Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bad night for goalies and a great night for shooters

  • Team Canada goaltending consultant Fred Brathwaite wouldn’t have liked what he saw in the Kelowna Rockets 11-4 win last night over the visiting Kamloops Blazers. The ex-NHL’er, who played in Edmonton, Calgary and St. Louis wouldn’t have been pleased with what he witnessed from Blazers goaltenders Connor Ingram, Cole Kehler nor from Rockets starter Jake Morrissey. The shooters had the upper hand and the goaltenders clearly struggled in the 15 goal onslaught. Ingram was pulled after the first period after giving up four goals on 12 shots. Kehler came in and didn’t fare much better in allowing 7 goals 17 shots. At the other end of the ice, Morrissey was slightly better, but he too was victimized by a squeaker through his pads in the first period when the two teams exchanged goals 1:37 apart. While goaltending can’t be blamed for all 15 goals, I can’t honestly recall a real good save by any of the three where the victim ended up being the shooter. At the end of the night, 17 different players found the score-sheet on the Rockets side including Tomas Soustal, who ended the game with two goals and two assists and was named the first star.
  • Tomas Soustal had the pleasure of playing on a line with Leon Draisaitl and Riley Stadel. With Justin Kirkland injured and Rodney Southam serving game two of a two game suspension, Soustal was promoted from fourth line status and had the best evening of his young career. The 18 year-old’s best play of the night came on a three way passing exhibition with Draisaitl in setting up Stadel for a second period goal to make the score 3-1. That play may be worthy of the WHL plays of the week as the three were able to pass the puck with authority inside the Blazers zone.
  • Rourke Chartier found the back of the net twice giving him back the league lead in goals with 46, one better than Medicine Hat’s Cole Sanford. Now four shy of 50, Chartier is attempting to become the first player since Justin Keller in 2005-2006 to score 50 times wearing Kelowna Rockets colours. Keller scored 51 goals and collected 88 points that season.      
  • Josh Morrissey found the back of the net twice for his first two goal game with his new team. Morrissey now has 15 points (5+10=15) and it simply getting better with each outing. The Winnipeg Jets first rounder opened and closed the scoring.
  • The 11 goals the Rockets scored all came even strength. That means several Blazers had their +/-‘s take a kicking. Nick Chyzowski ended the night a -5. At the other end of the spectrum, Rockets d-man Cole Martin was a +4 and is now a +49 this season. Joe Gatenby was also a +4 in the game and is now +26.                

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