|Kyle Topping - Shoot the Breeze Photo|
- The good news for the Kelowna Rockets last night is they received secondary scoring. Ethan Ernst, Sean Comrie and Pavel Novak found the back of the net in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Victoria Royals. The bad news is the Rockets top end players, frankly, were below average in the one goal loss. Nolan Foote was extremely quiet. So quiet that he didn't even have a shot on goal including missing high and wide in the shootout. Kyle Topping had a hard time generate offense and Leif Mattson also struggled in that department. Frankly, no one seemed to be in sync after a six day layoff. Whether it was the extended time between games or just lackadaisical play, the Rockets can't be happy with the effort. As poorly as they played, shockingly they were able to earn a point.
- My main concern heading into Tuesday's game was the Rockets start. I had the sneaky suspicious that the team would be slow out of the gates and that is exactly what happened. The Rockets managed little in the way of scoring chances and were out-shot 13-3 in the opening period. Much of the action was found in front of Roman Basran, who had to be sharp to keep it close.
- Whatever was said in the first intermission seemed to have an impact on the Rockets overall play. They came out with more urgency and began to dictate the play. It was nice to see Ethan Ernst find the back of the net for the first time this season. The 17 year-old made the right choice on an odd man rush by shooting rather than passing the puck. It was Ernst's second career goal. His first came, oddly enough, in Victoria back on October 20th of last season.
- For the first time this season the Rockets failed to win a game despite leading after 40 minutes. The team was a perfect 6-0-0-0 up until last night, where the Royals struck for two-third period goals in a span of 1:14 seconds to tie the game. Again it was one of those night's where the harder the Rockets tried, the worse it got.
- The Royals weren't without their own warts. On two separate occasions, a player was sent in the clear for a breakaway and lost control of the puck. It was nothing short of weird as in an effort to stick handle, the puck carrier lost control and no shot was taken.
- Another bright spot was rookie d-man Elias Carmichael earning his first career point; an assist on Sean Comrie's second period blast from the point.
- One of the biggest surprises for me last night was the small crowd in Victoria. I have never seen that few fans take in a game at Save On Foods Memorial Centre. Just 3 thousand, 213 attended the BC Division showdown. Was the World Series a factor? Hockey in late October when interest isn't that high? Did the awesome weather play a factor? I mid-week game also isn't helpful.
- By earning a single point, the Rockets are now within two of idle Kamloops for first place in the BC Division. The Rockets will make up the one game they hold on the Blazers tonight in the rematch with the Royals, who will be playing their fourth game in 6 nights.