Saturday, October 31, 2009

Daylight savings time disappointment

  • Daylight savings time takes affect Saturday at midnight allowing BC resident the chance to obtain an extra hour of sleep. On Friday night it looked like the Kelowna Rockets needed the extra shut-eye in a 4-3 loss to the Spokane Chiefs. The Rockets got exactly what they deserved in this one. For the first time this season the team was flat for the majority of the game, and had it not been for goaltender Adam Brown, the score could have been much worse than just a one goal loss.
  • The Rockets came out with no drive, no emotion in the opening period. They were unwilling to clear pucks with authority, initiate body contact or win battles to loose pucks. Spokane forward Mitch Wahl had three glorious chances in the first period to open up the scoring but was denied by the best player on the ice for the Rockets - Adam Brown.
  • Kyle Beach had another strong game against the Rockets. The 19 year-old scored twice and added an assist and played a smart game. Rockets forward Curt Gogol attempted to engage Beach into a third period fight on a Spokane power play, which Beach thought about, and then smartly skated away.
  • I am not sure what type of teammate Kyle Beach is, but you can't argue with his production on the ice. He has too much skill not to be a threat and only compliments what the Chiefs already have. With the return of overage d-man Jared Spurgeon, that Chief power play will be deadly.
  • Spokane's better players were indeed better than the Rockets top end players on this night. Despite Mitch Wahl's struggles to score, he was solid in his own zone and was great on the penalty kill. The same can't be said for Rockets leading scorer Stepan Novotny, who was benched by the coaching staff for his uninspired play. While I am singling out Novotny, Lucas Bloodoff was equally as ineffective. If the older players aren't willing to work, what message does that send the younger players?
  • While I was disappointed with the work ethic Friday night, it likely marks the first time this season the team didn't come out and truly compete. Overall through 16 games the Rockets can't be faulted for sluggish play. But if this team buys into the theory that they can put in a half-hearted effort and win, they are sadly mistaken.
  • Tyson Barrie had two goals in the game, giving him 9 points in four games since returning from a knee injury in the third game of the season against Kamloops.
  • Rookie Shane McColgan is now tied with Stepan Novotny for the team lead in points with 21. McColgan had two assists and was a +3. McColgan has registered a point in all but three games this season.
  • Brandon McMillan returned to the Rockets lineup after missing 6 games with a broken bone in his foot. McMillan was held off the score-sheet for the first time this season. While he was able to contribute, he was obviously not 100%. You could tell he just didn't have that breakaway speed that he is known for.
  • Rookie MacKenzie Johnston earned his first WHL point, an assist in the third period.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Working ethic thrown out the window

More later.
Spokane 4 Rockets 3.

Game notes vs. Chiefs

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Chiefs are meeting for the first of just four times this season (2 at home – 2 on the road). After tonight’s game these two teams face one another November 15th in Spokane before tangling again March 3rd and 9th. These two teams met four times last season with the Rockets winning all four games. The Chiefs managed just two goals in the four games and were out-scored 10-2. The Rockets are playing the second of four straight games on home ice. After tonight’s game the Rockets host Prince George Wednesday and Chilliwack Friday night. Following the home stand, the Rockets play 14 of their next 19 games on the road. The Rockets enter tonight’s game with two wins in their last three games, beating Vancouver and Calgary over that period.

Life’s a Beach: The return of the Spokane Chiefs means the return of Kelowna resident Kyle Beach. Beach was acquired by the Chiefs from the Lethbridge Hurricanes after being sent back to junior by the NHL’s Chicago Black Hawks. Is it any surprise that Beach has a penalty in all but one game this season. More importantly the 19 year-old forward has points in 6 of the 9 games he’s played this season. Here’s the most impressive stat. Beach has played 9 career games against the Rockets and has 7 goals and 7 assists.

Representing the ‘Dub’: Two members of the Rockets will play for the WHL when a touring Russian team makes a stop in Victoria and Kelowna next month as part of the Subway Super Series. Brandon McMillan will be joined by teammate Tyson Barrie. McMillan will play in the game in Kelowna on November 26th while Barrie will play in both games. Ryan Huska is an assistant coach for both games along with Giants bench boss Don Hay.

Winning Ways: The Kelowna Rockets have been fortunate to be on the winning end when facing the Chiefs at Prospera Place over the years. The Rockets are 12-2-0-1 in the last 15 games against Spokane on home ice. Those two losses came in 2007-08 when the Chiefs won in Kelowna by scores of 4-3 and 5-2. In five of those 15 games, the Rockets have shutout the Chiefs.

Last Game Recap? Stepan Novotny scored two power play goals in the first period in a 4-1 win Wednesday night over Calgary. Cody Chikie and Brett Bulmer also scored for the Rockets, who were 2 for 8 on the power play. Adam Brown was named the games first star making 35 saves. The Hitmen were 0 for 4 on the power play.

Extra Man Mayhem: The Rockets have scored twenty-one power play goals (21/69=30.4%) in their last twelve games. The Rockets have scored a power play goal in thirteen of the fifteen games this season. They failed to score a power play goal against Kamloops September 25th and Tri City October 23rd. The Rockets own the 4th best power play in the league.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Brandon McMillan has points in all eight games he’s played this season, but is sidelined day-to-day with a cracked bone in his foot. McMillan has 4+11=15 this season. Stepan Novotny has points in 11 of the 15 games this season. Shane McColgan had his ten game point streak snapped Sunday in Vancouver. McColgan had (6+11=17) over that period. Kyle St. Denis has fifteen points in his last eleven games (8+7=15). Lucas Bloodoff has goals in five of his last ten games.

