Sunday, March 22, 2015

Rockets close out regular season with spirited effort

Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • Were they teasing us? We may have seen a glimpse of what the Kelowna Rockets are capable of doing. In the first period of Saturday's 5-2 home ice win over the Vancouver Giants, the Rockets played arguably their best period in over a month. Yes, it was against a Giants team that were eliminated from playoff contention a night earlier, but the Rockets thoroughly dominated play. The passes were quick, crisp and on the tape. The Rockets were first to pucks and came in waves. It all translated into a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes and a sure sign of what level of play this team is capable of preforming at. Cole Martin scored 24 seconds into the game and the home team wouldn't let the visitors off the hook. Goals by Tyrell Goulbourne less than five minutes later and Cole Linaker's career high 14th goal of the season to close out the period almost had the capacity crowd wanting to jump to their feet for a standing ovation at periods end. Again it was the best 20 minutes we've seen from this group in what feels like a long, long time.
  • Gage Quinney can play. The 19 year-old had a four assist effort. Playing with Leon Draisaitl and Tyson Baillie, the Las Vegas product managed his first-four point game of his career. Since January 24th, Quinney has points in 20 of his last 27 games. The player no one in these parts knew much about in the Josh Morrissey trade, collected 31 points in 38 regular season games wearing Kelowna Rockets colours.  The suggestion is now he could earn a 20 year-old spot with the team next season. 
  • Leon Draisaitl scored twice and added an assist in the win. His one timer in the second period had the type of power you only see at the NHL level. It came and went off his stick in a flash. The 19 year-old played 32 regular season games with the Rockets, collecting 19 goals and 53 points. In his last three games, Draisaitl has eight points (3+5=8). Draisaitl was on the same point total pace from a season ago when he scored 38 goals and collected 105 points in 64 games with the PA Raiders. If you double his games played this season (32 to 64), his goals (19 to 38), and his points (53 to 106), it is just slightly ahead of last years pace.    
  • The Rockets swept the seasonal series against the Giants, winning all eight games. Overall, the Rockets have now won 13 straight games against the G-Men.  
  • The Rockets end the season with 53 wins. It is the second highest win total in franchise history after the 57 win season a year ago. The team won 26 times on home ice and 27 times on the road.  
  • Cole Martin closed out his junior career with a regular season +/- rating of +143. A nice compliment from Leon Draisaitl when he told the media after the game, "He is the best defensive defenceman I have ever played with in my life. You can't beat this guy one on one."  
  • The Rockets face the Tri City Americans in the first round of the WHL playoffs. These two teams met one season ago, also in the opening round.  Game one and two are next Friday and Saturday night at Prospera Place with Dillon Dube and Justin Kirkland expected back in the line up after both sat out with injuries in two weekend games against the Giants.
  • I really liked the jerseys the Rockets wore last night. The jersey off your back promotion featured the XX logo on the front celebrating 20 years of the organization in the city of Kelowna. 

1 comment:

jaz301 said...

I always look forward to the playoffs, but when you have a team as good as the rockets do it makes it even better knowing that they have good shot at winning The Ed Chynoweth Cup. On paper it looks like rockets will have no problems accomplishing that, but this is playoffs and anything can happen. Though it looks like we are getting key players back again so buckle up because we should be in for a long (playoff) ride. Go Rockets Go!