times and Brandon three times over that stretch. Both the Warriors and Wheat Kings are non-playoff teams. 
  • Remember the day when the WHL was considering the defensive league when compared to their OHL and QMJHL cousins?  Not anymore. The WHL has two 100 point producers.  The OHL and QMJHL don’t have any. 
  • Kelowna Rockets forward Myles Bell has 84 points this season, 16 away from 100. The last Rockets forward to accomplish the feat was Colin Long in 2007-2008. Bell needs 1.8 points per game over the final 9 games to reach the 100 point plateau. 
  • The Rockets have 44 wins this season, 7 shy of the team record of 51 set back in 2002-2003. The Rockets 44 wins is the 6th most in franchise history. 
  • The Rockets have to average 4.2 goals per game over the last 9 to reach the franchise record for goals scored in a season.  The record is 311 goals scored in 2002-2003.
  • The Rockets have seven players with 15 or more goals. T
  • The Rockets have a chance of claiming a BC Division title with three weeks left in the regular season. Would you have thought they’d be here at the start of the season? If you say yes, you are lying to yourself.       

Monday, February 25, 2013

Goal scoring by committee - audio

video

The race for first place

It is a two horse race to earn the BC Division title. The Kelowna Rockets have a slim five point lead on the Kamloops Blazers with nine games remaining in the regular season for both teams. Both the Rockets and Blazers play six of those final nine games on home ice. Here is how the two teams schedules shake down:

Rockets: 92 points
vs. Kamloops (3)
vs. Seattle (1)
vs. Lethbridge (1)
vs. Victoria (1)
vs. Vancouver (2)
vs. PG (1)

Blazers: 87 points
vs. PG (3)
vs. Kelowna (3)
vs. Vancouver (2)
vs. Victoria (1)

The Blazers used 99 points to earn the BC Division title last season. The Rockets collected 87 points to earn the crown in 2010-2011. Since the BC Division was birthed for the start of the 2001-2002 season, the fewest amount of points the division champion has had to earn was 85 points. The Blazers (85) earned that number of points in 2001-2002. The highest number of points for a BC Division regular season winner was 119 put up by Vancouver in 2008-2009.  The average point total for a BC Division champion in the last 11 seasons has been 99.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

There back!

There back!
Amazing what a few days of r and r will do for a team.
Credit the coaches, training staff and players for taking advantage of a four day break from game action earlier this week. After winning just two of seven games, panic set in from everyone outside of the Rockets dressing room. What was happening? Why was this team struggling to beat Spokane, Portland and Kamloops? Folks, they were playing high end teams and were mentally and physically drained. Tired. Gassed. Pooped.
You get it?
Well rested though heading into this weekend, the Rockets looked anything but a team struggling after back-to-back impressive 8-3 and 7-2 wins over the Victoria Royals. The Rockets looked exactly like the team that treated us to a 23 game home ice winning streak and vaulted them into the CHL Top 10 rankings. As one off ice official told me after Saturday's game, "This team looks like they could make a run". After two weekend wins, I couldn't argue.

The Victoria Royals unraveled in both games and team discipline was a huge issue. The end result was a Rockets power play that struck for 6 goals on 14 opportunities. That's a success rated of 43 percent. The Royals wanted to engage in a slugfest and beat the Rockets down, literally. The Rockets preferred to take out their aggression in another manner and it provided a lopsided scoreboard that looked like this at weekends end. Kelowna Rockets 15. Victoria Royals 5.

Royals defenceman Keegan Kanzig is a big, tough player but you have to know when and when not to fight. Kanzig picks a fight with an unwilling (do you blame him) Rockets forward Colton Heffley and receives an instigator penalty. The Rockets promptly strike for a power play goal and they are off to the races. It was the start of three goals in under 2 minutes and the Rockets were up 3-0. Kanzig never saw a shift for the remainder of the first period.

The best player on the ice Saturday night was Cody Fowlie. The 20 year-old scored two goals and set up another and leaves Victoria with three goals and a career high 17 on the season. If he was still playing for his old team, the Everett Silvertips, Fowlie would be third in team scoring.

The best Royals' over the two nights were d-man Joe Hicketts and forward Ben Walker. Those two play consistently hard from puck drop to the sound of the buzzer. While the Rockets are 6 and 1 in the seasonal series, those two always impress me.

The best fight Saturday night came when Royals 19 year-old Logan Nelson elected to pick on 16 year-old Riley Stadel. Nelson traded punches and eventually got knocked down by the 5 foot 9 rookie d-man.

The Rockets were the first team this season to beat the Royals on home ice in back-to-back games. Victoria has lost seven home games this season, three of them to the Rockets.

