Saturday, December 5, 2015

Taming the Tigers

Rodney Southam takes down Tigers forward Cole Sanford
  • Max Gerlach's missed chance on a first period power play proved lethal last night for the visiting Medicine Hat Tigers. With the struggling Tigers carrying the play for the first 13 minutes, Gerlach was involved in a pretty three way passing play. The puck was on his stick with a wide open net staring him in the face. Instead of firing it in with easy, Gerlach's shot hit the post and it stayed out. Eventually the Kelowna Rockets came alive, receiving two goals from Cole Linaker in a 5-2 win. While the Rockets extended their home ice winning streak to seven games, the Tigers dropped their eighth straight on opposition ice. Had Gerlach scored, how would the complexion of the game changed and ultimately the end result? That was a tough miss for a team that has only seven wins this season.
  • The Rockets appeared to get better as the game went along and also received solid goaltending from Michael Herringer. Herringer fought the puck in warm up and looked as sleepy as his team in the early going before making several strong saves. Herringer's glove hand, specifically, was terrific on several occasions. The 19 year-old would end the night with a 34 save performance and third star in the building.
  • Cole Linaker had two goals, giving him 11 on the season. Not bad for a defensive forward who had a career high 14 goals in 2014-2015. Linaker should be able to score no less than 20 goals this season, which would be impressive for a player who had 27 career goals coming into the season.  
  • Lucas Johansen was seen joining the attack several times over the course of the game and was rewarded with a goal when he was left unattended in the slot to make the score 5-0. Cal Foote also scored, giving the Rockets some much needed goal production from the d-core. 
  • Does 17 year-old David Quenneville not have one of the best shots in the league? Quenneville's slap shot is heavy and his wrister is equally good. The only thing holding him back is his 5'8 frame. 
  • Cole Sanford, a 50 goal man from last season, had little time to make an impact. The 20 year-old received a 10 minute misconduct in the second period and didn't return for the third period because of an injury. Sanford has to miss Trevor Cox as his line-mate in Medicine Hat. Those two were a scary combination that Tigers head coach Shaun Clouston used without hesitation. Cox was traded to Vancouver after apparently asking for a trade.
  • Tyson Baillie just keeps scoring. The 20 year-old is riding a nine game point streak with 5+11=16 over that period. The longest point streak in the WHL is 11 games set by Swift Current's Jon Martin. Leon Draisaitl had the longest Rockets point streak last season (13) followed by Nick Merkley (12).   
  • The Rockets have won 7 straight games on home ice. During that stretch, the team has only given up three or more goals once (5-3 win vs. Lethbridge). The team has also scored four or more goals in six of the last seven games.
  • Up next is a home game against the Portland Winterhawks tonight on 'Teddy Bear Toss' night. It is the final home game before Christmas as the team heads out on a seven game road trip which includes a six game 'roady' prior to sipping on egg nog. 

No comments: