|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
- It feels like a common theme this season. The Kelowna Rockets have had a win literally taken out of their hands by surrendering a late third period goal. It happened again Saturday night in Kamloops when Orrin Centazzo's penalty shot goal with 1:20 left in regulation time, lifted the Blazers to 4-3 home ice win. The loss came on the heels of a 2-1 shootout loss the night prior to the Prince George Cougars. The Rockets now sit in third place in the BC Division, three points behind second place Victoria and five points up on fourth place Kamloops.
- The Rockets are no strangers to surrendering untimely goals late in games. Back on November 14th, Prince George scored the tying goal with 17 seconds left in regulation time and ended up earning a 4-3 overtime victory. On November 24th, in Everett, the Tips scored the game winner with :54 seconds left and handed the Rockets a 2-1 road loss. On December 28th, Zane Franklin scored the tying goal with 1:06 left on the clock and then won the game in overtime in a 3-2 victory. Then we point to Saturday's 4-3 loss when the Blazers score the winner with 1:20 left in the third period. That's four examples in the last 6 weeks where the team has had points taken off the board in their battle with Victoria for second place in the BC Division.
- Saturday's loss in Kamloops was the 5th consecutive game where the outcome was decided by a single goal. Heart attack hockey has been common place with a team that has a lack of scoring depth. The line of Leif Mattson, Nolan Foote and Kyle Topping combined for 6 points in Saturday's loss. All three players collected a goal and an assist. Sadly, secondary scoring is scarce. It was nice to see Connor Bruggen-Cate, a 18 goal man from last season, snap a 23 game goal scoring drought Friday night in a one goal loss to the Cougars.
- The Rockets have 100 goals after 39 games this season. It took this seasons team 13 more games to reach the 100 goal mark than a season ago. Last season, the Rockets hit the 100 goal mark as a team in their 26th game.
- Four of the top 6 lowest scoring teams in the WHL reside in the BC Division. Prince George has scored the fewest while the Kelowna Rockets have registered the third fewest goals scored. Victoria is 5th while Kamloops has the sixth fewest goals scored
- Lassi Thomson was all smiles after Saturday's 4-3 road loss. Why? How could he not feel good knowing that Finland, his home country, won the gold medal with an upset win at the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships in Vancouver. Look for the 18 year-old draft eligible Thomson to be a member of Finland when they defend their title in 2020 when the tournament is held in the Czech Republic.
- The task for the Rockets gets anything but easy as we look ahead at the schedule. The next opponent is the first place Everett Silvertips on Wednesday. It features a team that has lost only 8 times this season. The defending Western Conference champion Tips are only 7 points back of Prince Albert for first place in the WHL standings. The Raiders provide the opposition January 19th. Wins will get harder, not easier to come by as the team opens a stretch of playing 10 games in 21 days starting Wednesday against Everett.
- Don't forget this Thursday is the WHL trade deadline. Will the Rockets add to its current roster before 1 pm local time? My guess is they will add to make this years team better for a possible longer push in this years playoffs. I anticipate the Rockets being extremely active at next years trade deadline as they build towards hosting the 2020 Memorial Cup.