The win Saturday night was big on so many levels. It provided renewed confidence (swagger) and moved the Rockets five points up on Kamloops for first place in the BC Division. The Rockets also moved into sole possession of second place on the overall WHL standings with nine games left in the regular season.

Up next, a date with Seattle on Thursday in the first of thankfully, three games in four nights not three games in three nights.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rockets get their groove back

  • The Kelowna Rockets got their groove back Friday night in Victoria. A five goal second period broke open a 1-1 game which eventually led to a 8-3 crushing of the Royals. Myles Bell had 2+2=4 while four of his teammates had two point games in the Rockets 43rd win of the season. Thanks to three power play goals, the Rockets have now out-scored the Royals 20-5 in the last three meetings. 
  • The two teams combined for just 11 shots in the first period with the Rockets opening the scoring for the sixth straight time in the seasonal series. Tyson Baillie, who has been one of the better Rockets of late with his physical play, scored his first goal in eight games before the Royals responded with the equalizing goal just 11 seconds later. The game was won in the second period when the Rockets looked like the team of old by dominating the territorial play and scoring five unanswered goals.   
  • Despite having a 6-1 lead through 40 minutes, the Royals scored an early goal to make it a four goal game and then scored a power play goal to make it 6-3 with 12:17 left on the clock. Myles Bell scored his second goal of the game on the power play just 1:59 later to make the score 7-3 which essentially but the game on ice for the road team. 
  • Bell had four points last night, matching the four point game he put up (1+3=4) against Prince George on October 6th.
  • J.T Barnett has the hot hand of late. The 20 year-old is playing big minutes and has four goals in his last 7 games. 
  • Madison Bowey scored his 10th goal of the season on a nice three way passing play early in the second period. It was Bowey's first goal in 18 games.
  • With a 6-1 lead after 40 minutes, I was wondered if the game would get goofy in the third period. I anticipate the two referee's must have been thinking the same thing and thus would try to keep a lid on things. Royals d-man Kolton Dixon received a hit to the head minor penalty after knocking the helmet off the head of J.T Barnett. Fourteen seconds after serving his two minute minor, which could have been more, Dixon comes out of the penalty box and checks Rockets d-man MacKenzie Johnston from behind.   
  • Jordon Cooke earned his 30th win of the season, the first Rockets goalie to accomplish the feat since Adam Brown won 31 times in 2009-2010. Kelly Guard had 44 wins in 2003-2004. 
  • Ryan Olsen's 31st goal of the season was the 100th point of his WHL career.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Flashback interview with Tyson Barrie

video
Here is the interview I did with Tyson Barrie after being named the Kelowna Rockets defenceman of the year in his 19 year-old season. Barrie was a two time winner of the award.
Barrie isn't the first Kelowna Rockets alumnus to score his first career NHL goal with the Avalanche. Scott Parker in 2000 and Kyle Cumiskey in 2007 also celebrated their first goals wearing Colorado colours.    

Rockets all-time leading d-man pots first in NHL

Tyson Barrie re-wrote the Kelowna Rockets record books in his 4 seasons in the WHL.
Now the smooth skating 21 year-old has his first NHL goal. Barrie fired one past Nashville's Chris Mason Monday afternoon in Colorado's loss to the Predators. Barrie is the Kelowna Rockets franchise leader in points (228) thanks to 51 goals and 177 assists.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fatigue a factor in February losses

  • Fourteen games in 24 days took it's toll on the Kelowna Rockets. Against elite competition you have to be mentally and physically sharp. It would be fair to say the Rockets had neither for an extended period of time over the weekend in back-to-back losses to the Kamloops Blazers. The effort was there but the mistakes were uncharacteristic of a team that has earned 42 wins this season. Bad decisions with and without the puck followed by undisciplined penalties go hand in hand with fatigue. No question the Blazers were the better team on the weekend, but in saying that the Rockets were just not sharp on so many levels. 
  • Passing up grade 'A' scoring opportunities, making one extra move and then losing the puck and bad passing were common place, not just over the weekend both honestly over the last four games. The Rockets were able to earn wins over Everett over the last week despite the sluggish play, but against elite teams like Kamloops, you get exposed for the discrepancies in your game. 
  • The good news is the Rockets have essentially five days away from game action. Taking time away from the rink will be valuable for this team, with short practices scheduled to work on key elements of their game. 
  • When you lose five of your last 7, the worst thing is questioning yourself and your teammates around you. Just realize a tough stretch of games is now behind you and get back to the foundation that brought you success. Four line hockey where everyone is attacking. It has existed for five months and isn't something you lose over five games. You don't score over 240 goals and call it a fluke. You don't win over 40 games and consider yourself lucky.
  • The Blazers impress me with their puck possession and speed game. This weekend though, they really impressed me with their attention to detail defensively. While the Rockets had little moxie in the offensive zone, the Blazers ability to move into shooting lanes and block shots was impressive. It is a facet of their game I honestly didn't think existed. While their blue line receives less than rave reviews, the forwards commitment to helping out is admirable.
  • Blazers d-man Joel Edmundson impressed me. The 19 year-old scored a shorthanded goal but also found himself - twice - in good scoring areas after jumping up into the play.
  • Tyson Baillie stepped out of his comfort zone Saturday night by getting into a fight with Blazers forward Chase Suoto. It was Baillie's first fighting major of the season. The 17 year-old also delivered several solid hits including sending JC Lipon to the ice in the second period. If you are a player struggling to find the back of the net, bring something else to the table in an effort to help the team win. Baillie did that in spades. Impressive.
  • While crowds are down at Prospera Place this season, the team managed to attract a sell out Saturday night. It is the 5th sell out this season. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Rockets game notes vs. Blazers

Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets are meeting the Kamloops Blazers for the sixth of ten times this season. The Rockets have lost only once in regulation to the Blazers and that came in game two of the regular season with a 3-2 loss at Prospera Place. The Rockets are 2-1-2-0 in the first five games. The Rockets will play the Blazers five times in their next ten games. The two teams hook up against tomorrow night in Kelowna before meeting three times in March (3rd in Kamloops – 8th in Kamloops and 9th in Kelowna). The Rockets enter tonight’s game riding a two game winning streak after back-to-back victories over the Everett Silvertips including a 4-1 win last night in the team’s 42nd of the season. The Rockets are 19-3-2-0 in their last 24 games. The Rockets have eight regulation losses in their last 48 games (37-8-2-1). The Rockets have won 34 of their last 42 (32-7-3-0) games overall. Following these games against the Blazers, the Rockets are on the road in Victoria for two games next weekend.      

Rockets/Blazers Comparison: The Rockets have won 41 games in regulation time this season. The Blazers have won 26 games in regulation time….The Rockets have scored 42 more goals than the Blazers this season but have played one more game….The Rockets have allowed 8 fewer goals against….The Blazers have had 36 more power play chances and have scored 7 more power play goals….The Blazers top three scorers have combined for 241 points. The Rockets top three have combined for 196 points.   

Home Cook’n: The Rockets are 25-4-0-0 at Prospera Place. The team has scored 143 goals (4.9 per game) and has allowed 58 goals against (2.00 per game).  The Rockets have scored at least 3 or more goals in every home game this season except two, when they lost 5-1 to Portland and 3-2 to the visiting Kamloops Blazers. The Rockets have scored four or more goals in 21 of their 29 home games. Jordon Cooke and Jackson Whistle have combined for six home ice shutouts this season. The team has allowed two or fewer goals at home this season in 20 of 29 games.

This and That: The Rockets have hit the 40 win plateau for the 9th time in franchise history…The Rockets have made the playoffs for the 17th time in the franchises 18 year history….The Rockets are rated as the 5th best team in the country according to this week’s CHL Top 10 rankings. Last week the Rockets were rated 4th….Ryan Huska and the Kamloops Blazers are being inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame. The Blazers teams – 1993-94 and 1994-95 - will be inducted during a ceremony in Penticton in July…The Rockets have 13 games left in the regular season. Of those thirteen, 11 are against BC Division teams…..The Rockets play five more games in February and 8 games in March to close out the regular season…..The Rockets have 6 road games left in the regular season with 6 of them against BC Division teams…Five of the Rockets 13 regulation losses this season have been decided by a single goal… Jordon Cooke was named the WHL Goaltender of the Month for December. Cooke was 6-0-0-0 and posted a goals against average of 2.00….The Rockets 23 game home ice winning streak was the third longest winning streak on home ice in WHL history. It was snapped February 8th in a 5-3 loss to Portland….Dylen McKinlay is  the only Rocket to play in every game this season…The Rockets have led going into the third period in 39 of their last 50 games with two games being tied heading into the final frame.…The Rockets have 44 power play goal in their last 50 games (44 for 171 over that span – 26%)…..The Rockets have scored 225 goals in their last 50 games (average 4.5)....Madison Bowey (22), Mitch Wheaton (63) and Myles Bell (87) are rated among the top players by NHL Central Scouting for June’s draft. The mid-season rankings were released by NHLCS. Jackson Whistle is rated (26) among North American goalies…The Rockets have out-scored the opposition 143-58 on home ice this season…Zach Franko has twenty-two more points (61) than the 39 he put up all of last season. That is a new career high for the 19 year-old…..Dylen McKinlay has five shorthanded goals…Since relocating from Tacoma to Kelowna for the start of the 1995-96 season, the Rockets have picked up 669 wins over the last 18 seasons…Since entering the WHL in 1991, the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets have scored 4 thousand 585 goals (4,585)…The Rockets have participated in one shootout game this season. That is a league low. Last season the Rockets were involved in a league high 15…Dylen McKinlay leads the team in plus/minus with a +46. It is the highest +/- total for a Kelowna Rockets player. Jesse Schultz was +40 in 2002-2003…Since November 1st the Rockets have lost seven times in regulation…Five of the teams thirteen regulation losses came in the first five weeks of the season…Zach Franko has 153 career points….JT Barnett played in his 250th career game February 8th against Portland…Tyrell Goulbourne has 19 fighting majors this season…Damon Severson is four points shy of 100 for his career…Zach Franko played in his 200th career game last night….Ryan Olsen is the first 18 year-old forward since Jamie Benn to score over 30 goals in a Rockets uniform. Benn scored 33 times in 2007-2008.           

