Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hot goalie hands Rockets 5th loss

  • You don’t often fire 45 shots on the opposition net and come away empty handed. If you do, the likely culprit is a hot goaltender. Edmonton Oil Kings starter Tristan Jarry was stellar Wednesday night in a 4-2 win over the Kelowna Rockets. Jarry stopped two breakaways and made several point blank stops in the two goal win. You knew goaltending would play a prominent role in the game considering it featured two of the best ‘masked men’ in the WHL in Jarry and Rockets netminder Jordon Cooke. 
  • It will go down in the books as a two goal loss but this was essentially a one goal game until an empty netter made it a 4-2 final. Ryan Olsen was the closest to tying the game when his shot from the right side of the net hit Oil Kings defenceman Cody Corbett in the skate while he was spinning awkwardly in front of Jarry. If that shot had gone two inches in either direction and missed Corbett, the Rockets would have at least earned a point.
  • While the Oil Kings opened the scoring just over two minutes into the game, the Rockets bounced back with two breakaway chances that were denied by Jarry. First, Myles Bell was sent in on a breakaway that Jarry stopped and then Cole Linaker had a chance to tie the game but he too was denied by Jarry`s pad. Carter Rigby must have been taking notes on the bench. The 19 year-old took a long bomb pass at the Oil Kings blue line and he too went in all alone on the 18 year-old, but instead of deeking, fired the puck through the legs of Jarry to tie the game at one goal apiece.
  • I thought the Rockets were the better team in the second period but as fate would have it the Oil Kings would score on a wrist shot from a player who doesn’t score often  - Luke Bertolucci. As a member of the best name in the WHL club, which Carter Rigby is a card carrying member, the 5’8 speedster looked like a 50 goal scorer with a wrist shot that beat Jordon Cooke to the glove hand side. The third  period saw the Oil Kings make their best push of the game as they tried to find the two goal cushion.

  • One area the Rockets were dominated at was the face-off circle. If Henrik Sammuelsson didn’t win 90 percent of his draws I’d be shocked. He didn’t just win face-offs, he owned the face-off circle.
  • One other thing I noticed about the Oil Kings is their big players, play big. Mitch Moroz, Brandon Baddock and Brett Pollock all have a presence on the ice. Frankly, while Pollock is 6’2, he only weighs 183 pounds but yet is noticeably physical.
  • It was a rare loss for Jordon Cooke. It was only his second regulation loss this season.
  • Don’t look now but Myles Bell has more goals than he did after 38 games last season. Bell has found the back of the net 24 times. At this same point last season he had 23 goals.What I liked about his play against the Oil Kings was his willingness to skate to the outside on defenceman before cutting back inside for a quality chance on goal.   
  • A soft crowd of just over 49 hundred fans took in the game. Among those in attendance was the entire Pittsburgh Penguin management and coaching staff.
  • A tough interview, yet one I won’t forget. Zach Franko spoke eloquently about his time in Kelowna during an interview I conducted with him prior to the game. It likely wasn’t easy for him after learning earlier in the day he had been shipped to the Kootenay Ice. Franko thanked his billets and coaches for the time they spent on making him a better player and person. He also singled out Pastor Tim Schroeder for the work he does with the team. I thought it was a nice touch. Call it right or wrong, after the interview I gave Franko a handshake and a hug. Sorry hockey fans, I am a father of two young boys and my compassion for someone, even if he isn’t mine, is great and my heart goes out to Franko who was nothing short of a great kid.      


daryl said...

I'm not crazy about losing franko and possibly messin' with team chemistry of a team that had only 4 regulation loses before yesterday! It will be interesting to see how this affects the boys... you could certainly see they missed his speed and his special touch out there! I wish he was still on the team as he spent his entire WHL career here... amazing skill and great guy to boot... you'll be missed Zack and all the best moving forward!

Go Rockets Go!!

g.k said...

Two losses in a row on the road, not the norm for this team, do you think they are getting a little too complacent with their play or are they just not getting the breaks they were earlier on?? Also Regan what is your take on the Franko trade, I hear that Tvordon has had some discipline issues in the past & is not a real team guy!!

Gordon McGarva said...

Hope you gave him a hug for me too. Great young man for sure. Will be missed for many reasons.