Thursday, January 23, 2014

Patience a virtue in Rockets home ice win

Marissa Baecker - Shoot The Breeze Photography
  • The Everett Silvertips are a frustrating team to play against. Just ask the Kelowna Rockets. Patience was a virtue Wednesday night in a 6-3 home ice win over the Tips. The Rockets built up a 3-0 lead but the Silvertips stormed back to make it a one goal game late in the third before two empty net goals sealed the win for the home team. It was the Rockets' 7th straight home ice win and handed the Silvertips just their 5th regulation loss on the road this season.
  • Tyson Baillie will be credited with the game winning goal after he scored 8 minutes into the second period to make it a 4-1 lead. It was Baillie's first goal in nine games. The 18 year-old  intercepted a pass/miss pass that went awkwardly off the stick of Everett d-man Mirco Mueller behind the net and landed on Baillie's stick at the side of the goal. Baillie quickly fired the puck short side past a startled Tips goaltender Austin Lotz to give the Rockets some breathing room. 
  • The Tips received a three point effort from leading scorer Josh Winquist, but his second goal of the game was pure fluke. The 20 year-old tried to flip the puck in front of the Rockets net. Instead the puck bounced on the top of the net, then hit Jordon Cooke's glove and then his shoulder/back before entering the goal to make the score 4-2. 
  • Despite the lopsided score, the game was in doubt when the Tips scored with just over five minutes left in the third period to make it a one goal game. It was only after empty net goals from Ryan Olsen and Tyrell Goulbourne that the Rockets and the 5 thousand and eight fans could breath easy.
  • Marek Tvrdon scored in his Kelowna Rockets home debut. The 20 year-old received a nice pass from rookie Nick Merkley, who stole the puck after a bad pass by Jujar Khaira and skated behind the net before centering it in front for an easy goal by Tvrdon. Outside of that play, a rather quiet night for that line that also includes Ryan Olsen.
  • Speaking of quiet nights, leading scorer Myles Bell failed to make much noise with line mates Tyson Baillie and Tyrell Goulbourne. I think it would be fair to say the best line for the Rockets was Cole Linaker with Kris Schmidli and Jesse Lees. Those three players ended the night with a combined five points. Lees was playing as a forward as rookie Justin Kirkland was given the night off to watch from the stands.
  • The Rockets third goal was the most  impressive considering the dominant play inside the Tips zone. The line of  Linaker, Schmidli and Lees had the visitors pinned in their own zone for an extended period of time. Winning board battles with the forwards distributing the puck back to the defenceman was as picture perfect a shift as you are going to find. Bottle that up and sell it. That sequence, which ended in a goal was pure gold.
  •  At the end of the night Josh Winquist is named the games first start. For my money the best Silvertip was d-man Ben Betker.  Betkler logged huge minutes and fought Colton Heffley. I thought the 19 year-old had a great game.
  • The Rockets power play was/is a sore point. While they only had three chances with the extra man considering the Tips simply don't take bad penalties, the extra skater produced few if any scoring chances. If the Rockets even registered a shot on net in those three power plays I would be surprised. You have to give Everett credit for getting into shooting lanes to block shots, but the best scoring chance came in the third period when Tips forward Kohl Bauml just missed teammate Mirco Mueller with a pass at the side of the net while playing shorthanded.   
  • The Rockets will need to be a heck of a whole lot better when they host the Medicine Hat Tigers tomorrow night.

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