Saturday, January 11, 2014

Back on track in windy city

  • Jonny Hogue. No, he is not a fashion designer. You won't see kids going out wanting to buy Jonny Hogue blue jeans any time soon. Hogue was the Lethbridge Hurricanes starting goaltender last night, and in my humble opinion, was the only reason the game at Enmax Centre wasn't a blowout after the opening twenty minutes. Hogue made several solid stops as the Kelowna Rockets swarmed the Hurricanes net. Had Hogue been average instead of great, the score could have been 5-1 at periods end, not 5-1 at the games conclusion. Am I wrong? Is the Lethbridge wind getting to me?
  • How many scoring chances did Carter Rigby have alone in the first period? Five, six or was it seven golden chances? The fact remains the 19 year-old is finding good shooting areas and is generating chances. Rigby is in a good place right now with his game. When he is in that place he can score goals.
  • At the end of the night the turning point was back-to-back goals by the Rockets in the second period to make the score 3-1. A crucial power play goal by Myles Bell was followed by a backhand shot over the shoulder of Hogue off the stick of Ryan Olsen. Olsen now has 20 goals on the season, but that may have been his prettiest of the year.       
  • Who opens the scoring for the Rockets? Hello, Nick Merkley. Merkley received a beautiful pass from Kris Schmidli and roofed one over Hogue to tie the game at one. Merkley now has 10 goals and is one of nine players on this years team to reach that mark.
  • Speaking of reaching 10 goals, is Justin Kirkland next? Now with eight, Kirkland came away from last night's game with a two assist effort. Kirkland is a great young player. He has the complete package. I am not sure Kirkland realizes how good he can be. The only downfall I see in his game right now is his battle level for pucks. I would like to see him stronger on his stick. But that my friend is a minor flaw for a young player.
  • I don't mention him often on this blog, but am I the only one who has noticed a vast improvement in Colton Heffley's play? The 19 year-old doesn't need to score to impress me, but his quick - on the tape - passes and board work is the best its ever been. 
  • Heffley and Rourke Chartier are two players that have really caught my eye of late. Chartier has regained his old form that we saw during his rookie season when he was named the teams 'rookie of the year.' While he isn't bringing a lot of offense to the table, he is hard to play against and is working well with Carter Rigby by getting him the puck. Chartier will play in his 100th career WHL game tonight in Medicine Hat.   
  •  The Lethbridge Hurricanes have a lot of work ahead of them before they become a real threat in the WHL. But in saying that, for a team that has undergone so many changes and so much turmoil, they worked hard last night and will beat some good teams before the season is through. 
  • I spoke to Hurricanes head coach Drake Berehowsky before the game and frankly fired a couple of hard questions his way which he handled with ease. In summary, he basically told me he didn't want to talk about the players that walked out on his team and was proud of those that stuck around despite the hard times. I even asked him if he was surprised by the mess he had inherited when he took over the job in Lethbridge. Berehowsky didn't want to call it is a mess, but fully admitted it has been a trying year for everyone in the organization. The good news is, despite the tough times, he has a full head of hair!
  • Marek Tvrdon has arrived in Lethbridge. The 20 year-old joined the team after arriving late in the day. I am not sure if he will take the pre-game skate with his teammates before tonight's game in Medicine Hat. We will make sure to get an interview with him on the air during our pre-game show tonight starting at 6 pm. 
  • One last thing about the attendance last night in Lethbridge. A last place team is drawing over 33 hundred fans? That is impressive. Plus the game was televised. That is indeed  impressive considering many fans are with you win or tie. Oh ya, that expression can't be used anymore. We don't settle games with ties.   

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