Thursday, November 27, 2014

Chartier forcing Hockey Canada's hand?

Rourke Chartier lights the lamp twice in win
  • Is Rourke Chartier literally forcing Hockey Canada's hand into inviting the 18 year-old to next months main camp in Ontario? Chartier's 28 goals, the most of any player in the Canadian Hockey league, can't be overlooked. It isn't like the Saskatoon resident is off Hockey Canada's radar all together though. The soft spoken forward was a member of Team Canada that competed at the Ivan Hlicka tournament. Chartier's hot stick couldn't be denied Wednesday night in the Rockets 4-1 win in Tri City, snapping a modest two game losing streak. Chartier now has 17 goals this month and has six-two goal games in November.
  • Did I expect Chartier to have this much success? No! I thought he would eventually score 30 goals in the WHL, but to be knocking on that benchmark with less than half a season played is remarkable. Chartier's career high 24 goals - set last year - will be smashed this season. What is safe is the 86 goals he scored playing bantam hockey with the Saskatoon Outlaws in 2009-2010.
  • I thought it was a textbook road game by the Rockets Wednesday night. Despite missing several great chances to score in the first period thanks to three power plays, the visitors didn't get rattled. Instead they just stayed the course and eventually blew the game open with a three goal third period. I thought the Rockets were especially clean in their own zone. The only breakdown wasn't really a breakdown when Parker Bowles came out of the penalty box and skated all alone on a breakaway before being denied by the right pad of goaltender Jackson Whistle. 
  • Joe Gatenby continues to grow on me. Logging a ton of ice time, the 17 year-old defenceman competes and is getting better by the day. I thought Gatenby and Riley Stadel really stood tall after 20 year-old Cole Martin was a late scratch.
  • Tyrell Goulbourne's short handed goal was fun to watch. The 20 year-old slowly took the puck through centre and it appeared he was simply going to dump the puck in and go for a line change. Instead, Goulbourne turned on the jets and skated through the Americans defense before backhanding the puck through the legs of goaltender Eric Comrie. That goal made it 4-1 and it was lights out for the home team.
  • Nick Merkley earned an assist, extending his point streak to 12 games. The 17 year-old is now one point back of Chartier for the league lead in points.
  • The Calgary Flames were well represented at the game with no less than three scouts on hand. The two I recognized were Brad McEwan and Rob Sumner.
  • It was my first look at Americans 20 year-old forward Richard Nejezchleb. The New York Rangers forward had a quiet game. Honestly, I was expecting more. We didn't see him last season when he was with the Brandon Wheat Kings because he was preparing to attend the World Junior Hockey Championships in Sweden with the Czech Republic. The dude has size and is an offensive force - when he puts his mind too it.
  • Rookie 16 year-old affiliate player Cole Lind earned his first career point on Tyson Baillie's third period goal. Lind is a 4th round bantam pick of the Rockets and is leading the Saskatoon Contacts in scoring and is third in league scoring in the SMMHL.
  • The Rockets have now played 16 road games, tied for the league lead in the most road games played with Victoria and Kamloops. The good news is a four game home stand awaits, starting with a Saturday night tilt with the Regina Pats.

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