Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rockets clinch BC Division crown

  • Marek Tvrdon had a calm demeanour as he celebrated his game winning goal Saturday night over the Vancouver Giants. With his arms open wide after picking the corner on Giants goaltender Jared Rathjen, the 20 year-old must have been doing cart wheels inside after scoring against his old team. Tvrdon, playing in his first game in Vancouver since a trade with the Rockets in January, was part of a two goal second period as the visitors rallied for a 3-1 win. The victory, the teams’ 52nd of the season, matched the franchise record set last season.  The Rockets also captured the
    Shoot the Breeze Photography
    BC Division title for the second straight season.
  • It was no surprise that the Giants ramped up their physical play in the back end of the home and home series between the two teams.  After a 6-0 loss Friday night in Kelowna, the Giants were clearly the aggressor but the Rockets wouldn’t back down. Rookie Justin Kirkland found himself in a fight in the first period before Damon Severson dropped the gloves for the first time in the second period tilt with Giants leading goal getter Jackson Houck.   
  • The game took a dramatic turn 5 minutes into the second period.  With the Giants leading 1-0, sixteen year-olds Joe Gatenby and Nick Merkley set up Rourke Chartier for his 21st goal of the season. Moments later Tyrell Goulbourne nailed Giants forward Travis McEvoy at the Vancouver blue line.  Then with Dalton Sward in the penalty box for interference, Tvrdon would score a power play goal and the Rockets had the lead for good.
  • As has been the case over the last few years in hockey, Goulbourne’s hit on McEvoy would usually generated a response. But there wasn’t one G-Men who wanted to step up and tangle with one of the toughest guys in the league. Goulbourne was expecting retribution and was looking around for a dance partner but no one entertained the notion of fighting the Philadelphia Flyers draft pick.          
  • I thought it was an excellent game from 16 year-old defenceman Joe Gatenby.  You can take the assist away from him on the Chartier goal and I still thought his play was terrific. Smart, composed plays were the norm on this night. Gatenby looked fresh, confident and his passes were crisp.  
  • Few mention that the Rockets are winning games without their third leading point getter Tyson Baillie. That's a significant loss but the team is still picking up w's. 
  • The best shift of the game came in the third period when Tyrell Goulbourne, Colton Heffley and Cole Linaker won board battle after board battle inside the Giants zone. Goulbourne eventually fired the puck in front where Linaker one timed it into the net to give the Rockets a 3-1 lead. That goal was basically lights out for the Giants at that point.   
  • The Giants may have had more jump in the game but it doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to see why. The Rockets were playing their 4th game in 5 nights. The Giants were playing their second game in a week, or half as many games.  
  • The win moved the Rockets 9 points up on Portland for first place in the WHL standings with 7 games left in the regular season. The Winterhawks suffered a 4-1 loss in Seattle for their first in 22 games. 


g.k said...

Any info on Rigbys status? Injured or healthy scratch?? What would be the magic number for the Rockets to clinch the overall title now with Portland losing last night!! I just hope once we have clinched, that the coaches let some of our more important players rest instead of risking injury as we all saw happen last season.

Regan Bartel said...

Rigby is out with an upper body injury. Magic number is 3.5. Any combination of Rockets wins and Winterhawks losses totaling 3.5 should give the team home ice advantage throughout playoffs.