Monday, January 18, 2016

Herringer has last laugh

Photo courtesy of Kevin Light
  • Michael Herringer had to have cracked a smile when the buzzer sounded in the Kelowna Rockets 2-1 overtime victory over the Victoria Royals Saturday night. That smile likely became even wider when he took the post game on-ice skate as he was introduced as the first star after a 36 save performance. Not only did the 19 year-old goaltender help his team win its 30th game of the season, but the soft spoken netminder beat his old team. Herringer was selected by the Royals in the 9th round of the 2011 WHL bantam draft. After a short stint with them, Herringer was traded from the Royals to the Saskatoon Blades, who then put him on waivers and the Rockets quickly placed him on their 50 man protected list. The victory concluded two games on the Island where Herringer and the Rockets dropped the opening game 4-3. Entering the weekend seven points up on the Royals for first place in the Western Conference, that number has been reduced to six.
  • Justin Kirkland scored the game winner in overtime. Kirkland's innocent wrist shot apparently went off a Royals defenceman's stick before going past goaltender Griffen Outhouse. It was Kirkland's 15th goal of the season and 4th in seven games. The overtime win also snapped a two game losing streak in the three-on-three session after home ice overtime losses to the Everett Silvertips. Both of the Rockets overtime wins this season have been on the road.
  • The Rockets were much sharper in the opening period Saturday night than what they were a night earlier. Despite being scored upon 8 minutes into the game, the visitors were the better team by creating good scoring chances before Dillon Dube netted his 19th goal of the season, allowing the Rockets to head into the first period dressing room in a 1-1 tie.
  • Despite that solid start, the Royals had several quality chances over the final 40 minutes, do impart to more undisciplined play. After taking only one penalty in the first period, the Rockets had to kill off seven more chances shorthanded including three in the third. Thanks to Herringer, the Rockets were able to send the game into overtime. Over the weekend, the penalty killing unit had to kill off 14 power play chances for the Royals and managed to kill all but one of them. In 5 of the last 6 games, the Rockets have taken 5 or more penalties resulting in opposition power plays. In four of those six games, the opponent has had the luxury of six power play chances which is flirting with dangerous.  
  • The seasonal series is now 3-3-0-0 against the Royals. Only Victoria and Everett have beaten the Rockets three times this season.
  • The Rockets again played this game without leading scorer Tyson Baillie. The Royals welcomed defenceman Chaz Reddekop after missing Friday's game with a suspension.

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