Saturday, October 31, 2015

Perimeter play translates into no points

Tyson Baillie 

  • The Kelowna Rockets weren't willing to go to the dirty areas and it translated into defeat. Playing primarily a perimeter game, the Rockets were unwilling to fight for secondary chances on goal in a 2-1 loss Friday night to the visiting Prince George Cougars. Despite having a 10-2 advantage in shots after the first period, the Rockets found themselves trailing 1-0 after surrendering their fourth shorthanded goal of the season. Jesse Gabrielle, the WHL Player of the Week, found himself all alone on a breakaway and made a nice backhand move to beat goaltender Jackson Whistle. It appeared as the game went along the Cougars got progressively better and the home team got progressively worse.  Head Coach Brad Ralph added on our post game show that the game was lost in the third period. He was right. Down by just a goal with 11 minutes to play, the Rockets didn't play with the same desperation as a Cougars team that has spent a week on the road. 
  • The disappointing aspect of the game was the older player's inability to lead the charge in a one goal game. Only Cole Linaker and Rodney Southam were willing to get inside to battle for secondary chances. Linaker's power play goal had him standing three feet in front of the Cougars net and Southam was seen late in the game attempting to chip the puck over the left pad of Prince George goaltender Ty Edmonds in an effort to score the equalizing goal. How many shots were registered from outside the face-off dots? Many. The majority of the shots from Tyson Baillie and Justin Kirkland, arguably two of the team's top four shooters (Dube and Chartier would be the others) were from long range.  
  • The game started with a bang with back-to-back fights 28 seconds apart.  Cougars defenceman Josh Anderson fought European Tomas Soustal in a lopsided tilt. Let me state, Soustal shouldn't be fighting someone like Anderson. Anderson is experienced and Soustal is not. Choose your battles wisely. Instead Soustal found himself eating Anderson's fist, being knocked to the ice and possibly hitting his head. Soustal never returned to the game. Riley Stadel than fought Colby McAuley in a spirited tilt between two middle weights. Stadel must have hurt his hand because he too never returned.
  • The game winning goal was scored on an ill-advised pass from defenceman Lucas Johansen to d-partner Cal Foote. The puck was intercepted at the Rockets blue line where Aaron Boyd chipped it to line-mate Brogan O'Brien, who skated in on a breakaway and beat Whistle with a similar move used by Gabrielle on the opening goal of the game. 
  • The Rockets close out a four game home stand against the surging Lethbridge Hurricanes. No longer a weak sister in the Western Hockey League, the Rockets need to bring a solid game to the arena tonight or they will find themselves with back-to-back losses for the first time this season. 

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