Game Day Tidbits: Twenty year-old forward Lucas Bloodoff was named the Rockets captain on Wednesday. Bloodoff takes over the captaincy from Colin Long, who is playing in the AHL this season…The Buffalo Sabres announced Wednesday that Tyler Myers will spend the remainder of the season in the NHL. It marks the 9th former Rockets d-man now playing in the NHL. The others are Kyle Cumiskey, Alex Edler,Scott Hannan, Sheldon Souray, Shea Weber, Luke Schenn, Josh Gorges and Duncan Keith.….Rockets 16 year-old Shane McColgan is leading the league in rookie scoring in the WHL (6+13=19)….Veteran defenseman Tyson Barrie returned to the lineup last Friday after missing 8 straight games after being injured September 25th in Kamloops…The Rockets are 8-6-1-0 after fifteen games this season. Last year the Rockets were 9-6-0-0 after fifteen games…The Rockets have scored 59 goals in fifteen games this season after scoring 59 times in the teams first fifteen games one season ago…The Rockets have allowed 52 goals against this season after surrendering 47 goals after fifteen games last year…Ryan Huska has 93 regular season victories as the Rockets head coach.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Rockets named to Super Series roster

Two members of the Kelowna Rockets have been named to the roster when the Western Hockey League faces Team Russia in the 2009 Subway Super Series.
Brandon McMillan will be joined by teammate Tyson Barrie for games in Victoria and Kelowna next month.
Barrie will play in both while McMillan will participate in the one game hosted by Kelowna on November 26th.
Kelowna resident Curtis Hamilton, the son of Kelowna Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton, will also represent the WHL in the game being played on the 26th.
Rockets head coach Ryan Huska is a member of the WHL coaching staff for BC leg of the Subway Super Series.

Knocking off #1

  • In a game full of emotion and teetering on dirty with the game out of reach, the Kelowna Rockets managed a 4-1 win Wednesday night over the #1 ranked Calgary Hitmen. The game featured four fighting majors including Rockets defenseman Curt Gogol dancing with Hitmen forward Ian Schultz just 2 and a half minutes into the first period.
  • How chippy was the game? Offensive defenseman Tyson Barrie is involved in a fight with Hitmen forward Cody Beach after a high hit late in the third period on teammate Shane McColgan.
  • The two teams combined for 105 penalty minutes. It was old time hockey.
  • The game had all sorts of emotion, possibly a carry over from last seasons WHL final. These two teams hate one another, which is refreshing considering the Hitmen are from outside the Western Conference. It's amazing what a hard fought playoff series, even if it was six months ago, will do for a rivalry.
  • Adam Brown was the story for the Rockets. Brown made 35 saves in the win, his best game of the season. Brown's best save was on a penalty shot off of Hitmen forward Joel Broda when the game was scoreless. Following that save the Rockets would score just moments later to take a 1-0 lead.
  • Stepan Novotny scored two power goals, both in the first period. It was nice to see Novotny score against a solid team. If he wants to be considered an elite player he needs to produce against the top end teams, not the bottom feeders.
  • A nice touch that Hitmen coach Mike Williamson started forwards Cody Sylvester and Cody Beach. Both are Kelowna residents.
  • Brandon Kozun was the best Hitmen. Kozun has tremendous speed and was a threat to score on every shift.
  • Lucas Bloodoff was named the Rockets captain before the game and promptly chipped in with two assists.
  • As for the officiating...do I even go there? Not good.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Game notes vs. Hitmen

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Hitmen are meeting for the first time since last years Western Hockey League final. It was a playoff series that the Rockets won in six games. These two teams met twice during the regular season in 2008/09, with both games in Calgary. The Rockets were 1-1-0-0 after a 4-3 loss and a 2-1 victory. The Hitmen are making their first regular season appearance in Kelowna since October 10/07 when the Rockets earned a 5-0 victory. Tonight’s game is the start of a four game home stand. The Rockets host the Hitmen tonight before games against Spokane, Prince George and Chilliwack. Following the home stand, the Rockets play 14 of their next 19 games on the road. The Rockets enter tonight’s game with four losses in their last five games after winning six straight.

WHL Championship Recap: The Rockets and Hitmen are meeting for the first time since last years WHL final. The Rockets won the first three games before dropping games four and five by scores of 6-2 and 6-1. In game six, the Rockets earned a 3-2 overtime win to clinch the series. If you look at game six alone, seven Kelowna Rockets players from that game will participate in tonight’s contest. That excludes Lucas Bloodoff, Evan Bloodoff, Mark Guggenberger and Brandon McMillan, who are all sidelined with injuries and won’t play tonight. If you include them on that list, the Rockets have eleven players returning from the championship series.

Young and Restless: The Rockets have the youngest defensive core in the BC Division with an average age of 17.29. Chilliwack is next at 17.88 followed by Prince George and Vancouver with an average age of 18. The Kamloops Blazers have the oldest defensive core in the division at 18.13. If you are wondering, Tri City has an average age of 18.38 on the blue line. The Rockets are the only team in the BC Division without a defenseman either 19 or 20 years-old.

Last Game Recap? Tyson Barrie scored once and added two assists in a losing cause as the Rockets fell 5-4 to the Vancouver Giants Sunday night. Spencer Main, Kyle St. Denis and Cody Chikie also scored for the Rockets, who were 2 for 6 on the power play. The Rockets were out-shot 36-30. Goaltender Chad Ketting made 31 saves in the loss.

Extra Man Mayhem: The Rockets have scored nineteen power play goals (19/61=31.1%) in their last eleven games. The Rockets have scored a power play goal in twelve of the fourteen games this season. They failed to score a power play goal against Kamloops September 25th and Tri City October 23rd. The Rockets own the 4th best power play in the league.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Brandon McMillan has points in all eight games he’s played this season, but is sidelined 2 weeks with a cracked bone in his foot. McMillan has 4+11=15 this season. Stepan Novotny has points in 10 of the 14 games this season. Shane McColgan had his ten game point streak snapped Sunday in Vancouver. McColgan had (6+11=17) over that period. Mitchell Callahan has points in seven of his last eleven games (3+6=9). Kyle St. Denis has fifteen points in his last ten games (8+7=15). Lucas Bloodoff has goals in five of his last nine games.

