Sunday, January 22, 2017

More emotion=solid home ice win

Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • A night after laying an egg against the Vancouver Giants, the Kelowna Rockets came to compete on home ice Saturday night in a 4-1 win over the Portland Winterhawks. Looking disinterested in a 5-4 loss against the Giants, the Rockets played with more passion 24 hours later, as a group, in the teams 27th win of the season. Kole Lind scored twice and added two assists in the win, hitting the 100 point mark in his WHL career. Tomas Soustal and Braydyn Chizen also scored for a Rockets team that moved two points up on Victoria for third place in the BC Division. The Rockets now get set for a second place showdown with the Kamloops Blazers this Friday night.  
  • Without a goal in 10 games, Kole Lind wasn't due. He was overdue. The first goal he scored was the type one needs to get 'bump the slump'.  A solid forecheck at the side of the net had the puck go off Lind and somehow found its way behind Portland goalender Cole Kehler. It was ugly, greasy and lucky, yet it likely took the weight of the world off his shoulders.
  • James Hilsendager initiated a solid hit early in the game which was a good indication that the team was playing with passion. I often find the d-core hesitant in standing up on the opposition at the blue-line, but they did a much better job of initiating contact when a Winterhawks player approached the attacking zone.  
  • Michael Herringer made two solid stops on breakaway chances. Those saves at key times in the game were difference makers. That is the type of goaltending the team needs. Key saves when the game is tight, will more times than not, make a difference between a win and a loss.
  • The Rockets again played this game with Reid Gardiner, Dillon Dube and Nolan Foote,  Two of the three should be back in the line-up next weekend against visiting Kamloops and Portland.
  • Rookie Jack Cowell is turning into a good player. The soft spoken forward has points in 4 of his last 5 games and is gaining confidence by the minute, Cowell collected one assist but likely could have had a goal when he was set up wonderfully in the slot but was unable to pull the trigger as it appeared his stick failed him as he attempted to deliver the puck towards the net.
  • Fourth liner Leif Mattson also had a tremendous chance to score in the second period but appeared to hit the outside of the net. I think the fourth line has done some really good things with limited ice time. You have to remember, Mattson is being used sparingly, playing just 4:17 last night. Despite the lack of ice, he is trying to contribute anyway he can.   
  • The Rockets are now 9-1-1-0 against US based teams this season. The only loss was Monday in a 5-4 setback in Everett.

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