Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Rockets can't stop Warriors rally

Wil Kushniryk - Shoot the Breeze
  • Through 40 minutes, you couldn’t have written a better script for the Kelowna Rockets. Leading 3-1 over the top team in the Western Hockey League, the Warriors erupted for five-third period goals in a 6-3 win. Carsen Twarynski with his 21st, Wil Kushniryk with his first career goal and Kyle Topping with his 11th scored for the Rockets, who dropped to 1 and 2 on this Eastern Division road swing. The Rockets face Swift Current Wednesday night against another team that boasts an abundance of skill. 
  • Twarynski had at least two golden chances to score before finding the back of the net with his career high 21st of the season. While having much to play for in an effort to sign an NHL contract, the Philadelphia Flyers have to be impressed by what they’ve witnessed from their 3rd round pick.
  • The Rockets needed some secondary scoring with three key players out of the line up and they received it from rookie Wil Kushniryk. His shot on goal glanced off a Warriors defender and went past goaltender Brody Wilms, and at that point, it looked like an upset in the making. Kyle Topping’s 11th goal less than 30 seconds later and the Warriors were in a heap of trouble. But good teams know how to win, and the league leaders did exactly that by essentially staying the course and slowing chopping away at the two goal deficit.
  • The turning point for me was the 3-2 goal when Warriors leading scorer Jayden Walbgewachs found the back of the net for his 33rd goal of the season. It was that goal five minutes into the third period that got the ball rolling in the comeback. The Rockets had an early third period power play chance to increase the lead to 4-1 but were unable to generate much in the way of chances.
  • Rookie goaltender Roman Basran was named the third star in the loss. The 16 year-old was sharp in the first period and was even better in the second frame, including a mammoth save on Tristin Langan when the score was 1-1. But like his team, Basran was unable to come through with the same type of heroics in the third. 
  • The Warriors 26 win season is no fluke. They are a good team and have solid depth up front and move the puck well on the back end. As skilled as they are, I thought they often over-passed the puck to create chances. One wonders what type of numbers they would put up if they shot more rather than distributing the puck.
  • Tuesday nights game was the first time this season that the Rockets carried a lead into the third period and lost in regulation time. The Rockets were 14-0-0-1 when carrying the lead into the final period.
  • The Rockets discipline was good enough to win the game. They allowed the second best power play unit at home in the WHL just two chances and were successful on killing off both of them.
  • As mentioned, the Rockets now get set for tonight’s game against the Swift Current Broncos. While Dillon Dube, Kole Lind and Cal Foote are lost to the Rockets, WHL leading goal scorer Tyler Steenbergen is lost to the Broncos. Like Moose Jaw, the Broncos are lethal offensively so the visitors will need solid goaltending again and a strong commitment to defending.
  • Mosaic Place amazed me again as I walked into the building two hours before puck drop.  The facility is so impressive considering what type of building they used to play in. The ‘Crushed Can’ had its own charm, but the new venue is liking going from a Pinto to a Ferrari. It’s one of the sweetest buildings in the WHL, with its broadcast location and amenities being among the best in the Eastern Conference.   

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