Saturday, December 31, 2016

BC Division battle

Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • After two emotional wins earlier this week against the first place Prince George Cougars, you would think the Victoria Royals were in the perfect position Friday night for an emotional letdown. Unfortunately for the Kelowna Rockets and the 59 hundred patrons at Prospera Place, that didn't happen. The Royals dominated the opening period and were clearly the more physical team in a 2-1 win. The Royals set the tone earlier, physically, that if the Rockets wanted to win the game they would have to pay the price by getting to what the coaches call 'the dirty areas'. As a collective group, that didn't happen. The loss enabled the Royals to move within four points of the Rockets and Blazers for second place in the BC Division, while the first place Cougars have an 8 point cushion for first place after beating the Everett Silvertips 4-3.
  • While Royals goaltender Griffin Outhouse was solid and was named the second star, the 18 year-old had a relatively easy night. The Rockets had no where near the quality looks they had Wednesday in a 5-1 loss in Kamloops. The power play, despite scoring the lone goal, had a rough night. It looked fractured all night and it didn't look scary, even when the home team was awarded a second period 5 on 3. It was a rough night for the top six forwards, with no one player really standing out. The same could be said for the Royals top forwards, who were just OK in the one goal win.  
  • The Rockets five game home ice winning streak was snapped last night. The loss was the teams 7th at Prospera Place. Last season the team was defeated 6 times in front of the home town crowd.
  • Royals Head Coach Dave Lowry says his team is trying to fly under the radar in the BC Division. "I hope everybody keeps talking about it being a three horse race for first place (Prince George/Kelowna/Kamloops). We are going to go quietly about our business". 
  • The Rockets are now 2-2-0-0 in the seasonal series against the Royals heading into back-to-back games on the Island January 11th and 13th.
  • The Rockets have lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since October 4th and 15th when they lost 4-2 to Saskatoon and then 5-1 to the Swift Current Broncos.
  • In the three games after the Christmas break, the team has scored only five goals. Of those five goals, four have been on the power play. 
  • The Rockets host Spokane Wednesday night before playing four consecutive games against BC Division based teams. The Rockets have a home and home series next weekend against Kamloops before back-to-back against the Royals.  
  • Earlier in the day it was learned that 19 year-old forward Calvin Thurkauf had signed a three year entry level deal with the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets.

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