Who’s Hot: Colton Sissons has four goals in four consecutive games…Sissons has points in 27 of his last 29 games….Ryan Olsen has goals in eleven of his last eighteen games… Carter Rigby has 7+3=10 in last six games… Cody Fowlie has 3+5=8 in his last ten games…Jackson Whistle has goals against average of 1.67 in four appearances this month.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Photo's from Everett

Give me a hug. Or maybe, "I caught a fish this big"?
All photos above courtesy of Chris Mast who is based in Seattle. Check out his website:  http://www.mastimages.com/

Game notes vs. Tips

Tonight’s Preview: For the fourth straight week the Kelowna Rockets are playing three games in three nights. Tonight the Everett Silvertips provide the opposition in the fourth and final meeting of the season between the two teams. The Rockets are 3-0-0-0, having out-scored Everett 16-5. If the playoffs were to begin tonight, these two teams would meet in round one. The Rockets enter tonight’s game with a two game home ice losing streak after back-to-back losses to the Portland Winterhawks last weekend. The Rockets are 18-3-2-0 in their last 23 games. The Rockets have eight regulation losses in their last 47 games (36-8-2-1). The Rockets have won 33 of their last 41 (31-7-3-0) games overall. The Rockets are in Kamloops tomorrow night before hosting the Blazers Saturday night at Prospera Place.  

Seasonal Series Scoring vs. Tips:
                     1    2   3   OT   Final
Rockets:   7   3    6    0      16
Tips:           2   2    1    0       5
                                                   Photo by Christopher Mast  

*The Rockets have a power play goal in all three games in the seasonal series. The Rockets are an impressive 5 for 17 (29.4) in the three games. The Tips are 3 for 15 (20%) with the extra man. The Rockets have out-shot the Tips in two of the three games and by a combined total of 99-69.      

Home Cook’n: The Rockets are 24-4-0-0 at Prospera Place. The team has scored 139 goals (5.1 per game) and has allowed 57 goals against (1.92 per game).  The Rockets have scored at least 3 or more goals in every home game this season except two, when they lost 5-1 to Portland and 3-2 to the visiting Kamloops Blazers. The Rockets have scored four or more goals in 20 of their 28 home games. Jordon Cooke and Jackson Whistle have combined for six home ice shutouts this season. The team has allowed two or fewer goals at home this season in 19 of 28 games.

This and That: The Rockets have made the playoffs for the 17th time in the franchises 18 year history….The Rockets are rated as the 5th best team in the country according to this week’s CHL Top 10 rankings. Last week the Rockets were rated 4th….Ryan Huska and the Kamloops Blazers are being inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame. The Blazers teams – 1993-94 and 1994-95 will be inducted during a ceremony in Penticton in July…The Rockets are playing a U.S Division team for the fifth straight game…The Rockets have 14 games left in the regular season. Of those fourteen, 11 are against BC Division teams. Five of the final 14 games are against the Kamloops Blazers….The Rockets play six more games in February and 8 games in March to close out the regular season…..The Rockets have 6 road games left in the regular season with 6 of them against BC Division teams…Five of the Rockets 13 regulation losses this season have been decided by a single goal… Jordon Cooke was named the WHL Goaltender of the Month for December. Cooke was 6-0-0-0 and posted a goals against average of 2.00….The Rockets 23 game home ice winning streak was the third longest winning streak on home ice in WHL history. It was snapped February 8th in a 5-3 loss to Portland….Dylen McKinlay is  the only Rocket to play in every game this season…The Rockets have led going into the third period in 38 of their last 49 games with two games being tied heading into the final frame.…The Rockets have 41 power play goal in their last 49 games (41 for 167 over that span – 25%)…..The Rockets have scored 221 goals in their last 49 games (average 4.5)....Madison Bowey (22), Mitch Wheaton (63) and Myles Bell (87) are rated among the top players by NHL Central Scouting for June’s draft. The mid-season rankings were released by NHLCS. Jackson Whistle is rated (26) among North American goalies…The Rockets have out-scored the opposition 139-57 on home ice this season…Zach Franko has twenty-one more points (60) than the 39 he put up all of last season. That is a new career high for the 19 year-old…..Dylen McKinlay has five shorthanded goals…Since relocating from Tacoma to Kelowna for the start of the 1995-96 season, the Rockets have picked up 668 wins over the last 18 seasons…Since entering the WHL in 1991, the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets have scored 4 thousand 581 goals (4,581)…The Rockets have participated in one shootout game this season. That is a league low. Last season the Rockets were involved in a league high 15…Dylen McKinlay leads the team in plus/minus with a +46. It is the highest +/- total for a Kelowna Rockets player. Jesse Schultz was +40 in 2002-2003…Since November 1st the Rockets have lost seven times in regulation…Five of the teams thirteen regulation losses came in the first five weeks of the season…Zach Franko has 152 career points….JT Barnett played in his 250th career game February 8th against Portland…Tyrell Goulbourne has 19 fighting majors this season…Damon Severson is four points shy of 100 for his career…Zach Franko’s next game is his 200th of his career…            

