Sunday, January 29, 2017

January blues

Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • The Kelowna Rockets picked a bad time to lose their first game of the season when leading after two periods. The Portland Winterhawks stormed back from a 4-1 deficit and scored the game winning goal with 3.8 seconds left in regulation time in a 5-4 comeback win. The Rockets were leading 4-3 after two period and were 19-0-1-0 when in that position. The game winning goal was a tough pill to swallow. Captain Rodney Southam lost a puck battle inside his own zone to Hawks forward Skyler McKenzie. The 5'8 forward sent the puck back to the bluer line where defenceman Brendan De Jong fired a shot towards the net that was tipped by teammate Joachim Blichfeld. The goal came after the Hawks killed off a two minute minor penalty to Blichfeld when he took a holding penalty with less than 4 minutes left in the third period. The Hawks have won three straight while the Rockets have lost back-to-back games.
  • The setback was the Rockets 4th in 6 games (1-4-1-0) and saw them fall to fourth place in the BC Division, two points back of third place Victoria and five points back of second place Kamloops. The Rockets are now in a wildcard spot which would mean a first round playoff series with the Everett Silvertips if the playoffs were to begin today.  
  • The Rockets end the month of January with a pedestrian 4-5-2-0 record. 
  • The Rockets have now lost 9 games on home ice this season. It is the most home losses dating back to the 2011-2012 campaign when the team lost 18 times at Prospera Place. Last season the team lost 6 times, while the year before they lost 8 games in front of the home town crowd. 
  • 11 of the last 15 games have been decided by a single goal.
  • The Rockets took 19 penalties in the two games on the weekend and surrendered 3 goals on 15 penalty killing opportunities. 
  • Nick Merkley was named the first star in Friday's 3-2 loss to Kamloops with a two assist effort and was the first star again in Saturday's 5-4 loss. Merkley played hard Saturday with Arizona Coyotes development coach Steve Sullivan watching closely in the stands.
  • The Rockets were 3-1-0-0 against the Winterhawks in the seasonal series after winning all four games between the two teams in 2015-2016.
  • Calvin Thurkauf will play his 100th game of his career Wednesday against visiting Calgary Hitmen.
  • Reid Gardiner had a goal in Saturday's loss and led the team with 8 shots on goal. 
  • The Rockets played Saturday's game without Carsen Twarynski, Cal Foote and Kole Lind. Twarynski is sick while Lind and Foote were traveling to Quebec City for Monday's CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.   

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