Thursday, December 18, 2014

Alberta roady ends with results in Red Deer

  • The sign of a veteran team is not getting rattled when you see a significant lead evaporate before your very eyes. Such was the case last night in a 6-3 win in Red Deer. The Kelowna Rockets were in control before the Rebels erupted for two goals in a span of  :37 seconds to make it a one goal game. How did the road weary Rockets react? They promptly scored three-third period goals in the teams' 28th win of the season. Dillon Dube, Justin Kirkland and Tyson Baillie scored in the final frame, handing the Rebels only their 5th regulation loss on home ice this season.    
  • Justin Kirkland showed why he has the potential to be a dominant player. The 18 year-old scored twice, once on the power play and once in the third period on a seeing-eye slap shot and chipped in with one assist. Kirkland had 3+5=8 in the five game road trip which led all Rockets forwards.  
  • The Rockets took one minor penalty against the Rebels. That is a season low. Nick Merkley took a goaltender interference penalty or the team would have been clean of any infractions.
  • Put your money on Tyson Baillie when an empty net is available. Baillie battles and was rewarded with his 23rd goal of the season. Baillie had 4 goals in the last four games of the road trip. 
  • In case you are not paying attention, the Rockets completed a stretch of playing 11 of their last 17 on the road. They picked up points in 10 of those 11 road games.
  • I liked the fact that head coach Dan Lambert met every player at the bench after Wednesday's game and gave them a congratulatory pat on the back. As a player, how can you not want to play for this guy?     
  • Cole Martin now leads the WHL in plus/minus with a +28. Martin had a solid trip, outside of a rough game in Calgary when the team looked sluggish in a 4-1 setback. Martin brought his offensive game with him on the trip, collecting 6 assists in his last four games of the swing.
  • You can't tell me that recording a 4 and 1 record on this Alberta road trip wasn't impressive. The team was playing without its top goal scorer and its top offensive defenceman. No Chartier and no Bowey translated into 8 out of a possible 10 points. Can't shake a stick at that.
  • Jackson Whistle played in every game on the trip. It was manageable considering the Rockets played every other day outside of back-to-back games in Edmonton Tuesday and in Red Deer on Wednesday. Whistle now leads the WHL in wins with 22. Whistle is 6 starts shy of 100 for his career.
  •  Rodney Southam has goals in back-to-back games. The 18 year-old scored last night in Red Deer and had a goal in Edmonton a night earlier. Last season the Saskatoon resident also scored in back-to-back games against the Rockets, as a member of the Tri City Americans, and against the Prince Albert Raiders. 
  • During the five game road trip, the Rockets out-scored their opponent 19-13. 
  • The Rockets were out-shot in four of the five games. The only time they out-shot the opposition was against Lethbridge in game one of the 'roady'.
  • The Rockets opened the scoring in 3 of the 5 games.
  • The hockey club scored a power play goal in four of the five games. The power play unit, without Chartier and Bowey, went 5 for 18 or 28 percent. The penalty killing unit surrendered four goals against in 26 kills.    
  • The Rockets have now played the second most road games in the WHL (21). Only Kamloops has played more (22).  Home cook'n is on the menu when the second half of the season begins on December 27th against Kamloops. The team will play 9 of its next 11 games on home ice. The only road trips are to Kamloops (twice).   
  • 21 of the teams final 36 games - 58 percent are against BC Division rivals.  
  • Just one more significant road trip awaits the Rockets when they again set sail for Alberta with four games in five night's in Red Deer, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Kootenay. Ya, ya, Cranbrook is in BC but you get what I am saying.
  • The Rockets are 28-5-3-0 after 36 games. Last season after 36 games the team was 31-3-0-2. In the last 72 regular season games the Rockets are a combined 59-8-3-2.


Dale Engel said...

Rockets have all the horses to make a deep run in the playoffs except in one area. Rockets are lacking a top notch tender....Yah yah Whistle has stats but with the team he has in front of him he should have awesome stats..The quality and number of shots he faces each game a low...Come playoff time when he faces way more rubber and in games that have more meaning he will falter and come back to earth...

g.k said...

Congrats on a great road trip Rockets!! Have a fabulous Christmas & get lots of rest because when you get back the real season begins. Merry Christmas to you & your family Regan, keep up the awesome blogging.

Regan Bartel said...

I think Whistle has faced more quality shots than I had hoped he would, and conversely, has shown he is more than just an average goaltender. Whistle's first star selections are among the best on the team. That shows how good he has had to be.