Who’s Hot: Colton Sissons has three goals in three consecutive games… Tyson Baillie has 6+6=12 in his last eleven games…..Colton Sissons has points in 26 of his last 28 games….Ryan Olsen has goals in ten of his last seventeen games… Carter Rigby has 7+3=10 in last six  games… Cody Fowlie has 3+5=8 in his last nine games…Tyrell Goulbourne has 2+4=6 in his last nine games…Damon Severson had 2+8=10 in his last ten games…Jackson Whistle has goals against average of 1.67 in three appearances this month… 

Three Stars: Colton Sissons has been the first star a team high five times this season. Myles Bell has been a team high second star eight times while Jordon Cooke and Damon Severson are tied for the team lead in third star balloting having been recognized three times each.  Bell has been a star 12 times while Cooke has been a star ten times.   

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Huska heading into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

                                      Huska (far right) with Don Hay and Darcy Tucker

Ryan Huska is being inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame. To clarify, the Kamloops Blazers Memorial Cup championship teams in 1993-94 and 1994-95 will be inducted during a ceremony in July down in Penticton. The Kelowna Rockets head coach won three Memorial Cups with the Blazers in the 90's. Mark Recchi and Paul Kariya will also enter the hall of fame. Former Vancouver Canucks coach Marc Crawford will also be honoured.

Thanks to the Kamloops Blazers for the photo.  

Petan's natural hattrick audio

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Nic Petan scored three times Saturday in the Winterhawks 5-1 win over the Rockets. With 40 goals, the 17 year-old has an outside shot of scoring 50!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fight is YouTube hit - literally!


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Kelowna Rockets forward Tyrell Goulbourne wanted to make a name for himself when he entered the WHL two seasons ago as a wide eyed rookie. The Edmonton product likely never thought he would make a name for himself on YouTube. The 18 year-old's fight Friday night against Portland Winterhawks enforcer Joe Mahon has received over 90 thousand views in three short days. Ya, 90,000. Here is my version of the fight as we called it on the AM 1150 airwaves.   

Character win to end tough stretch

  • It was character check time for the Kelowna Rockets Sunday afternoon in Everett. After two emotional losses against the Portland Winterhawks to start the weekend, the Rockets were playing their 4th game in 5 nights on the road against the Everett Silvertips. Riding an unfamiliar three game losing streak and likely emotionally and physically drained, the Rockets earned a hard fought 3-2 win. Not surprisingly the teams’ top players were leading the charge with Colton Sissons and Ryan Olsen scoring power play goals while leading point man Myles Bell chipped in with three assists.  Jackson Whistle was sensational with several solid stops in the Rockets 41st win of the season.
  • The Rockets built up a 3-0 first period lead courtesy of two-five on three opportunities. Sissons opened the scoring before the captain located Ryan Olsen with a picture perfect redirect pass in front of the Tips net to make the score 2-0. J.T Barnett would score against his old team even strength to close out the period.
  • While the Tips scored two power play goals in the second period, they could have gone into the third in a 3-3 tie. Twenty year-old Ryan Harrison was awarded a penalty shot that Whistle stopped to keep his team in the lead by one.  
  • Sissons has goals in three straight games. What does that say about his value and consistency?  The captain now has points in 26 of his last 28 games and is now third in team scoring, just five points back of Zach Franko.  
  • Olsen’s goal was the 50th of his career and 28th of the season.
  • Barnett’s goal was his second in three games.
  • Jackson Whistle is really coming into his own as a top notch goaltender. The 17 year-old is lightning quick, especially down low. His battle level and never give up on plays attitude is impressive. Whistle's best stop would have made Dominik Hasek proud. Whistle lost his stick on a third period goal mouth scramble, and on his knees, desperately rolled to his back to make an arm save denying the Silvertips of a sure goal.    
  • While the Rockets appeared to run out of gas in the late stages trying to protect a one goal lead, they had two glorious chances to seal it.  Colton Sissons was denied on a shorthanded breakaway and then Cody Fowlie failed to get the puck over the right pad of Tips goaltender Daniel Cotton on a goal mouth chances late in the game.
  • The Rockets played this one without second leading scorer Zach Franko.  Franko missed the game with flu.
  • It marked the second straight weekend the Rockets were forced to play three games in three nights. It also ended a portion of the schedule where the team played ten games in 17 days.    
  • The Rockets sit in third place in the overall WHL standings, just one point back of second place Edmonton and seven back of first place Portland. More importantly the Rockets are seven points up on Kamloops for first place in the  BC Division but the Blazers now have a game in hand.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winterhawks prove they are a cut above