Game Day Tidbits: Rockets 16 year-old Shane McColgan is leading the league in rookie scoring in the WHL (6+12=18)….Veteran defenseman Tyson Barrie returned to the lineup Friday after missing 8 straight games after being injured September 25th in Kamloops…The Rockets are 7-6-1-0 after fourteen games this season. Last year the Rockets were 8-6-0-0 after fourteen games…The Rockets have scored 55 goals in fourteen games this season after scoring 53 times in the teams first fourteen games one season ago…The Rockets have allowed 51 goals against this season after surrendering 47 goals after fourteen games last year…Ryan Huska has 92 regular season victories as the Rockets head coach …Huska has been named an assistant coach for two games of the Subway Super Series next month in BC. Huska will be behind the bench when Team Canada faces Russia in games November 25 (Victoria), and November 26th (Kelowna)…Tyler Myers plays his 9th NHL game tonight as the Buffalo Sabres face New Jersey. The Sabres will make an announcement after that game whether Myers will remain with the team for the remainder of the season or be sent back to the Kelowna Rockets. Myers has 2+3=5 in eight games this season with the Sabres and scored the shoot-out game winning goal against Tampa Bay Friday night.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Things that make me go hmm...

  • Is it any coincidence that the Kelowna Rockets have not made Tyler Myers number available to any of the veterans or rookies. I guess the Rockets too are hoping their is an outside chance that Myers will return. His sweater #3 remains unclaimed.
  • Who was the last player to wear #3 in Kelowna? The answer - Alex Edler. Isn't it interesting that both Edler and Myers are now playing in the NHL. If I am one of the existing d-men on the Rockets roster this season I am lobbying with athletic therapist Jeff Thorburn to change my number. Maybe sweater #3 has some mystical powers? Darren Deschamps may disagree. Or maybe not? Deschamps was part of several WHL and Memorial Cup championship teams wearing that number.

  • If the Sabres do keep Myers this season you would think the Rockets will name their captain shortly. The obvious choice appears to be overage forward Lucas Bloodoff.

  • I found it interesting that the Toronto Maple Leafs last season were allowing Luke Schenn to accumulate huge minutes in an effort to give him every chance to make the team. This season, with the team struggling to an even greater degree than a year ago. Schenn played just over 10 minutes the other night, the lowest total of any Leafs defenseman. I don't blame Schenn, but it is interesting that Leafs head coach Ron Wilson is now pulling back the reins after allowing him to make mistakes, and learn from them, one season ago.

  • Are you wondering why rookie Cody Chikie is scoring so many goals? Maybe it has to do with the fact he is wearing Jamie Benn's old #14?

  • Rookie Shane McColgan can push out his chest with pride knowing that his 10 game point streak, which ended Sunday against Vancouver, puts him with some select company. The longest point streak by a Kelowna Rockets forward last season was 10 games. Jamie Benn had 15 goals and 25 points over that period. Brady Leavold had a 13 gamer in 2007-2008 while Blake Comeau went 11 games with a point in 2005-06. Jesse Schultz had a 14 gamer in 2002-03.

  • Chuck Kobasew holds the team record for the longest point streak by a rookie. Kobasew went 14 games with a point in 2001-02.

  • The team record? Will it ever be touched? Brett McLean went 24 straight games with a point in 1996-97. McLean had 18+31=49 in those 24 games. The only other player that even comes remotely close is Carsen Germyn, who went 16 games with a point in 2000-01.

  • What's a sure sign that Rockets defenseman Curt Gogol is getting under the skin of the opposition? Just look at the video after Craig Cunningham scores in the 2nd period of Sunday's 5-4 Giants win. Cunningham is more caught up in yelling in the face of Gogol after scoring the tying goal than he is about celebrating with his teammates.

  • I received a nice e-mail the other day from Cody Almond. Life is going well for the 20 year-old. Almond is back on the ice after suffering a knee injury during Rockets training camp. Almond is playing this season in Houston Texas. With the way the Minnesota Wild are playing, Almond may get a shot at lacing up the skates in the NHL sooner than he thought.

Mock letter about Myers

I got a kick out of this 'mock' letter sent to Kelowna Rockets GM Bruce Hamiton. It can be found on a Buffalo Sabres fan website. ( http://sabrenoise.com/2009/10/24/tyler-myers-wins-game-in-shootout/)

Dear Bruce Hamilton,

I hope this letter finds you well. I wanted to send you a picture out of your past. It is your near past the picture is from, so you should still recognize the face.
Buffalo Sabres' Tyler Myers (57) scores the game-winning goal against Tampa Bay Lightning golaie Mike Smith during a shootout in their NHL hockey game Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. The Sabres beat the Lightning 3-2. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)
Can you see him? It’s your old MVP, Tyler Myers. I know it is nothing knew for you to see him score goals, there was a different reason for this letter.
I wanted to let you know that you shouldn’t expect to see Myers back in Kelowna this season, or ever really. Myers will be in town however, on January 25th when he will be playing the Canucks, you might want to get a few tickets to pass out to the rest of your roster to show them what hard word can do for you. I am not saying that you have a bad team, it just might help if Myers stopped by your locker room to give the guys the old try as hard as you can and you can be just like me speech.
If there is anything that we can do for you, please feel free to write or call, but as far as Myers is concerned, were going to keep him. We might be able to send you some beef on weck, or maybe even some really good chicken wings.
If you really need a player to fill a roster spot, I hear Andrew Peters is still without a contract.

Sincerely,

The City of Buffalo

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blown icing call breaks Rockets back

  • A missed icing call broke the Kelowna Rockets back Sunday night. The linesman errored in thinking that Giants forward Lance Bouma had touched the puck on a lead pass from teammate Ryan Funk. Instead of the play being whistled down with a face-off inside the Giants zone, Bouma tracks down the puck deep in the Rockets end and is denied on a wrap around chance by goaltender Chad Ketting. Giants forward Brendan Gallagher jams at the puck in a goal mouth scramble and scores, giving the Giants a 5-4 lead. The goal proved to be the game winner.
  • Again another weak start for the Rockets, who trailed 2-0 after one period. But despite the sluggish start the Rockets responded with a solid second period, scoring four times and taking a 4-3 lead into the final frame.
  • Goaltender Chad Ketting made his WHL debut Sunday against the Giants and played well. The 18 year-old, acquired from the Swift Current Broncos, must have been feeling the nerves playing in Vancouver, a stone throw away from his home in Sechelt. Admittedly he did not look sharp on J.T Barnett's 3rd period goal when the Giants forward took a sharp angle shot from the end red line that found it's way through Ketting to tie the game at four. Despite the loss in his debut, I can only see an upside to the personable goaltender.
  • Tyson Barrie had an impressive night on defense. Barrie had a 3 point night (1+2=3), with his lone goal coming from a laser beam from the blue line that beat Giants goaltender Jamie Tucker high to the blocker side.
  • The Rockets again went with 17 skaters and two goaltenders. Veterans Lucas Bloodoff and Brandon McMillan were again out of the lineup with injuries. To add insult to injury, forward Codey Ito was hurt in a first period hit from Todd Kennedy and did not return.
  • Both Kyle St. Denis and Cody Chikie made good on breakaway chances in Sunday's game. Chikie's goal was his 5th of the season as he used breakaway speed to get away from two Giants defenders.
  • I thought it was interesting that after the game the song 'Rocketman' by Elton John was played over the p.a system at Pacific Coliseum as the two teams skated off the ice.
  • Despite the Canucks playing host to the Edmonton Oilers at GM Place on the same night, a good crowd of 62 hundred took in Sunday's WHL tilt.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Question the Rockets character no more

  • Mitchell Callahan will grab all the headlines for scoring the game winning goal against the Vancouver Giants, but it was soft spoken forward/defenseman Antoine Corbin that deserves much of the credit for Saturday's 4-3 overtime win. Corbin initiated two big hits in the second period to ignite his team and then scored his first WHL goal on a power play when his slap shot beat Giants rookie goaltender Brendan Jensen.
  • Rockets head coach Ryan Huska went so far as to say Corbin has the best slap shot he has ever witnessed at the junior level. Huska called Corbin's slap shot "heavy".
  • The Giants were full marks for a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes by simply winning one-on-one battles and scoring all three goals by owning the space in front of the Rockets net. I wonder if they bought into the theory, much like the 61 hundred in attendance, that the game was over after the opening period?
  • Cody Chikie was named the games first star for his goal and assist. Chikie showed good determination and hustle along with rookie Codey Ito. Ito even showed some guts by attempting to drop the gloves with a much larger Todd Kennedy in what appeared to be a first period scrap. The two were assessed four minute minors for roughing.
  • Giants head coach Don Hay threw 16 year-olds Zach Hodder and David Musil onto the ice in several crucial situations to which the Rockets followed suit with 16 year-old d-man MacKenzie Johnston, who was on the ice for a series of penalty killing assignments.
  • Despite giving up three goals in the opening period, none of which were his fault, goaltender Adam Brown was especially sharp when the game was tied at three by making some solid saves. I don't think Brown has been a real difference maker in his first 12 starts, but he was Saturday night. Let me be clear in stating that I think Brown has been good, but not great.
  • Was it a first Saturday night. Two California goaltenders facing one another? Adam Brown vs. Brendan Jensen. Brown is from Yorba Linda while Jensen is from El Granada California.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Injury bug won't go away


Twenty year-old forward Lucas Bloodoff won't play tonight. Bloodoff is out with a knee injury. That's the bad news. The good news? Tyson Barrie is back in after missing 8 games with a knee injury.

Rockets game notes vs. Americans

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Americans are meeting for the 3rd time this season. The Rockets are 0-2-0-0, having been out-scored 10-3. Following tonight’s game these two teams meet December 5th in Kelowna to conclude the seasonal series. The Rockets enter tonight’s game having lost seven straight regular season games at the Toyota Center. The last time the Rockets earned two points in this building was February 25/06 in a 4-3 win. Three members of the Rockets who participated in that game are now in the NHL. Alex Edler (Canucks), Luke Schenn (Leafs) and Blake Comeau (Islanders) dressed in that game.
The Rockets enter tonight’s game with two losses in their last eight games. Overall the team has lost two straight. Following tonight’s game the Rockets host the Vancouver Giants tomorrow night before visiting the Giants in Vancouver on Sunday (5 pm).

Season Series Breakdown: The Americans have out-shot the Rockets 58-53 in the first two games. The Rockets are 3/10 (30%) on the power play while the Americans are 3 for 7 (43%). The Rockets have not scored a first period goal in the seasonal series.
Period: 1 2 3 Total
Rockets: 0 2 1 3
Americans: 3 3 4 10

Taking Licks @ Toyota Center: The Rockets have lost 7 straight regular season games at the Toyota Centre, having been out-scored 34-7 over that period. In the big picture the Rockets have just one win in their last 12 visits (1-10-0-0 with one tie). The last time the Rockets earned two regular season wins in Kennewick was during the 2002-03 season when the team earned back-to-back 3-2 OT and 5-3 wins.

Young and Restless: The Rockets have the youngest defensive core in the BC Division with an average age of 17.29. Chilliwack is next at 17.88 followed by Prince George and Vancouver with an average age of 18. The Kamloops Blazers have the oldest defensive core in the division at 18.13. If you are wondering, Tri City has an average age of 18.38 on the blue line. The Rockets are the only team in the BC Division without a defenseman either 19 or 20 years-old.

Last Game Recap? Kyle St. Denis and Shane McColgan each had 1+2=3 in the Rockets 5-4 home ice loss Saturday night to the Everett Silvertips. The Rockets were 2/9 on the power play while giving up two power play goals. The Rockets out-shot the Tips 36-25. Adam Brown suffered the loss in goal.

Top Three Power Play: The Rockets have scored sixteen power play goals (16/45=36%) in their last eight games. The Rockets have scored a power play goal in ten of the eleven games this season. The Rockets were 0/8 in a 4-1 loss in Kamloops September 25th. The Rockets own the 3rd best power play in the league.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Brandon McMillan has points in all eight games he’s played this season, but is sidelined 2 weeks with a cracked bone in his foot. McMillan has 4+11=15 this season. Stepan Novotny has points in 9 of the 11 games this season. Shane McColgan is riding an eight game point streak (5+10=15). Mitchell Callahan has points in six of his last eight games (2+6=8). Kyle St. Denis has thirteen points in his last seven games (7+6=13). Lucas Bloodoff has goals in five of his last nine games.

