Saturday, March 14, 2015

Worst effort of season bar none

  • How ugly was that? Without question it was the Kelowna Rockets worst effort of the season. No other game even comes close. No secondary shots. No hitting. No urgency. Call it Friday the 13th flatness. The Rockets were outworked in every facet of the game in a 5-1 loss last night to the Kamloops Blazers. The hungrier team won. The Blazers snapped an 18 game winless streak against the Rockets dating back to the 2012-2013 season. It also marked the first time in nine games that the Blazers could take away two points from its BC Division rivals.
  • The opening period was fairly evenly played with both goaltenders turning aside several quality chances. The best save Connor Ingram made in the Blazers net was off Rodney Southam less than a minute into the game. The rookie goalie flared his left pad out to make a stop on Southam, who was fed a wonderful pass from line-mate Leon Draisaitl. Ingram’s most timely save may have come late in the second period when he used his blocker to deny Cole Linaker. While Linaker didn’t appear to get all he wanted on the puck, the rookie didn’t give up on the play resulting in a quality stop. Honestly, I thought the Rockets were fortunate to be down only 2-1 after 40 minutes after barely breaking a sweat in the second period. They had only two shots on net in the first 17 minutes of that period up until that power play goal was scored. They had nothing going on in the offensive zone.
  • I mentioned hitting; did one Rocket forward make a hit? Chance Braid did, but it was for interference in the second period.  
  • The best Rockets forward was Nick Merkley. No points but it looked like he cared. The 17 year-old and Joe Gatenby were the only players not to register a minus in the +/- category. Tate Coughlin and Jordan Borstmayer could be included in that group, but both forwards saw limited ice time. 
  • The Brandon Wheat Kings moved into sole possession of first place in the WHL standings with a win over Saskatoon and a Rockets loss. Four games remaining for both teams. Three of the Wheat Kings final four games are on the road, with two of the four against the Moose Jaw Warriors.
  • The Rockets have given up 11 goals in their last two games.
  • The Rockets have lost back to back games in regulation time for the first time this season. 
  • Gage Quinney scored the lone Rockets goal, a power play marker late in the second period. That was the only time the visitors were overly hungry in front of the Blazers net. Quinney returned to the line up after being hurt last Friday in Vancouver against the Giants. Leon Draisaitl picked up an assist extending his point streak to 13 games.  
  • A frustrating night without question, specifically for Captain Madison Bowey. The 19 year-old needs to be one of the best players on the ice. Instead he took his frustration out by whacking his stick against the end boards after a non-call when he was checked awkwardly into them late in the third period.     
  • Sure, the Rockets were playing without Rourke Chartier, Justin Kirkland, Josh Morrissey and Tyrell Goulbourne, but on this night it can’t be used as an excuse. Not enough energy was expended by the 18 skaters on the ice. Fatigue didn’t play a factor in this one. Did complacency? If the Rockets work hard and still lose you can accept it. Friday’s effort makes you believe that their is lots of gas in the tank for the rematch tonight at Prospera Place.  
  • If these two teams meet in the opening round, it won't be the cake walk everyone expected.  

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