Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rockets leave Cougar Country with two wins

  • Some team's need more chances to score than others. Thankfully right now the Kelowna Rockets don't need an abundance of quality opportunities to win hockey games. The Prince George Cougars out-shot the Rockets 36-29 Saturday night yet the road team found the back of the net six times in a 6-2 road win. Tyrell Goulbourne and Tomas Soustal each scored twice as the Rockets reached the 20 win mark in only their 22nd game of the season. The win also improved the Rockets road record to 11-1-1-0, which is the best mark in the 22 team circuit.
  • Rourke Chartier extended his goal scoring streak to an impressive 10 games. That ties a Kelowna Rockets franchise record set by Jesse Schultz during the 2002-2003 season. No Kelowna Rockets player has ever had an 11 game goal scoring streak. Chartier will try to accomplish the feat Tuesday in Victoria.
  • It isn't often that Jesse Lees is granted the first star, but the 19 year defenceman/forward was given the honour Saturday night at CN Centre. Lees collected a goal and added an assist. Lees was one of many players that added crucial secondary scoring outside of the G-M-C line of Goulbourne, Merkley and Chartier that combined for 7 points.
  • Rookie Jake Morrissey earned the win in goal with a 34 save performance. While he struggled to locate pucks, you don't get style points. In the end, Morrissey was better than Cougars starter Ty Edmonds, who frankly looked shaky at the other end. I have seen Edmonds a handful of times and he has struggled, specifically against the Rockets. The numbers don't lie. In eight career appearances, Edmonds has a goals against average of 5.26 with a save percentage of .871. Edmonds was yanked Saturday night after giving up 4 goals on 13 shots. Can someone explain to me why 20 year-old Jared Rathjen wasn't in goal after making several nice stops in a 6-3 win a night earlier? The Tyson Baillie seeing eye slap shot and Rourke Chartier's laser beam to the corner were perfectly placed shots that couldn't be deemed as soft goals on the veteran netminder.
  • More bad blood between the coaches in the second period after a scrap between 20 year old Colton Heffley and 16 year old Cougars Kody McDonald. This time it wasn't the head coaches trading verbal barbs but assistants Kris Mallette and Cougars Roman Vopat. 
  • Rodney Southam has really grown on me. For the third time in his short stint with the Rockets, the 18 year- old was involved in a scrap and was a clear winner over Cougars defenceman Josh Anderson. I like Southam's ability to get involved and without hesitation defend a teammate. Southam is clearly in the middle weight category but packs a solid punch. It's nice to have someone outside of Tyrell Goulbourne with the ability to bring down the heavy hand of the law.
  • The Rockets lost forward Justin Kirkland early in the game after he cut wide on a Cougars defenceman and was taken down and crashed awkwardly into the end boards. He could play Tuesday or Wednesday if he feels good enough to go. Or as we call it.....he is a game time decision. 
  • With four points in their back pocket, the Rockets left Prince George for the final time this season and promptly headed for a ferry to Victoria Sunday morning. 
  • The amazing fact of the weekend is the Rockets experienced no snow in two separate stops in Prince George. How many WHL team's can say that over the course of a hockey season? I hazard to guess none.  

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