Saturday, January 24, 2015

Rockets pay price in two goal win

Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • Kelowna Rockets head coach Dan Lambert challenged his team to show him that they were willing to pay a price to win. Mission accomplished. Leon Draisaitl blocked a shot in the first period off his ribs, Tyrell Goulbourne was a horse on the penalty kill and Madison Bowey, who is gifted offensively, took care of his own end first in a 5-3 win over the Everett Silvertips. The individual efforts went far beyond that though. How about Josh Morrissey's  massive hit in the second period and Chance Braid's bone crusher in front of the Tips bench? Even defensive defenceman Cole Martin got into the act by getting into a rare fight when Morrissey was given a rough ride into the end boards. The Rockets were not without their share of errors, but it may have been the team's best effort with this 'new' group. Again, it wasn't all roses, but it was a step in the right direction in becoming a better team.
  • I thought it was a terrific start for the Rockets who played significant minutes in the o-zone, specifically in the first period. The only downside was a lack of shots on Tips goaltender Austin Lotz. The Rockets could only manufacture seven shots in the period with Tyrell Goulbourne scoring the franchise's 5,000th goal to open the scoring. I thought Goulbourne had a great game by using his speed both five on five and on the penalty kill. It was nice to see him find the back of the net for the first time in 10 games.
  • Despite a lopsided advantage in terms of territorial play, the Tips had at least three great chances to score in the first period. All three were the result of turnovers committed by the home team. Jackson Whistle had a solid game and made several large saves to keep the Tips off the board until a seeing eye wrist shot early in the second period from Everett d-man Ben Betker found the back of the net. In my books Whistle could have been named a star for his quick feet and never give up approach to the game. It was a solid bounce back game for Whistle, who was pulled last Friday in a loss to Seattle.
  • Madison Bowey and the entire d-core deserve credit for keeping Tips leading scorer Nikita Sherbak off the board. Bowey in particular did a great job of getting his stick on pucks when the 19 year-old Russian attempted to deliver it to the net. I liked the fact that the Rockets captain played a more 'stay a home' style and concentrated on the defensive side of the game. While he too  was held pointless, the Washington Capitals draft pick was affective. Since his return from the world juniors, Bowey has been terrific.   
  • The Tips are an interesting group. At a flick of a switch they seem to be able to generate offense at will. Down by a goal, they would quickly regroup and attack aggressive at the Rockets net. The Tips, playing their third game in four nights, would not relent. They appeared to be fresh in the third period despite playing in Prince George on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Great teams battle no matter the road blocks the schedule maker puts in front of them. The Tips are an elite group.
  • The Rockets power play was a bright spot in the two goal win. Despite having only two chances with the extra man, two quick strikes from Rourke Chartier and Tyson Baillie proved that this unit is lethal when given the chance.
  • It was the best game Josh Morrissey has played in a Rockets uniform. I thought he was better defensively and chipped in with two assists. Morrissey's hit on Gunner Wegleitner was as good as you will see this season. The Everett forward did not return.
  • The good news is these two teams are back on the ice tonight for a rematch. Can it get better than last night? The answer is yes!! 

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