Monday, March 24, 2014

Gatenby and Myers have something in common

What a great photo by Marissa Baecker - Shoot the Breeze
  • There has been a lot of talk about Eric Comrie’s strong play in the first two games of this series, but let’s not forget Jordon Cooke’s efforts. While not tested as often, Cooke has been solid with a save percentage of .966. In his first full season as a starter, Cooke’s goals against average was over three in last years playoffs which was significantly higher than his regular season totals. In this year’s playoffs, Cooke wants to mirror his statistics from the regular season. The 20 year-old had the second best goals against average in the league over the 72 game schedule.    
  • Wouldn’t it be fun to have a skate off between Kelowna Rockets forward Tyrell Goulbourne and Americans speedster Lucas Nichols? Both are arguably the fastest players on their respective teams and I still can't determine who’s quicker. Without the puck, I will give Goulbourne the nod. With it, Nichols may make it to the finish line first. Regardless, those two dudes can fly.
  • For the record, Eric Comrie has two masks that he keeps with him at all times. The 18 year-old had his mask malfunction in game one and fortunately he had a back up with him in his hockey bag.
  • I’ve noticed two trends in the officiating in the first two games of this series. A punch after the whistle or any rough play will have the guilty party sitting in the penalty box. I don’t mind that. If crap is called after the whistle and only one player engages in it, I have no problem with that call. More times than not during the regular season even the player who gets punched also serves a penalty. I have also noticed that any contact with a goaltender, even minor in nature, has the skater serving a penalty for goaltender interference.  
  • Quiet coaches. If you have watched the first two games of this series closely, you have noticed that neither Rockets bench boss Ryan Huska nor Americans head coaches Jim Hiller are overly animated on the bench. Both are as competitive as they come but don’t believe they need to rant and rave on the bench and continually yell at the officials in order for calls to go their way. I can only imagine what it is like when Victoria’s Dave Lowry goes us up against Everett’s Kevin Constantine. Those two are the most animated in Western Conference.   
  • Joe Gatenby was all the smiles the day after I talked to him about scoring his first career WHL goal. Wouldn’t you? The 16 year-old scored his first goal in a playoff game, on home ice and against one of the best goaltenders in the WHL. Who was the last 16 year-old Rockets rookie to score his first career WHL goal in the playoffs? Tyler Myers. Myers, who now plays with NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, scored his first career goal in the 2006 playoffs in Cranbrook in game four of an opening round series against the Ice.
  • I wouldn’t have thought two games into the WHL playoffs that Gatenby would have more goals than teammate Madison Bowey. Bowey had 21 during the regular season.
  • Rockets second year forward Rourke Chartier has something in common with Americans forward Rodney Southam. The two won the Saskatchewan Midget League title a couple years back as members of the Saskatoon Contacts.   
  • Best late picks in the WHL bantam draft for both teams? I am not sure the Rockets scouting staff would have projected Damon Severson to turn into the player he did. Severson was a 9th round pick. On the other side, did Americans GM Bob Tory think Brian Williams would score 36 goals after taking him in the 8th round in 2010?     
  • The spring break allowed the Rockets to bring in 16 year-old goaltender Jake Morrissey this week for a few on ice workouts. Morrissey is the teams 5th round selection in the 2012 WHL draft.

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