Saturday, October 7, 2017

Uphill climb was well worth it

Kole Lind - Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • Kole Lind scored a big goal last season in overtime against the visiting Regina Pats. The goal he scored against the Prince George Cougars last night was one better. Why? As sweet as it was for the Rockets to upset the highly touted Pats a season ago, in my opinion, the way Lind and the Rockets rallied at the CN Centre was impressive. Lind scored the tying goal with 3:33 left in regulation time before potting the game winner with his team leading 6th goal on a two-on-one with Dillon Dube. Thanks to 16 year-old defenceman Kaedan Korczak's ability to win a puck at his own blue line, Dube skated up ice with speed and delivered a perfect pass to an awaiting Lind who made no mistake. The victory snapped the Rockets winless streak at two and snapped the Cougars modest two game winning streak.
  • Justice was served in Friday's come-from-behind win. The Rockets had sustained pressure inside the Cougars zone in an effort to score the equalizer. Kyle Topping missed a glorious chance on a backdoor feed that grazed off the goal post. Despite that miss, you could sense the away team was going to turn the tables with a late goal. Sure enough, Lind scored the tying goal when Kaedan Korczak's shot from the right point hit a Cougar defender and ricocheted right onto Lind's stick at the left face-off circle. Lind quickly fired it on net and it was a 6-6 tie.
  • It may have been Carsen Twarynski's best game in a Rockets uniform. The 20  year-old played a power game and was a physical force. If he can play the way he did Friday night, a pro contract is clearly in reach. Twarynski's battle level was high and it resulted in two assists. He could have had a goal had he not missed wide on a breakaway. The converted forward may have made his best play of the game when he broke up a 2-on-1 in overtime with a sliding play that didn't even result in a shot on goal.
  • Let's remember that the Rockets trailed in this game 3-1. Three times they fought back from a two goal deficit before eventually tying the score before the Cougars again took a 6-5 lead halfway through the third period. It was an up hill climb all night long despite scoring the opening goal for a fifth straight game. 
  • Erik Gardiner, playing on a line with Carsen Twarynski and Dillon Dube, had 2+1=3 and earned his first career two goal game of his career. Gardiner's second period shorthanded goal was large considering, had the Cougars scored on that power play, being down 4-1 would have been a tough mountain to climb. 
  • Colum McGauley scored his first career WHL goal and it was a beauty. Acquired in the Tanner Wishnowski deal last season with the Spokane Chiefs, the 17 year-old fired a shot to the far post that beat Cougars goaltender Tavin Grant. While that made the score 4-3, it was short lived, with the Cougars scoring again 40 seconds later. Regardless, it was nice to see a rookie produce a goal on the road.
  • The Rockets lost 20 year-old d-man James Hilsendager when he was accessed a 5 minute charging penalty for a hit at centre ice on Cougars forward Kody McDonald. With Hilsendager kicked out of the game, second year d-man Konrad Belcourt and rookie Kaedan Korczak had to step up. I thought both were above average with the increased role. 
  • I felt bad for rookie d-man Libor Zabransky when he attempted to break up a centering feed by shooting the puck into his own net. Cougars forward Kody McDonald quickly backhanded the puck in front with Zabransky's intention to shoot it out of harms way towards the end boards. Feeling discouraged over what had just happened, the good news is it didn't hurt the team and at the end of the night two points were secured.  
  • It was nice to see Marek Skvrne's father at the game. I also ran into Liam Kindree's mother, Darby Melville, who was kind enough to give me a lift to the hotel after the game. 

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