Game Day Tidbits: The Rockets traded 18 year-old defenseman Aaron Borejko to the Red Deer Rebels Wednesday for a 4th round bantam pick….Rockets 16 year-old Shane McColgan is tied for the league lead in rookie scoring in the WHL (5+11=16)….Veteran defenseman Tyson Barrie has missed 8 straight games after being injured September 25th in Kamloops…Spencer Main already has more points (6) than he had in 61 games all of last season. Main had three points (1+2=3) as a rookie in 2008/09…Main has points in 4 of his last 6 games. Main has 2+4=6 over that period…The Rockets are 6-4-1-0 after eleven games this season. Last year the Rockets were 6-5-0-0 after eleven games…The Rockets have scored 46 goals in eleven games this season after scoring 40 times in the teams first eleven games one season ago…The Rockets have allowed 38 goals against this season after surrendering 38 goals after eleven games last year…Ryan Huska has 91 regular season victories as the Rockets head coach …Huska has been named an assistant coach for two games of the Subway Super Series next month in BC. Huska will be behind the bench when Team Canada faces Russia in games November 25 (Victoria), and November 26th (Kelowna).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bernie demoted

San Antonio Rampage General Manager Brad Treliving announced today that the Rampage have assigned center Justin Bernhardt to the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL).

Bernhardt, 21, appeared in three games with the Rampage this season and collected five penalty minutes on Oct. 16 at Houston for a charging major.


Bernhardt played 53 games for the Kelowna Rockets over two seasons from 2006-07/2007-08.

Brady boarding a plane to continue hockey career


This blog mentioned Tuesday that former Rockets forward Randall Gelech is headed overseas in an effort to play pro hockey. Now former Rocket Brady Leavold finds himself in a similar situation after failing a physical with the ECHL's Victoria Salmon Kings. In the cut throat hockey world Leavold finds himself headed over to Holland to continue his hockey career.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rockets trade

The Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League have traded defenceman Aaron Borejko to the Red Deer Rebels for a fourth round bantam draft pick in 2010.
An Edmonton native, Borejko, 18, played in 50 games last season with the Rockets and had played in all 11 games for the Rockets this season.
“We had an abundance of defencemen and we had the opportunity to pick up a significant draft pick in return,” said Rockets general manager Bruce Hamilton.
“Aaron is going to have a chance to play in Red Deer’s top four and we want to get some ice time for our younger defencemen.”
The move leaves the Rockets with seven defencemen including four rookies.
“We have some younger guys that are going to have to play more minutes to develop,” said Hamilton.

Huska behind WJT bench

Rockets head coach Ryan Huska will join Giants bench boss Don Hay as assistant coaches when the Western Hockey League plays host to two games featuring Canadian World Junior Team hopefuls against the Russian World Junior Team.
Games will be played in Victoria November 25th and in Kelowna November 26th.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Memorial Cup hero homeless

He scored arguably one of the biggest goals in franchise history at the 2004 Memorial Cup, but Randall Gelech is sitting idle in the Okanagan looking to join a team. Gelech was at Rockets practice Tuesday where I discussed his next move.

Barrie Back!

Defenseman Tyson Barrie was skating with the team during this afternoons late day practice. The 18 year-old has missed the last 8 games with lower body injury. Barrie was injured in the 3rd game of the season against the Kamloops Blazers. It would appear Barrie will be ready to play when the Rockets open a stretch of three games in three nights this weekend.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Things that make me go hmm...

  • What did Chilliwack Bruins head coach Marc Habscheid say to his troops after back-to-back losses to the Rockets in early October? Since those humbling losses the Bruins have a record of 2-0-1-2 in their last five games. Going undefeated would be impressive, but recording points in five straight games ain't bad!
  • Am I the only one outside of Portland happy to see the Winterhawks winning hockey games? This is a good team with a solid coach. It's amazing how stability off the ice translates into success on it.
  • How did the Hawks pull 17 year-old Nino Niederreiter out of Switzerland? Was this just blindly throwing a dart at a board or should the organization receive credit for making a well calculated find? My hope is the Hawks targeted this player and were right on the money. The CHL Euro Draft is such a crap shoot with many of the players coming over to North American falling well short of expectations.
  • Any player, no matter what age is considered a rookie in the WHL if he is in his first season of junior hockey. Chuck Kobasew was considered a rookie when he scored 41 goals for the Rockets as a 19 year-olds in 2001-2002. That said, its the 16 year-olds that put up big numbers in their first season of junior eligibility that should be considered for the rookie of the year honors at the end of the season. Red Deer's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kelowna's Shane McColgan are two sensational 16 year-old rookies worth watching. I would hate to see a phenomenal first year player being edged out by a 19 year-old rookie who decided to leave U-S college hockey to play major junior.
  • You won't find him among the top 20 point getters in the WHL, but pay attention to Swift Current Broncos forward Cody Eakin. Nine goals in 12 games is a strong start for a player who scored 24 goals last season. Eakin scores goals in bunches with 3-two goal games so far this season.
  • What's in the water in Moose Jaw? Four players are in the top 13 in league scoring. Wow. How about this fact. Since the start of the 2002-03 season the Warriors have had a player in the top ten in scoring at seasons end, excluding only the 2008-09 campaign. That's a top ten scorer in 6 of the last 7 seasons. Those players are David Bararuk, Kyle Brodziak, Kenndal McArdle, Tory Brouwer, Riley Holzapfel and Jordon Knackstedt.
  • Ian Duval is enjoying his first season of Canadian college hockey at the University of Manitoba. The former Rocket has 0+4=4 in 6 games with the Bisons, which is good for second in Canada-West rookie scoring.
  • Where is Tyler Spurgeon hanging his hat these days? Spurgeon was not offered a contract by the NHL's Edmonton Oilers this fall but has since landed in the ECHL with the Idaho Steelheads. Spurgeon, who captained the Rockets to a WHL title in 2005, has 1+4=5 in just three games, which is good for the team scoring lead. Spurgeon is playing with former Rockets forward Marty Flichel.
  • Where is Tysen Dowzak? The oldest player from last years Rockets championship team has just been set to the Central Hockey League's Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.
  • I may be a little biased here, but does Prospera Place have the best off-ice staff in the WHL? I think so. A pain of glass needed to be installed creating a stoppage in play Saturday night. How long did it take? Four minutes on the nose. Impressive.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tips trip up Rockets

  • How good are the Everett Silvertips? If Saturday night's 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Kelowna Rockets was any indication, this skilled team does not panic when the chips are down. It's the sign of a veteran hockey club. Despite trailing 4-2 with 13 minutes left in the second period the Silvertips managed to battle back with the final three goals of the game in the one goal victory.
  • The Rockets could have put the dagger in the Tips heart when Stepan Novotny was awarded a second period penalty shot with the home team leading 4-3. Novotny misses, sending the two teams to the dressing room separated by just a single goal. Missed opportunities from the Rockets side and capitalizing on chances given up by the home team essentially was the difference in this one.
  • The Rockets missed a golden opportunity when rookie Jessey Astles fired the puck towards an open net only to have Tips defenseman Alex Theriau make the save. The offensive chance was made possible after Tips goaltender Thomas Heemskerk miss played a puck in his own zone.
  • The momentum began to turn in the Tips favor after Cameron Abney's goal at the nine minute mark of the third period to tie the game at 4. After the goal was scored the Rockets played tight, almost sensing that the Tips were about to score. Score they did on a shot that deflected off of a Rockets defender and on the stick of Everett forward Kellan Tochkin. The power play goal gave the Tips their first lead of the game with just under 7 minutes left in regulation time.
  • He won't get much credit after the game, but Tips goaltender Thomas Heemskerk made some terrific saves to keep his team close. Without Heemskerks heroics, a third period rally wouldn't have been possible.
  • The game winning goal was scored when Rockets rookie defenseman Mitchell Chapman was fingered to the penalty box for elbowing. Questionable call to say the least, but you can't put the blame on the officials for the final outcome. The Rockets were given 9 power play chances, plus a penalty shot on a weak call where the one official believed Heemskerk threw his stick at a Rockets forward during a wrap around chance. The home team was given ample opportunities to put the game out of reach, yet they couldn't do it. The Rockets had about seven minutes to tie the game but couldn't find the back of the net.
  • Mitchell Chapman returned to the lineup after missing 7 games with an injury suffered in the third game of the season against Kamloops.
  • I am still confused over the new rules in regards to fighting. Rockets defenseman Curt Gogol gets into a punch-up with Everett forward Cameron Abney 3 seconds after the Tips score a power play goal to make it 3-2. Essentially it's off the face-off following the Tips goal. Is that not a pre-meditated fight or do Gogol and Abney get pissed off at each other even though neither were on the ice when the goal was scored? Both received 5 minute majors for fighting.
  • Rockets forward Shane McColgan is the real deal. The 16 year-old now leads the WHL in points by a rookie and appears to be getting better every game I see him play. His ability to skate, play make and get involved physically just makes you shake your head. He is one special player that will have more than just Rockets fans talking as the season moves along.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rockets game notes vs. Tips (Saturday)

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Tips are meeting for the first of just four times this season (2 at home and 2 on the road). These two teams will meet again November 13 in Everett before the Rockets make a return visit on December 2nd. The two teams conclude the seasonal series January 6th at Prospera Place. These two teams met four times last season with the Rockets recording a 3-1-0-0 record. The only loss came in an 8-6 setback in Everett October 17/08. The Rockets enter tonight’s game with one loss in their last seven games. The club’s season high six game winning streak came to an end Tuesday with a 4-2 loss to Tri City. During that stretch the Rockets had out-scored the opposition 33-13. Following tonight’s game the Rockets are in Tri City Friday, host Vancouver Saturday before visiting the Giants on Sunday. Tonight’s game is the conclusion of a three game home stand.

Tipping over the Tips: The Rockets have had no lack of success at home since the Everett Silvertips came into the league in 2003-2004. The Rockets are 8-4-0-0 in 12 regular season meetings at Prospera Place. The Tips last win in Kelowna was October 19/07 in a 4-3 win. Dan Gendur scored the game winning goal at the 2:58 mark of the third period.

What Happened Last Game? Kyle St. Denis scored twice in the Rockets 4-2 home ice loss to Tri City Tuesday night. Jarrett Toll had a goal and an assist in the win for the Americans, who were out-shot 32-23. The Rockets were 2/4 on the power play while the Am’s were 1/1. Adam Brown made his 10th straight start and suffered the loss in goal.

‘Power’ to the people: The Rockets have scored fourteen power play goals (14/36=39%) in their last seven games. The Rockets have scored a power play goal in nine of the ten games this season. The Rockets were 0/8 in a 4-1 loss in Kamloops September 25th.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Brandon McMillan has points in all eight games he’s played this season, but is sidelined 3 weeks with a cracked bone in his foot. McMillan has 4+11=15 this season. Stepan Novotny has points in 8 of the 10 games this season. Shane McColgan is riding a seven game point streak (4+8=12). Mitchell Callahan has points in five of his last seven games (2+5=7). Kyle St. Denis has ten points in his last six games (6+4=10). Lucas Bloodoff has goals in five of his last eight games.

Game Day Tidbits: Rockets 16 year-old Shane McColgan is second in rookie scoring in the WHL (4+9=13), just one point fewer that Red Deer’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins…Veteran defenseman Tyson Barrie has missed 7 straight games after being injured September 25th in Kamloops…Spencer Main already has more points (6) than he had in 61 games all of last season. Main had three points (1+2=3) as a rookie in 2008/09…Main has points in 4 of his last 5 games. Main has 2+4=6 over that period…The Rockets are 6-3-1-0 after ten games this season. Last year the Rockets were 5-5-0-0 after ten games…The Rockets have scored 42 goals in ten games this season after scoring 37 times in the teams first ten games one season ago…The Rockets have allowed 33 goals against this season after surrendering 37 goals after ten games last year…Ryan Huska has 91 regular season victories as the Rockets head coach …The Rockets have participated in 27 shootout games since the new format was implemented for the start of the 2005/06 season. The Rockets are 12 and 15…Former Rockets defenseman Tyler Myers scored his first NHL goal Friday night in the Buffalo Sabres 6-3 win over the New York Islanders. Myers was named the games 3rd star. Myers has 1+3=4 in five NHL games…The Rockets have scored the second most power play goals in the WHL (Tied for 2nd with 16 power play goals) only behind Vancouver’s league leading 18.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Going with two..