  • If their were any doubters, the Portland Winterhawks proved over the past two night's that they are indeed the class of the WHL. They rarely....and I mean rarely...take night's off and can make you look silly. Saturday night at Prospera Place it wasn't even close in the Winterhawks 5-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets. A weak goal less than a minute and a half into the game seemed to suck the life out of the Rockets who had little if no push back the rest of the way. 
  • The line of Nic Petan, Brendan Leipsic and Ty Rattie combined for 10 points. The theorists will say that is proof they are essentially a one line team. Not true. They still get solid contributions from all of their lines, while not as dangerous, are pretty solid. 
  • Nic Petan is going to score 50 goals as a 17 year-old. Unless someone can correct me, which is easy to do, Patrick Marleau of the Seattle Thunderbirds was the last 17 year-old to score 50 goals in one season in the WHL. Petan is smallish, but I don't care if he's 4 foot 3, he goes to the right areas to score goals. Petan is playing with two highly skilled players but he isn't riding on their coat tails. 
  • What the Hawks do that few teams are able to mimic is their ability to capitalize on scoring chances. Brendan Leipsic receives and breakaway pass and scores. Most teams would miss or would need three breakaways to score once. That's what sets the Hawks apart from the others. The ability to finish is incredible. 
  • As an example, Rockets forward Henrik Nyberg has a tremendous chance to score at the side of the Winterhawks net in the first period but his shot, which appears to be going in, is batted away from the goal line by defenceman Troy Rutkowski. 
  • Could the Rockets scare the Hawks if they met in a playoff series? Sure they could, but they would have to play fine tuned hockey. Soft goals can't happen. The Rockets gave up the opening goal that way on back-to-back night's. You have to force the Winterhawks to earn everything they get. They don't need help.
  • The only positive to take out of the game was Jackson Whistle's performance in the third. The coaches elected to give Rockets starter Jordon Cooke a seat on the bench and Whistle responded with solid saves. The best stop came on Leipsic on Portland's first shot on goal of the period. WHL Plays of the Week perhaps? 
  • It should be mentioned that Winterhawks head coach Travis Green showed a lot of class - in my opinion - for not running up the score in the third period. Green knew the game was out of reach and the Rockets were in no way mounting a third period comeback. That shows respect for the team he's playing against and respect for the game. It won't matter one way or the other to Green, but I respect him more now then before we entered the weekend. 
  • Myles Bell failed to register a point in the two games. When your leading scorer is held off the score sheet your chances of winning against the best team in the league are greatly reduced. Bell wasn't the only one that was nullified. Ryan Olsen, the teams second leading goal getter with 27 goals, came up dry and Zach Franko had just one assist. You win or lose against good teams with your best players.
  • The Rockets entered the weekend five points back of Portland. The margin is now 9. With 15 games to play and the way the Winterhawks are rolling, it would be pretty tough to even hope of challenging for first place in the overall standings. The focus must switch to a battle with the Blazers for first place in the BC Division and home ice advantage as the conferences second seed.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Despite the outcome, that my friends was fun

