|Tyson Baillie battling for loose puck - Photo by Chris Mast|
- Don't take this wrong Kohl Bauml, but you shouldn't have been the first star in last night's overtime win against the Kelowna Rockets. Yes, you scored the game winning goal and set up the tying goal in the third period, but without goaltender Carter Hart, the comeback bid wouldn't have been possible. Hart, for those unaware, is a 16 year-old rookie who looked anything but in the one goal win. Hart made breakaway saves on Tate Coughlin, Tyrell Goulbourne and Dillon Dube in the come from behind win. It could have been four breakaways, but Rockets captain Madison Bowey lost the puck on the backhand and didn't get a shot on net. What I'm trying to say is without Hart, there is no overtime. That's right, with Hart there is no Kohl Bauml overtime heroics. This game is finished in regulation time and the Rockets end off the seasonal series running the table against the U.S Division leaders. Instead the Tips earn a much needed two points to move four up on Portland in the fight for first place in the division with eight games left in the regular season.
- The tough pill for the Rockets to swallow is they let a 2-0 lead slip away by surrendering three unanswered goals. The Rockets were in total control in the second period by out shooting the home team 13-6, but finding the killer instinct to score that elusive third goal couldn't be found. The best chance, possibly, came on a Dillon Dube power play attempt in the third period when his tip in front of the net from a perfect pass from Leon Draisaitl was kicked aside by Hart.
- While Bauml was named the first star and Nikita Sherbak was given third star status with a goal and an assist, Leon Draisaitl was the best player on the ice - outside of Hart. I thought the 19 year-old was terrific. He almost single handily won the game in overtime when he took the puck at the Rockets blue line, and with determination on his face, skated quickly inside the Tips zone and made his way to the slot where he let a backhand shot go that Hart deflected wide of the net. Draisaitl's determination was impressive to watch as he used his size and power to create several quality scoring chances. The 19 year-old, who is worth his weight in gold and is getting better every game, has scored in six consecutive games and now has points in nine straight. If you took just this one game into account in comparing Draisaitl and Sherbak, the Edmonton Oilers first rounder won this hands down with his solid effort over 60 minutes. Sherbak essentially showed up in the third period.
- I'm not sure how the Tips view their performance, but they looked almost disinterested in the first 40 minutes outside of a six minute push in the first period. When the Rockets scored a power play goal in the second period to make it 2-0, the Tips had little in the way of push back. They were playing a sleepy game before finally showing some life in the third period. What was more concerning was the Rockets inability to retain the lead despite the pressure applied by the Tips. Once Everett acquired momentum, the Rockets couldn't get it back. The game fell off the rails quickly with Jackson Whistle having to make quality stops in overtime before Bauml would eventually score with 29 seconds left in the extra session. Why or how the 20 year-old, who is the leading scorer on the Tips, was left unguarded from that scoring area is beyond me. Whistle had no chance on the game winner.
- The Rockets are now 1 and 4 in overtime. The only win in OT was Cole Linaker playing the role of hero in a 5-4 victory in Everett October 3rd in the teams first road win of the season. The Tips have now gone into overtime a league high 17 times.
- Without Rourke Chartier, Justin Kirkland and Josh Morrissey, just to name three, the Rockets did earn a point and sit two points up on idle Brandon for first place overall. The Wheat Kings do have a game in hand though.
- The Rockets, with Rourke Chartier in the line up, are back in action Friday in Vancouver before hosting the Spokane Chiefs Saturday night at Prospera Place.