The Kelowna Rockets will play this season with just two - 20 year-olds, barring a trade of course. The Western Hockey League overage deadline came to an end Thursday with the Rockets failing to add an additional 20 year-old to their roster. A spot was made available when overage forward Colin Long managed to earn a pro contract and opened the season with the San Antonio Rampage. By my calculation the Rockets are one of just two teams in the WHL under the league limit. The other is the Kootenay Ice, who are also playing with two.

Talking with Jeff Truitt

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Winning ways fall by the wayside

  • The Tri City Americans are a team that capitalizes on mistakes. The Kelowna Rockets found that out first hand in a 4-2 loss Tuesday night at Prospera Place. Jarrett Toll scored once and added an assist as the Americans won for the 4th straight time while handing the Rockets their first loss in 7 games.
  • Kyle St. Denis scored both of the Rockets goals. Both came on the power play, as the Rockets went 2/4 with the man advantage. The Rockets took only one minor penalty, a hooking minor to Spencer Main in the second period. Despite the disciplined play, the Americans scored on that single power play when Sergei Drozd scored on a beautiful pass from Brooks Macek to make it 3-0.
  • The best goal of the game came when Americans forward Johnny Lazo used his great speed by beating two defenseman before making a forehand deke to beat goaltender Adam Brown. Lazo's goal made it 4-1 for the visitors.
  • The save of the game came when Americans goaltender Drew Owsley stacked his pads making a magnificent save off of Rockets forward Stepan Novotny. The save was made when the Americans were holding a 3-1 lead. You don't often see saves like that, but the desperation play was recognized by Prospera Place video screen when the letters came across saying "Great Save".
  • I've only seen Owsley twice, but from what I've witnessed he can carry the mail. I questioned the Americans goaltending at the start of the year, but not any more.
  • The game was perfectly called by Chris Savage and Derek Zalaski. This game was not over officiated, nor did it need to be. Both teams often skated away after whistles with both teams respective each others power play.
  • It was great running into so many familiar faces before puck drop. With the GM/Governor meetings taking place in Kelowna this week, it was nice to see Moose Jaw Warriors GM Jeff Truitt, Brandon's Kelly McCrimmon and Swift Current Broncos governor Ben Wiebe. I will post my interview with Truitt later today.
  • Collin Bowman's mom and dad took in Tuesday's game as did Adam Brown's dad Newell.
  • As I posted earlier, Brandon McMillan has a broken foot, but its a hairline fracture. That means McMillan is wearing a soft cast which has him out of the lineup for a maximum of 3 weeks.

McMillan breaks foot

Rockets forward Brandon McMillan won't play tonight after breaking his foot against Prince George Saturday night. McMillan will be out 2 to 3 weeks.

Rockets game notes vs. Americans

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Americans are meeting for the second time this season. These two teams met back on September 19th, with the Am’s recording a 6-1 win. Following tonight’s game these two teams hook up on October 23rd in Tri City. The seasonal series concludes December 5th at Prospera Place when the Americans make a visit. The Rockets enter tonight’s game having won six straight, having out-scored the opposition 33-13. During the streak the Rockets have averaged 5.5 goals per game. Following tonight’s game the Rockets entertaining the Everett Silvertips on Saturday. The Rockets are playing the second game of a three game home stand tonight.

Making Hay while the Sun Shines: The Kelowna Rockets will play 7 of their next 9 games on home ice. The only exception is a road game in Tri City next Friday and a road game in Vancouver on Sunday October 25th. Following seven of nine games on home ice, the Rockets will then play 14 of their next 19 games before Christmas on the road.

Looking Long Term: The Rockets are just 3-3-2-0 in their last eight regular season home games against the Americans dating back to the start of the 2005-2006 season. The Americans used to make three stops in Kelowna per season, but that all ended after the 2004-2005 campaign. That season the Rockets were 3-0-0-0 vs. the Am’s.

What Happened Last Game? Brandon McMillan scored twice leading the Rockets to a 7-1 win Saturday night over the Prince George Cougars. Shane McColgan, Lucas Bloodoff, Cody Chikie, Collin Bowman and Spencer Main also scored in the lopsided win. The Rockets were 2 for 4 on the power play with Adam Brown earning his 6th straight win in goal.

‘Power’ to the people: The Rockets have scored twelve power play goals (12/32=37.5%) in their last six games. The Rockets have scored a power play goal in eight of the nine games this season. The Rockets were 0/8 in a 4-1 loss in Kamloops September 25th.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Brandon McMillan has points in all eight games he’s played this season. McMillan has 4+11=15 this season. Stepan Novotny has points in 7 of the 9 games this season. Shane McColgan is riding a six game point streak (4+7=11). Mitchell Callahan has points in four of his last six games (2+4=6). Kyle St. Denis has eight points in his last five games (4+4=8). Lucas Bloodoff has goals in five of his last seven games.

Game Day Tidbits: The Americans are returning to Prospera Place for the first time since last years Western Conference Semi Final. The Rockets beat the Americans in all three home games in that series by scores of 7-2, 4-3 in overtime and 6-2. The Rockets would win that playoff series in six games…Rockets 16 year-old Shane McColgan is tied for the league lead in points for rookies…When calculating goals for and against, the Rockets have a +11 rating, tops in the league. The Rockets +11 is tied with Moose Jaw and Calgary…Veteran defenseman Tyson Barrie has missed 6 straight games after being injured September 25th in Kamloops…Spencer Main already has more points (5) than he had in 61 games all of last season. Main had three points (1+2=3) as a rookie in 2008/09…The Rockets completed a trade with the Swift Current Broncos last Friday. The Rockets picked up 18 year-old goaltender Chad Ketting for a conditional 7th round bantam pick…The Rockets are 6-2-1-0 after nine games this season. Last year the Rockets were 4-5-0-0 after nine games…The Rockets have scored 40 goals in nine games this season after scoring 29 times in the teams first nine games one season ago…The Rockets have allowed 29 goals against this season after surrendering 36 goals after nine games last year…Ryan Huska has 91 regular season victories…The Rockets have participated in 27 shootout games since the new format was implemented for the start of the 2005/06 season. The Rockets are 12 and 15.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Talking with Dean Clark

Gentleman let the meeting begin...