  • Was that the best hockey game we've seen at Prospera Place this season? Let's all answer in unison......YES! You could feel the tension and the playoff type of atmosphere and the two teams delivered. While the Portland Winterhawks earned a 5-3 win, if their was any doubt, the Kelowna Rockets can challenge the best team in the CHL for a WHL championship. A bounce here or there or a call or non call and the Rockets would have been celebrating their 41st win of the season. At the end of the night the Winterhawks win for the 44th time and snap the Rockets 23 game home ice winning streak.
  • A real tough start for the Rockets when they gave up a goal that you simply can't allow against an elite team. Defenceman Jesse Lees quickly picks up the puck behind the net after goaltender Jordon Cooke sets it up and quickly fires it up the boards. The puck is picked off by Taylor Lier who immediately fires it at the net, getting it past a startled Cooke who is trying to re-position himself in goal. A tough one to give up 2:21 into the game considering the Rockets had early pressure but couldn't find the back of the net.
  • The Winterhawks second goal is scored when it appeared to be offside. It looked like it on video replay and I asked Rockets head coach Ryan Huska to confirm if the play was indeed offside. The coach agreed that the play should have been whistled down. But those non-calls occur as the play happens so quickly. Also, the linesmen in this league are traditionally a little wet behind the ears so its hard to come down on a close call. This was a close call, not a missed call where the player was miles off side. The linesman who missed it gets a pass from me. Just don't let it happen again! :) The referee's in this league won't get a pass from me.
  • The Rockets shouldn't be hanging their heads after this one. They had ample chances to score and struggled early even strength and on the power play. You could tell the Rockets were holding their sticks tight with so much on the line. The pressure was on the home team. They wanted to preserve the winning streak and show they are worthy of elite status. Those early nerves were a significant reason why they were down 4-0 after 40 minutes.
  • I will give props to goaltender Mac Carruth. The 20 year-old was solid and looked extremely calm in the saves he made. Carruth gets a bad wrap, but his numbers speak for themselves. And if fans think  the Winterhawks don't give up quality scoring chances, think again. The Rockets had numerous chances in the first 40 minutes, but again couldn't score.
  • In my opinion the Rockets were the better team in the first period while Portland took control in the second. The third looked like a even match from where I was sitting. The only thing that changed was the Rockets anxiety level. It lowered and they capitalized on their chances.
  • The fight. In the second period, Rockets forward Tyrell Goulbourne drops the gloves with Hawks designated tough guy Joe Mahon. It is all Goubourne, who gives up 5 inches and 15 pounds in the tilt. This one wasn't even close. It got the entire building fired up and the Rockets had a good push after, but again finding the back of the net for Goulbourne's teammates appeared futile.
  • Myles  Bell needs to shoot the puck. It is his best attribute. I could count on one hand the number of shots he took on Carruth. In fact, I'd argue he had just one and that came in the third period. The Rockets leading scorer has to play a part on the score sheet in the big games. With no points and a -3 rating, you won't win games without your elite guys stepping up.
  • I really like Brendan Leipsic. Always have, always will. So crafty with such great speed. Everyone is talking up Seth Jones, who is good in his own right, but Leipsic is the man. Will he ever play in the NHL? He's so darn small, but his heart and determination will get him there. Hello Brendan Gallagher. I will attempt to interview him tonight so Rockets fans can get a better appreciation for this fun player to watch.
  • A nice bounce back game for Madison Bowey. I thought Bowey played arguably his worst game of the season Wednesday night in Spokane. Bowey looked involved last night, had two assists and wasn't scared to rush the puck.  Seth Jones played a more simple game back on the Winterhawks blue line while Bowey wanted to manufacture offense. Any scout in the building should have liked both players.
  • The crowd was outstanding. Ten seconds after puck drop the crowd  noise hit the roof. It was impressive. The Portland Winterhawks Booster Club was situated in the west end of the arena and it was nice to see them represent their team. I heard they were treated with respect by the locals. That's what I like to see. We are all family in the big scheme of things. We all love our teams and we love our league.        
  • I appreciate all the well wishes on my 45th birthday. Coaches and scouts wishing me happy birthday was flattering. Word gets around fast. Helps me cope with being five years away from 50! Enjoy tonight's game. Talk with you then.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Rockets game notes vs. Winterhawks

Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets face the Portland Winterhawks for the third of four meetings this season. These two teams met September 28th and 29th in the ‘City of Roses’ with Portland winning 1-0 in the opener before the Rockets scored a 4-3 win in game two. These two teams have met in the playoffs the last two seasons. Last year the Hawks eliminated the Rockets in four games. In 2010-2011, the Hawks used six games to dispose of the Rockets in the second round. The Rockets are coming off their first regulation loss in 20 games after a 5-0 setback in Spokane Wednesday night. The Rockets are 17-1-2-0 in their last 20 games. The Rockets have six regulation losses in their last 44 games (35-6-2-1) with setbacks to Spokane, Tri City (twice), Edmonton, Seattle and Calgary. The Rockets have won 32 of their last 38 (30-5-3-0) games overall. The Rockets enter tonight’s game riding a 23 game home ice winning streak. The only two teams to beat the Rockets on home ice this season are Kamloops and Spokane. The Rockets have a busy weekend ahead of them playing three games in three nights. The Rockets host Portland tonight and tomorrow before traveling to Everett on Sunday.

