Thursday, October 16, 2014

Make it 9!!!

  • The Kamloops Blazers are for real. The Kelowna Rockets can vouch for that after a hard fought 6-4 win Wednesday night at Interior Savings Centre. The Rockets used two goals from Austin Glover and a pair of third period goals from Rourke Chartier in a 6-4 win. The clubs winning streak is now at 9 heading into back-to-back games in Washington State this weekend.
  • After a slow start against Lethbridge Saturday night, it was anything but for the Rockets against the Blazers Wednesday night. While the team’s were tied at one goal apiece after the opening period, the Rockets should have had a 2-0 lead. While the shots were 14-10 Kelowna, the visitors had numerous chances to score, yet it was the Blazers who found the back of the net first when Colin Shirley was awarded a penalty shot while shorthanded and beat Rockets goaltender Jackson Whistle to the blocker side.  Riley Stadel scored a power play goal as the teams went into the first intermission break tied at one goal apiece.
  • The Rockets scored two beautiful goals in this one with Nick Merkley playing a key part in both of them.  Merkley set up line-mate Tyrell Goulbourne with a power play goal in the second period that gave the visitors a 3-2 lead. Merkley went wide on Blazers defenceman Michael Fora, who slide down on the play in an effort to shutdown a passing lane. Merkley, with the patience of Job, calmly held onto the puck at the side of the net before feeding Goulbourne with a perfect pass for a one time shot that beat Kamloops goaltender Cole Kehler.   Merkley also set up Rourke Chartier for the game winning goal just 2:22 into the  third period on a pretty three way passing play which again included Goulbourne.
  • I thought Tyrell Goulbourne had a terrific game. The 20 year-old looked 20 year-old. He was a force playing with Merkley and Chartier. Goulbourne had a nice hit in the first period and wouldn’t  give up on the puck when he worked wide on a Blazers defenceman,who attempted to pin him up against the boards. Instead, Goulbourne didn’t stop skating and continued to pursue the puck. Goulby’s determination and all out effort was impressive. If he plays like that consistently, and the key word here is consistently, he can earn a contract. The Flyers will have no choice.
  • It was nice to see Austin Glover rewarded with two goals. I like Glover and think he has been short changed by injuries over the years which have stunted his growth. No one will feel sorry for him, outside of me perhaps, but the second round bantam pick is off to a nice start this season.  I hope he continues to shoot the puck more and gains confidence in his game.          
  • Cole Ully is going to score a lot of goals. The 19 year-old Blazers forward is a big time player. If he scored 30 goals last year on a team that won 14 games, he can be a top scorer in this league this season with a much better team. Ully is dangerous with the puck and does some good things playing on the point on the Blazers power play. Matt Needman won’t get much credit for his defensive work, but man, is he ever responsible in his own end.   I thought he was a one trick pony with his focus purely on offensive, but Needman’s strong d-zone effort was clearly visible in this game.
  • Dillon Dube played his first game of the season. The 16 year-old missed the first eight games because of a broken ankle. Dube, the Rockets first round pick from 2013, was trying to shake off the rink rust after a six week absence.
  • The Rockets gave up a season high 39 shots on net. After surrendering only 10 shots on net in the first period, the quality of chances for the Blazers increased significantly in the final 40 minutes of the game.   
  • The Rockets take a nine game winning streak into Friday’s game against the Spokane Chiefs followed by a stop in Tri City against the Americans on Saturday.

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