Sunday, March 18, 2018

Rockets provide ‘giant’ effort to conclude regular season.

Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • The Kelowna Rockets wanted to end off strong. Mission accomplished. In the teams final regular season game of the 2017-2018 season, two goals and two assists from Dillon Dube and Leif Mattson lifted the Rockets to a 8-1 dismantling of the Vancouver Giants. Dube seemed to have chemistry with new line-mates Leif Mattson and Liam Kindree, with the trio combining for 10 points in the lopsided affair. Dube's usual partner, Carsen Twarynski, was given the evening off so Mattson and Kindree took full advantage. Dube, when on his game is arguable one of the best talents in major junior hockey, collected his 100th career WHL goal while Mattson scored twice, including a real nice shorthanded effort in the teams 43rd win of the season. Kindree, who seems to have his mojo back, collected two assists before a solid crowd of 57 hundred people. Kole Lind, Gordie Ballhorm and Libor Zabranky added singles as the team finished the season riding a five game winning streak.
  • Kole Lind collected a goal and an assist to give him 95 points. Leading the team in scoring for a second consecutive season, the 19 year-old is the first player to accomplish that feat since Myles Bell repeated as team scoring champion in 2013 and again in 2014. Lind ended the season with 26 multiple point games.
  • Cal Foote came close to tying a team record. With one assist, the 19 year-old team captain ended the season with 69 points, only three shy of Tyson Barrie's 72 point season which remains a franchise record. Foote also had 19 goals, which was two shy of the team record of 21 set by Madison  Bowey.
  • The Rockets 43 win total was the lowest number of wins the team has recorded in the last six seasons. The most wins is 57 set in the 2013-2014 campaign when the team went 57-11-0-0 under head coach Ryan Huska.
  • Congratulations to Gordie Ballhorn and Libor Zabransky for playing in all 72 games this season.  
  • The 93 points the team recorded was the 11th most in franchise history. The team record is 118 points in the 2013-2014 campaign. The Rockets have had 6 - 100 or more point seasons.
  • Dube was the first player to reach 100 goals in a career since Tyson Baillie and Rourke Chartier hit the mark during the 2015-2016 season.
  • Saturday night's game took only 2 hours and 9 minutes to play. It was the quickest game of the season. High five to referee's Mike Langin and Nick Swaine for calling a great game. Neither official was noticeable, which allowed for the game to flow nicely over 60 minutes. Only three minor penalties were issued. Fans bitch and complain about the officiating. I frankly don't get it. I have seen 72 games this season and I might have not liked the officiating in two of them.   
  • With Carsen Twarynski a health scratch, the 20 year-old ends his WHL regular season career with a team high 45 goals. It is the most goals since Rourke Chartier scored 48 times in 2014-2015. The last overager, outside of Twarynski, to score 40 or more goals was Tyson Baillie (43) in 2015-2016 and Geordie Wudrick ( 43) in 2010-2011.
  • The Rockets had 211 games lost to injury this season, the fourth most in the WHL. Seattle had the most while Swift Current had the fewest man games lost to injury.  
  • The Rockets scored 8 times last night, giving them a total of 280 goal season  this season. That was just three shy of the 283 they scored one season ago when gun slinger Reid Gardiner was acquired at the Western Hockey League trade deadline.
  • The Rockets scored 17 shorthanded goals this season, which was 5 better than the season prior. The Rockets record for shorthanded goals is 19 set in the 2002-2003 campaign.
  • The playoffs begin Thursday night with the Rockets facing the Tri City Americans in the opening round. These two teams met in the 2015 playoffs, with the Rockets advancing in four straight. This season the Rockets were 2-1-1-0 in four games with two of the four games decided in overtime. Carsen Twarynski was the scoring leader against the Americans with 4+2=6 in the four games. 

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