Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Road rash

  • Thankfully, the Kelowna Rockets don't have many 13 hours bus trips to deal with over the course of the Western Hockey League regular season. They have just one. That said, one can only appreciate what the Prince George Cougars go through every time they leave the warm confines of the CN Centre. What stares them in the face is a return trip home. The Rockets completed its longest continuous bus ride through the night following a 4-2 loss in Portland Sunday. The team bused all the way up to the furthest northerly outpost in the WHL. Thirteen hours later, with no snow to deal with, the team arrived early Monday morning in the city of 74 thousand. With two night's to recover, the team will do its best to snap a two game losing streak when they face the Cougars Wednesday night. While it is only 20 games into the season, points are valuable for a Rockets team that continues to evolve under new head coach Adam Foote. Foote wants his team to play a certain way. The 47 year-old knows for the team to have significant success they need to play to their strengths, and not a single day goes by where teaching isn't an integral  part as Foote's puts his stamp on this team. 
  • Coming off a 4-2 loss to Portland Sunday, it is hard not to see positives in the teams 12th loss of the season. Despite being scored upon first, which has been a common theme this season, the visitors showed remarkable resilience by getting numerous scoring chances including a clear cut breakaway from Liam Kindree (denied) and Leif Mattson with a partial breakaway later in the game (denied). Mark Liwiski and Kyle Crosbie scored against a Winterhawks team that has shown they are one of the quickest in the Western Conference. 
  • The Rockets penalty killing unit had a real good weekend against the best power play in the WHL. The PK went 10 for 10 against a Winterhawks five man unit that can move the puck around with authority. The passing is often mesmerizing, specifically when Cody Glass and Joachim Blichfeld are on the ice. It is fun, yet scary to watch. I often find Portland's power play so skilled, they overpass and complicate things. Just shoot it!  
  • Again, Sunday's loss was a far better effort from the night previous where the Rockets surrendered 50 shots on net and hardly touched the puck. I am sure the Winterhawks also took the Rockets significantly lighter after beating them the night before 3-0. Again, Sunday's loss should be a building block heading into the remainder of this trip. 
  • The teams record after 20 games this season is 8-12-0-0. After 20 games last season it was 11-6-2-1.
  • How can gas prices be 125.9 cents a litre up here in Prince George, yet significantly higher in Kelowna?
  • It is hard to imagine it is November 13th in Prince George with little to no snow. When we arrived, only snow was evident on the grassy areas and on the outlying hills and trees. The streets are completely void of snow. It is spectacular with temperatures above the freezing mark for the remainder of the week. I expect significantly colder temps when we return for two games in January (Jan 11th and 12th).   

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