Thursday, December 3, 2015

Taking the Ice to the woodshed

Chartier shows no rust, (Shoot the Breeze Photography)
  • Twitch....twitch. You will have to excuse Kootenay Ice goaltender Wyatt Hoflin for involuntary muscle twitching after facing 59 shots in the Kelowna Rockets dominating 4-1 win Wednesday night at Prospera Place. Thankfully for the Ice, Hoflin was on his game because the team in front of him was off in a lopsided affair featuring the top team in the WHL against the bottom dwelling Ice. Hoflin made several three alarm saves as the Rockets top shooters burned Kootenay's porous defense. Rourke Chartier, making his return to the line up after missing 19 games with an upper body injury, scored three times in a win that flattered the road team. Without a high level effort from Hoflin this could have been a double digit embarrassment. Chartier walked away with the first star while Hoflin received an even louder ovation when he came out of the dressing room to pick up third star honours. 
  • Chartier didn't look rusty in the least bit. The 19 year-old showed no ill effects when he backhanded a pass to an awaiting Nick Merkley, who was seen cutting towards the goal two minutes into the game. Hoflin slid across to make a nice pad save to avoid the inevitable. Chartier, who hadn't played since October 6th in Medicine Hat after blocking a shot, showed off his quick one-timer when he ripped two shots past Holfin's glove hand side. It was Chartier's second career three goal game after pulling off a similar performance last season against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Despite scoring the second most goals in the WHL, it was the first-three goal game by a Rockets player this season.
  • Chartier played on a line with Nick Merkley and Calvin Thurkauf. It only made sense to play Chartier with Merkley after the magic they created last season. Thurkauf was added to that line with the premise being the three will leave the team when they open a Saskatchewan road trip next Wednesday as the trio attempt to play for their respective countries at the World Junior Hockey Championships. Merkley and Chartier are trying out for Team Canada while Thurkauf will play for Switzerland.  
  • The 59 shots on goal was a season high. The Rockets previous high was 42 shots taken against the Edmonton Oil Kings in a 5-3 win in October.
  • Jackson Whistle's shutout bid ended late in the second period when Ice forward Max Patterson took a shot on right wing on a two-on-one. The puck was stopped by Whistle, but it went off defenceman Cal Foote and into the back of the net. Despite that unfortunate bounce, Whistle earned his 15th win of the season and moved one win shy of Kelly Guard for second place all time on the franchises wins list for goalies. Whistle has 82 career wins in a Rockets uniform. Whistle's first WHL victory came as a member of the Vancouver Giants in 2012 in a shootout victory against the Prince George Cougars.

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