Saturday, October 4, 2014

Linaker lights the lamp in OT win!

  • Myles Bell move over. Cole Linaker is the new hero in town. Last season, Bell scored the game winning goal in two of three overtime wins. Now no longer with the team after graduating from junior hockey, is Linaker about to take the lead when it comes to five minutes of heart attack hockey? The 19 year-old forward was the 'main man' last night in a 5-4 overtime win against the Everett Silvertips. Linaker took a pass from Madison Bowey in overtime, skated wide on a  Tips defenceman and instead of shooting from a sharp angle, Linaker kept the puck on his forehand for a wrap around goal to extend his teams winning streak to five games. The goal came just 24 short seconds into the extra frame. It was Linaker's first goal of the season after finding the back of the net 11 times last year.
  • The Rockets had total command of this game through the first 30 minutes. When Tyson Baillie scored his second goal of the game about 7 minutes into the second period, the Tips were flat and couldn't even muster a shot on goal after firing 12 at Jackson Whistle in the opening period. But to the pleasure of the five thousand fans in Everett in the teams home opener, the Tips battled back with a power play goal from newcomer Nikita Sherbak and then a penalty shot goal just 10 seconds later and the home team was back in the game.
  • Sherbak, acquired from the Saskatoon Blades a week ago, made an immediate impact. The 19 year-old first round  NHL pick of the Montreal Canadiens scored off a nice wrister on the power play in the second period to make it a 2-1 game and then scored on an innocent looking low shot that beat Whistle to the glove hand side in the third period to again give the Tips renewed life. Sherbak will undoubtedly make an impact this season, but on some nights you will wonder if he is even in the line up. While Sherbak wasn't dominant throughout, he did show up when the Tips needed him most.
  • Tyson Baillie is having a heck of a start. Another two goal game for the 19 year-old. Baillie scores goals and does it in many different ways. Every one of them comes with hard work and determination. On the opening goal, Baillie scored a beauty when he took a nice pass while  cutting towards the Tips net. Baillie simply outraced a Tips d-man and tipped a feed from teammate Riley Stadel. It allowed the Rockets to open the scoring for just the second time this season.
  • If I'm a forward, I am cutting wide to the net on a defenceman every time in an attempt to create a scoring chance. If that forward is pulled down in the least bit after earning a step on the defender, it almost always results in a penalty shot. We have already seen two penalty shots in the first five games.
  • I liked the play of rookie Devante Stephens. With an injury early in the game to d-man Mitch Wheaton, Stephens was forced in a crucial role late in a tied game when Cole Martin and Madison Bowey were in the penalty box. With four minutes left to play in regulation time, Stephens was out on the ice and doing yeomans service to send the game into overtime. 
  • The Rockets are the only undefeated team in the WHL with 5 wins in five games. Up next is a date with the Seattle Thunderbirds tonight to close out the weekend. The Rockets will actually play a regular season game in Seattle without having played the night before in Kelowna. Hopefully we see a fresher team than what we've witnessed over the years when these two teams collide at the Showare Centre. Talk to you on the radio at 6:30.         

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