Rewriting Record Books: The WHL record for most consecutive wins on home ice is 29, set by the Kamloops Blazers in the 1993-1994 season. Ryan Huska was a member of that Blazers team. If the Rockets win their remaining 10 homes games, they would finish with 34 victories. The Swift Current Broncos, Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds share the WHL record with 33 home ice wins in one season. Rockets assistant coach Dan Lambert was a member of that 88-89 Broncos team.    

Home Cook’n: The Rockets are 24-2-0-0 at Prospera Place. The team has scored 135 goals (5.2 per game) and has allowed 47 goals against (1.9 per game).  The Rockets have scored at least 3 or more goals in every home game this season except one, when they lost 3-2 to the visiting Kamloops Blazers. The Rockets have scored four or more goals in 20 of their 26 home games. Jordon Cooke and Jackson Whistle have combined for six home ice shutouts this season. The team has allowed two or fewer goals at home this season in 19 of 26 games.

The Big Three: The Rockets top three skaters of Myles Bell, Zach Franko and Dylen McKinlay have put up a combined 185 points this season. By comparison, the Winterhawks top three scorers of Nic Petan, Brenden Leipsic and Ty Rattie have a combined total of 261 points or 76 more points.     

More Data Please! The Rockets (40), Winterhawks (43) and Edmonton (40) are the only three teams in the WHL with 40 or more wins. Portland has scored 245 goals, the most of any team in the league. The Rockets have scored one fewer (244) despite playing one more game. The Winterhawks have been granted 265 power play chances this season, 51 more than the Rockets (214). Surprisingly the Rockets have been awarded the third fewest power play chances at home in the WHL. Only Moose Jaw and Swift Current have been allowed fewer. The Rockets have the best penalty killing unit in the WHL on home ice. The Winterhawks have scored a league high 31 power play goals on the road this season.        

This and That: The Rockets play 12 games in the month of February, with 6 games at home and 6 games on the road.….The Rockets have 7 road games left in the regular season with 6 of them against BC Division teams…Five of the Rockets 11 regulation losses this season have been decided by a single goal… Jordon Cooke was named the WHL Goaltender of the Month for December. Cooke was 6-0-0-0 and posted a goals against average of 2.00….Since a 3-0 win over the Kamloops Blazers November 1st the Rockets are 31-5-2-0….The Rockets 23 game home ice winning streak is a team record and is the third longest winning streak on home ice in WHL history…. The franchise record is held by the Tacoma Rockets, who won 24 straight home games. The league record is 29…Dylen McKinlay is  the only Rocket to play in every game this season…The Rockets have led going into the third period in 37 of their last 46 games with two games being tied heading into the final frame.…The Rockets have 38 power play goal in their last 46 games (38 for 157 over that span – 24.2 %)…..The Rockets have scored 214 goals in their last 46 games (average 4.7)....Madison Bowey (22), Mitch Wheaton (63) and Myles Bell (87) are rated among the top players by NHL Central Scouting for June’s draft. The mid-season rankings were released by NHLCS. Jackson Whistle is rated (26) among North American goalies…The Rockets have out-scored the opposition 135-47 on home ice this season…Zach Franko has twenty more points (59) than the 39 he put up all of last season. That is a new career high for the 19 year-old…..Dylen McKinlay has five shorthanded goals…Since relocating from Tacoma to Kelowna for the start of the 1995-96 season, the Rockets have picked up 667 wins over the last 18 seasons…Since entering the WHL in 1991, the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets have scored 4 thousand 574 goals (4,574)…Jordon Cooke’s 29 wins is the most in the WHL….The Rockets have participated in one shootout game this season. That is a league low. Last season the Rockets were involved in a league high 15…The Rockets lead the WHL in home ice wins with (23)…Dylen McKinlay leads the team in plus/minus with a +46. It is the highest +/- total for a Kelowna Rockets player. Jesse Schultz was +40 in 2002-2003…Since November 1st the Rockets have lost five times in regulation…Five of the teams eleven regulation losses came in the first five weeks of the season…Zach Franko has 151 career points….JT Barnett is 1 games shy of 250 for his WHL career…Tyrell Goulbourne has 17 fighting majors this season…Damon Severson is four points shy of 100 for his career.             

Who’s Hot: Tyson Baillie has 6+4=10 in his last eight games…..Jesse Lees has five goals in his last eight games…Colton Sissons had his 11 game point streak snapped Wednesday. Sissons had 6+12=18 over that period… Ryan Olsen has goals in nine of his last fourteen games… MacKenzie Johnston has 13 points (4+9=12) in his last 15 games…Carter Rigby has 7+3=10 in last six  games… Cody Fowlie has 2+4=6 in his last six games…Tyrell Goulbourne has 2+4=6 in his last six games…Damon Severson had a six game point streak snapped Wednesday. Severson had 2+7=9 over that stretch.