Monday, October 31, 2016

Salmond sets table for road win

Brodan Salmond - Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • Brodan Salmond did all he could in an effort in help his team win for a 6th consecutive time Sunday in Portland. The sophomore goaltender allowed his team to find its footing before finding their game in the third period in a 3-2 road win. Salmond was especially good in the opening 40 minutes when his team looked flat and struggled to generate offense. But with Salmond keeping the game close, the Rockets erupted for two-third period goals from Nick Merkley and Tomas Soustal in the one goal win. Salmond wasn't named a game star but Rockets assistant coach Kris Mallette knew who to credit on the AM 1150 post game show. "We were fortunate to be in it after the 40 for sure. Credit to Brodan tonight. He is bar none the reason why we won the game. He stood on his head. He kept us in it and we were fortunate enough to wake up in the third period and play the game the right way". 
  • After an emotional 5-3 win Saturday night, the Rockets looked flat before coming alive in the third period. The good news? Despite how poorly they played through 40 minutes, they only trailed by a goal thanks to Rodney Southam's shorthanded marker to keep the score 2-1. The Rockets were 1 and 7 when trailing after two periods while the Winterhawks were a perfect 5-0-0-0. Those numbers were turned upside down Sunday. The Rockets end up winning for only the second time in 9 games when trailing with the Winterhawks lost for the first time in 6 games when carrying the lead.
  • Nick Merkley has come alive. The 19 year-old looked like the 16/17 year-old forward that plays with exceptional determination to get the puck back when it isn't on his stick. The assist he earned on Southam's shorthanded goal is a good example. The Arizona Coyotes prospect stripped Winterhawks d-man Keoni Texeira of the puck behind the net and sent it into the slot where Southam made a nice move to opening the scoring for the road team. Merkley then fired home a one timer on the power play in the third period to tie the score at 2. Merkley is back to fine form after a slow start to the season.
  • I sure like what I saw from head coach Jason Smith in two timeouts called in the third period. On both occasions he gathered his team around the bench and was barking out signals. What was said, who knows? I just liked the visual of him looking intense and wanting to win as much as the players. I like passionate leadership and I see it in spades from the first year head coach,
  • Again, the Rockets played this game with one skater under the limit. Dillon Dube, Nolan Foote, Riley Stadel and Gordie Ballhorn were all absent from the line-up yet the team was able to earn back-to-back wins. It was a gutsy effort both night's for a Rockets team that is starting to get into a groove.
  • The Rockets conclude the month of October with 8 wins in their final 11 games. The month started with a 3-0 loss in Prince George, but from there is was full speed ahead. I would think the team would have liked the home ice loss to Saskatoon back if they had the option, but those games tend to even themselves out over the course of the season. 
  • The Rockets welcome the Kamloops Blazers to open the month of November. Both teams have followed similar paths with slow starts followed by nice stretches of winning hockey. For the first time this season the Rockets will see MVP Connor Ingram in goal after the 19 year-old missed the first two games of the seasonal series after attending the NHL training camp of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ingram will play for Team WHL at the Canada-Russian series and is considered a good bet to play for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships. 

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