Sunday, December 28, 2014

Chartier hits and scores in two goal win

Rourke Charter scores twice - Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • Rourke Chartier is an impact player. The 18 year-old Kelowna Rockets forward proved it in two different ways last night in a 4-2 home ice win over the Kamloops Blazers. Before scoring two goals in the teams' 29th win of the season, the soft spoken centreman laid a massive hit on Blazers defenceman Brady Gaudet just inside the Kamloops blue line. The hit sent Gaudet flying with his helmet literally popping off his head. It isn't often you see Chartier lay the boom on a much larger player,  but the hit set the tone for more good things to come as the Saskatoon resident scored his 33rd and 34th goals of the season. Oh, I should mention, Gaudet never returned after the hit was applied. Gaudet had just returned to the Blazers after missing the last 18 games with a shoulder injury. 
  • Chartier is now three points shy of both teammate Nick Merkley and Medicine Hat's Trevor Cox for the WHL scoring lead. Chartier's 34 goals is 10 more than he had all of last season and three more goals will give him as many as he had in the previous two seasons combined. Chartier now has 12 multiple goal games.  
  • Just look at Chartier's consistent play. In the last 20 games, Chartier has scored in 17 of them. Translation? In only three games over that span has Chartier failed to find the back of the net. 
  • I thought Gage Quinney had a strong game in his home debut. The 19 year-old is showing some strong chemistry with Tyson Baillie. Quinney had possibly three great chances to score in the first period alone but couldn't find the back of the net. Quinney, for my money, is a massive surprise on how good of player he is. I had no clue what he would bring to the ice when the trade was made. Honestly, with the way Quinney is playing, would he not have a tremendous chance to stick with the team as a 20 year-old next season?
  • Tyson Baillie is heating up at the right time. The 19 year-old has five goals in his last five games.  Baillie's pass to Chartier for a power play goal in the second period was pretty to watch. It was Baillie's 97th career assist.        
  • The Rockets have won 13 straight games against the Blazers dating back to 2012-2013.
  • What an outstanding crowd! Six thousand 214 fans took in the game, a sell out and largest crowd of the season. The fans were treated to an entertaining game that didn't have that sluggish feel that usually comes with the first game after the Christmas break.
  • Dillon Dube continues to impress. Can you imagine if the Rockets had him healthy and in the line up at the start of the season? The 16 year-old now has 7 goals in 12 games since returning from injury. Those 7 goals have come to December alone. Who has scored more goals for the Rockets in December than Dube? No one!!  Chartier and Baillie have five apiece during the month. 
  • The Rockets have given up two goals or less in 11 of the 16 home games they have played this season. In the five home games where they have surrenders more than two goals, the record slips to 1-3-1-0.   
  • The Blazers had 16 year-old affiliated player Dawson Davidson in the line up. I thought he played really well and Don Hay wasn't scared to use him on the power play. Davidson plays midget hockey in Moose Jaw and shows some offensive instincts. Interesting that he didn't make the Blazers roster out of training camp, but that said, rushing a player isn't necessary. Look at what another year of midget did for Kelowna Rockets forward Justin Kirkland. Playing major junior at 17 is never a bad option. 

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