Thursday, October 2, 2014

Rockets remain undefeated

  • Most coaches smile after a win. Dan Lambert was straight faced following his team’s 7-5 win last night over the visiting Vancouver Giants. Lambert saw his team fall behind 3-0 in a sluggish first period for the home team, who surrendered a shorthanded goal, an even strength marker and a power play goal.  Despite digging themselves out of a massive hole with six consecutive goals, the Rockets needed an empty netter to breath easily for their 4th straight win to start the season.  At the end of the night, Madison Bowey collected two goals and three assists for a career five point night.  The Rockets are now one of only four teams in the WHL that have unblemished records in the young season.
  • The Rockets were granted a five minute power play to start the second period after Giants 16 year-old Tyler Benson was assessed a game misconduct for a hard hit on Rockets defenceman Jesse Lees right at the first period buzzer. Did I think it was worthy of a game misconduct? No. I mentioned that between periods on the Shaw TV broadcast. I think a penalty needed to be called, but a two minute minor for boarding would have been the appropriate call. The fact remains; Benson hit Lees when he was off balance while trying to move the puck. The thud of Lees' back hitting the boards made it sound worse than it was. Lees never returned after the hit but did make his way off the ice on his own.
  • Considering the mistakes the Rockets made against the Giants, it was amazing they were able to pull off the win. Not many teams are able to get away with it and eventually it will come back to bite them if they aren't careful. Two highly skilled, structurally sound teams await them this weekend in Everett and Seattle.           
  • The prettiest goal of the game came courtesy of a cross ice pass from Nick Merkley to Rourke Chartier to make the score 4-3 Kelowna. Chartier roofed the puck high over Giants goaltender Payton Lee when he one timed the pass from his 17 year-old line-mate. That is a hard goal to defend and has to be a candidate for the WHL Plays of the Week.
  • The Rockets scored three shorthanded goals in the game with two of them coming off the stick of Madison Bowey. The last time a defenceman with the Rockets scored two shorthanded goals in one game was when Tyson Barrie turned the trick on the road in Seattle. He scored both of his shorthanded goals into an empty net if I am not mistaken. Only one of Bowey’s two shorthanded goals came with the goaltender pulled.
  • For the third straight game the Rockets were scored upon first. But the team doesn't seem to be rattled, having scored seven or more goals for a third consecutive game.
  • One of the Rockets shorthanded goals came off the stick of Cole Martin. It was Martin’s first goal in 114 regular season games. Up until last night, Martin hadn’t scored since December 11/2012 in Kootenay.
  • Nick Merkley is now tied for the WHL lead in assists with 7. 
  • Cole Martin leads the WHL in +/- with a +9.

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