Sunday, January 12, 2014

Central Division success

Credit - Stuart Dryden Photo

  • The Kelowna Rockets did something only three other teams in the WHL have been able to accomplish this season.  Madison Bowey’s early third period goal was the game winner leading the Rockets to a 4-2 win, handing the Hitmen only their fourth home loss of the season. The win also snapped the Hitmen’s 12 game home ice winning streak.  The victory was the teams 21st on the road this season which matched the win total on the road from all of last season.
  • This was a terrific effort against a very good Hitmen team, who are one win short of 30 on the season. The Rockets limited the Hitmen to just four shots through 20 minutes and 11 shots through two periods.  It was such a good defensive effort; Calgary generated a season low 19 shots on net.
  • How good was Rourke Chartier? Again a super effort by the 17 year-old who just doesn’t quit working. Knocked down by a hard hit from Brady Brassart at centre ice, Chartier got back up and on the next rush set up line-mate Carter Rigby for the team’s first lead of the game.  Chartier has been one of the Rockets best players following the Christmas break.     
  • Carter Rigby just scores. There is no denying his ability to find the back of the net. With 12 goals this season and 29 games left to play, is 25 goals a possibility for the 19 year-old forward?  Rigby has 8 goals in his last 11 games.  He had three goals in his first 11 games this season.   
  • The penalty killing unit was again outstanding. It killed off all seven Hitmen power plays. In the four games on the Central Division road trip the Rockets killed off 24 of 25 opposition power plays.   
  • The opposition opened the scoring in all four games on the trip.   
  • Solid game by Justin Kirkland. Another battle level boost by the 17 year-old. The rookie is getting power play time and a regular shift.  Are scouts watching? Without question they are taking notes.
  • Defenceman Jesse Lees had to play all three games this weekend as a forward because of lack of bodies up front.  With Zach Franko traded on Wednesday to the Kootenay Ice and newly acquired Marek Tvrdon unable to play, Lees filled in admirably.    
  • Madison Bowey is now tied for the league lead in goals scored by a defenceman with 14. 
  • The Rockets managed three consecutive wins without overage forward Marek Tvrdon. The 4th round pick of the Detroit Red Wings was unable to play until the team gets a release from the Slovakia Hockey Federation.  CHL teams pay a release fee to use their players. Tvrdon will play Friday in Victoria against the Royals.      
  • The Rockets were 9-1-0-0 in ten road games this season on swings through the Central and Eastern Division.
  • I spoke to Tvrdon before Friday’s game and asked him about the 31 goals he scored with the Vancouver Giants a few seasons ago. “I am going to come here and score more than 31 goals”, Tvrdon said with a smile. “I love to score goals”. You have to love that confidence. Tvrdon played on a line with Brendan Gallagher and Craig Cunningham that season.
  • Former Kelowna Rockets first round pick Shane McColgan has landed with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees. McColgan played for the Rockets, Saskatoon Blades and Portland Winterhawks.

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