|Jadon Joseph - Shoot the Breeze Photography|
- Thankfully, Tuesday night's home game against the Edmonton Oil Kings wasn't Teddy Bear Toss Night. That would have been unfortunate. The good news is the promotion is planned for Saturday evening against the visiting Prince George Cougars. Last night at Prospera Place, the Rockets were held off the score sheet in a 1-0 shootout loss. This game was almost played to perfection by the home team, who didn't want to get into a track meet by exchanging scoring chances with an Oil Kings squad that likes to free wheel. Despite being out-shot 8-1 at one point in the first period, the best player on the ice, goaltender Roman Basran, stood tall and allowed his team to escape with a single point.
- Scoring chances by either team were few and far between. That was good news for the Rockets, who are playing without Pavel Novak and Kyle Topping, two top 6 forwards, so a more structured defensive game is the best bet in earning a win. You have to play to your strengths right now, so the coaches deserve much credit for getting the players to buy-in to a more responsible style of play where puck management and shot blocking by the entire five man unit is key in keeping within striking distance of the top teams in the WHL standings. Heck the Rockets are 4 points out of first place in the Western Conference standings. Not bad. Not bad at all.
- While 60 minutes didn't decide anything, the overtime session, which is typically entertaining, was like watching paint dry. Three on three hockey produced little in the way of scoring chances as both teams looked more interested in settling things in the shootout. As my colour analyst Kent Simpson put it, "The shootout resembled a game of keep away".
- Jadon Joseph made his Rockets debut last night and didn't disappoint. The likable 20 year-old, who hasn't even practiced with his new team after being acquired from Moose Jaw on Sunday, showed some good offensive instincts in a game where execution in the offensive zone by either team was below average. Joseph did create and showed tremendous speed, specifically late in the third period. I like him. He will only get better, trust me.
- The Rockets did earn a point last night, so the gap between the first place Blazers is only down to one. Impressive considering, again, that the team is without two key forwards and they lost 19 year-old Liam Kindree to a second period upper body injury.
- Up next is a home date with the Prince George Cougars Saturday night at Prospera Place. Bring your Teddy!!!!