|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
- Are the Everett Silvertips the best fore-checking team in the Western Hockey League? You likely won't get an argument from the Kelowna Rockets. The Tips used relentless pressure from its forwards in the offensive zone in a 2-1 overtime victory Wednesday night at Prospera Place. Dawson Leedahl scored the game winning goal 2:27 into overtime, snapping the Rockets nine game home ice winning streak. The Tips fore-check pressure didn't come occasionally, it was a constant. What was encouraging is the young Rockets d-core adapted to the pressure and faired remarkably well. Dealing with the pressure resulted in the forwards having to make a total commitment to defense and it likely wore the depleted home team down as the game went along.
- With six regulars out of the line, or essentially two of your top lines unable to contribute, the Tips wore down the home team by out-shooting them 20-6 in the third period. Goaltender Jackson Whistle, named the first star, made 20 saves in the third period to send the game into overtime. The fact that the Rockets were playing short staffed against a determined Tips team makes you think that one point in the O.T loss was a pretty good consolation prize.
- The Rockets had a chance to bury the Tips early but manufactured little in the way of scoring chances in three consecutive power plays. A third power play chance, awarded early in the second period, didn't even register a shot on goal when Tips d-man Noah Juulsen was fingered to the penalty box on a debatable interference infraction.
- Few scoring chances in the first period led to a two goal outburst 25 seconds apart in the second. Dillon Dube scored his 15th goal of the season with a nice wrist shot past Tips goaltender Carter Hart before the visitors tied the game a short time later when Graham Millar, the pride of Penticton, found the back of the net and the two teams were back on even terms.
- Should we be surprised these two teams settled things in overtime. In four meetings last season, two of the games were decided in overtime.
- Justin Kirkland was serving game two of a three game suspension while Riley Stadel was serving a one game suspension for a hit Monday against the Kamloops Blazers.
- The Tips are now 4 and 0 in overtime. The Rockets are 1 and 2 in the extra period.
- The Rockets end off the 2015 calender year with a record of 51-16-5-0.
- These two teams meet again in Everett on Friday to ring in the New Year.