Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pretty in Pink

Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • Carsen Twarynski was a question mark heading into Friday's home game against the Portland Winterhawks. Like many of his teammates, the 20 year-old felt ill heading into the weekend with flu like symptoms. Gutting it out Friday night in a 3-1 loss to the Portland Winterhawks,  the overage forward scored three times Saturday night leading the Kelowna Rockets to a 7-2 win. It was Twarynski's second career three goal game, but his first since being acquired at last years trade deadline from the Calgary Hitmen. Flu like symptoms or not, Twarynski's quick release on the power play early in the third period took away any possible momentum in the Winterhawks comeback bid. While the Rockets winless streak ended at five games, Portland lost for only the second time this season and had a seven game winning streak come to an abrupt end. 
  • The goal of the year for the Rockets has to be a three way passing play that saw Twarynski score his second goal of the game midway through the second period. Leif Mattson, at the left face-off circle, quickly passed the puck to the right dot where Eric Gardiner sent a pretty tape-to-tape pass towards Twarynski, who was situated at the side of the net. Gardiner, who always puts on a shot blocking clinic on the penalty kill, chipped in with three assists.  
  • While Twarynski had the hat-trick, leading scorer Kole Lind recorded a four point night. It was Lind's first goal in six games. The three assists gives him 99 on his career.
  • Nolan Foote also found the back of the net for his first goal in five games. Coming off a 19 goal season as rookie, the yet to turn 17 year-old is off to what many consider a slow start. The good news the younger Foote is shooting the puck more with a season high five shots on goal.
  • Leif Mattson really impressed me on the weekend. Returning to the lineup after missing 9 games with an upper body injury, Mattson didn't miss a beat. I thought he had good energy, made smart decisions with the puck and was rewarded Saturday night with power play time. The second year forward ended up with 1+1=2 in the 7-2 victory. The Rockets are much better with Mattson in the line up. 
  • Another solid outing from rookie goaltender James Porter. Making his third straight start, the 17 year-old made several solid stops despite fighting the puck early in the game. Once he settled down, Porter was at his best when he made what appeared to be a goal line glove stop on Winterhawks forward Cody Glass. Glass had nothing but net as he fired it on goal only to see Porter's glove get in the way. After video review it was eventually ruled a goal, so does that take it out of the running for one of the top saves of the week? Apparently so, but I sure like Porter's never give up attitude in the Kelowna Rockets crease.  
  • The Rockets did two things much better Saturday night. While the coaches will say they got more pucks on net, which they did, I thought the real difference was the fore-check. It was the best I've witnessed from this group this season. Portland often struggled getting the puck out of their own zone and more board battles were won than lost by the home team. I thought the Rockets owned the puck more and did significantly less chasing of it than they did Friday night. 
  • A scary situation when defenceman James Hilsendager was spun around in front of the net and was struck with a puck. The 20 year-old must have had the wind knocked out of him as he grimmest in pain on the ice after the puck hit him square in the back. Hilsendager also had a scary incident on Friday when a point shot struck him high in the chest, yet he didn't miss a shift.
  • Gordie Ballhorn earned three assists for his first three point game of his career. Noted as a defensive defenceman, the 20 year old has the second most shots on goal from any Rockets defender, trailing only captain Cal Foote.   
  • It is hard to believe but the win Saturday night was only the Rockets second on home ice this season. It is the first victory since the opening weekend when they beat the Kamloops Blazers 6-2. 
  • The Rockets completed a stretch of 6 games in 9 nights. Many teams go through it, but it sure is nice to see that in the teams rear-view mirror. Up next is a home game against the Tri City Americans this Friday before a date with the Prince George Cougars Saturday night. 

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