Thursday, February 13, 2014

Linaker finds the back of the net in one goal win

Cole Linaker's game winner - Colin Mulvany Photo
  • It won't go down as one of Cole Linaker's prettiest goals he's scored in his two seasons in a Kelowna Rockets uniform, but the 18 year-old was all smiles Wednesday night after collecting the game winning goal in a 2-1 win over the Spokane Chiefs. Linaker saw a pass from teammate Damon Severson go off his skate and past Chiefs goaltender Eric Williams. The goal came with 27 seconds left in regulation time when it appeared the game was headed into overtime.
  • The Rockets can thank goaltender Jordon Cooke for his late game heroics too. The 20 year-old goaltender stopped Chiefs forward Adam Helewka on a two on one with Mitch Holmberg when a turnover just outside the blue line created the odd man rush. With Riley Stadel out of position in an effort to join the attack, Holmberg saucered a pass to Helewka who was denied on the back hand by Cooke's left pad.  
  • Cooke is at his best when he makes timely saves. While a heavy workload wasn't necessary, when called upon he was terrific. Cooke's positioning was perfect and he made himself big in the net and didn't have to scramble to make saves. Positioning and not overplaying pucks was the key in his third star performance. On my broadcast I gave him the first star, but he was chosen as the third star in the building.             
  • Williams was no slouch at the other end for the Chiefs. The overage goaltender robbed Rockets forward Rourke Chartier with a paddle save late in the game when the 17 year-old appeared to have Williams dead to his rights with a great forehand move with the puck in the crease.
  • The win was a big hurdle for the Rockets', who have been no strangers to giving up third period leads. Carrying a 1-0 lead into the final frame, the Chiefs scored the tying goal but the visitors were able to find a way to fight back and score a goal of their own in the tightly fought game.
  • The win was the Rockets 24th on the road this season. It ties a franchise record set by the 2003-2004 edition. A new mark can be set next Friday in Prince George.
  • Jordon Cooke won his 84th career game Wednesday night moving into sole possession of second place all-time in wins by a Rockets goaltender. Cooke's 84 wins is one better than Kelly Guard's 83. Adam Brown is the franchise leader with 107 victories.
  • The team announced before the game that second leading scorer Tyson Baillie will be lost to the team for between 3 and 6 weeks with a lower body injury. Baillie suffered the injury Monday against Seattle.
  • The Chiefs played the game without Liam Stewart. Stewart broke his foot attempting to block a Damon Severson shot when the two team's battled at Prospera Place on January 29th.                  
  • The Rockets kept WHL leading point getter Mitch Holmberg off the board. It was the 17th time the 20 year-old has been held off the score sheet. Without a point, Holmberg was passed in the WHL points parade by Portland's Nic Petan. 

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