The Western Hockey League's heavy hitters converge on Kelowna for two days of league meetings Tuesday and Wednesday. It's the first time in forever that the October league meetings have been held outside of Calgary, the centre of the university for the WHL, considering the league offices are located there. GM's will gather Tuesday with league governors getting together on Wednesday. House cleaning issues are part of the equation as rosters had to finalized on October 10th, but low attendance across the league will likely be discussed. I'll speak to WHL Vice-President of Hockey Richard Doerksen Tuesday night on our broadcast and gather some of the issues that were debated among the 22 GM's.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rockets 'gobble up' another victory

  • The Kelowna Rockets celebrated the Thanksgiving long weekend by gobbling up a 7-1 win Saturday night over the Prince George Cougars. After the Cougars opened the scoring on a first period penalty shot, the Rockets would score the next seven goals.
  • The win was the Rockets 6th straight, just two wins shy of the teams impressive 8 game winning streak to end last years regular season.
  • If Brandon McMillan keeps playing like this he won't be around at Christmas. McMillan had a two goal night to pace the Rockets attack. He has Canadian world junior team written all over him if he continues to play like this.
  • What makes the win impressive is six different players were involved in the scoring. The scoring by committee is the only way this team will have success this season. No one man will win them a hockey game. I guess you can use the old adage 'strength in numbers'.
  • The Rockets again scored twice on the power play, but the key goal came in the second period even strength when Spencer Main made it 3-1. Just prior to Main's goal, the Rockets killed off a Cougars 5 on 3 power play. Had the Cougars scored, it would have been 2-2. Main's goal gave the home team a two goal cushion.
  • What was going on with referee Matt Kirk? Kirk was the only one calling penalties last night as official Ryan Thompson became a spectator. Kirk's questionable call resulting in a penalty shot for the Cougars was the start of a rough night for the veteran official, who was far too proactive. Remember - less means more.
  • I had the pleasure of sitting down with Cougars head coach Dean Clark before Saturday's game. I could have lobbed soft ball questions his way, but we talked about coaching and his time away from the game. I think the interview is worth sharing on this blog. I'll post the audio on Monday.
  • It may be premature, but happy birthday to Rockets goaltender Adam Brown. Brown turns 18 on Monday. Brown is draft eligable this season.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rockets win on Renfrew


  • The Kelowna Rockets extended their winning streak to five games with a 2-1 win Friday night in Vancouver. Shane McColgan and Lucas Bloodoff scored power play goals in the teams 5th win of the season. The Giants lone goal came off the stick of forward James Henry.

  • Shane McColgan earned the Gordie Howe hat trick with a goal, an assist and a fight. McColgan's third period scrap left him with a bloody nose, yet he was all smiles as he skated onto the ice when he was named the games third star.

  • McColgan's power play goal in the 3rd period was the game winner. I like the fact that he looked and then pointed at the Rockets bench after he scored the goal. It was a non-verbal "there we go boys".

  • The Rockets defensive core deserves a pat on the back for their performance. While six d-men were dressed, rookies Antoine Corbin and MacKenzie Johnston saw limited action. Aaron Borejko, Collin Bowman, Curt Gogol and Colton Jobke saw the bulk of the ice time with Brandon McMillan seeing a few shifts back of the blue line in the 3rd period. The Rockets allowed just 3 shots on the first period and five shots in the third period as they nailed down the win.

  • Defenseman Curt Gogol is starting to grow on me. The increased ice time has shown a significant improvement in his overall play. He's physical, plays it simple and is limiting the number of mistakes he makes back there.

  • The Vancouver Giants are a much different team without Evander Kane and James Wright, but the same could be said about the Rockets and the loss of Tyler Myers. Regardless of who was involved in Friday's game, a win in Vancouver is always big.

  • A problem with our phone line at Pacific Coliseum had us dropping in and out of our broadcast Friday night. I hope you were able to battle with me through the interruptions that often forced us to have significant amounts of dead air. New phone lines are being installed in the building for the Winter Olympics so we are paying the price as the bugs are worked out.

  • The Rockets made a trade with the Swift Current Broncos Friday. The Rockets picked up 18 year-old goaltender Chad Ketting for a conditional 7th round draft pick.
  • Twenty year-old goalie Mark Guggenberger is now scheduled to have surgery for an athletic hernia. Guggenberger will be out for six weeks following surgery.

  • Congrats to former Rockets Colin Long and Ryley Grantham for scoring their first professional goals Friday night. Long's San Antonio Rampage beat Grantham's Abbotsford Heat 6-5 in overtime.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Giants are meeting for the second time this season. These two teams clashed on opening night, with the Giants using a shorthanded/penalty shot goal in a 6-5 overtime win. Following tonight’s game, these two teams meet again October 24th in Kelowna. The Rockets enter tonight’s game having won four straight, having out-scored the opposition 24-11. During the streak the Rockets have averaged 6 goals per game. Following tonight’s game the Rockets host Prince George tomorrow night before entertaining the Tri City Americans on Tuesday.

Looking Back: The Kelowna Rockets return to Pacific Coliseum for the first time since last years WHL Western Conference final. The Rockets beat the Giants in six games, winning game one in Vancouver (4-2) before dropping game two (4-3 in OT). The Rockets won game five in Vancouver by a 1-0 score. Mark Guggenberger made 25 saves in the win while Ryley Grantham scored the lone goal.

‘Giant’ Undertaking: The Rockets were just 1-3-0-0 in four regular season games at Pacific Coliseum last season. The only win was a 6-2 victory February 20th. The Rockets were 3-2-0-0 in 2007/08 and 0-3-1-0 in 2006/07. Since the start of the 2005/06 season the Rockets are a combined 6-10-1-0 in 17 regular season games at the ‘Rink on Renfrew’.

What a difference a year makes: Stepan Novotny leads the Rockets with 8 goals and 6 assists for 14 points in just 7 games. Novotny had just one point – a goal – in his first seven games last season. Novotny has registered a point in six of his last seven games. The only game where Novotny has been held off the score-sheet was in a 6-1 loss in Tri City September 19th.

‘Power’ to the people: The Rockets have scored eight power play goals (8/22=36.4%) in their last four games. The Rockets have scored a power play goal in six of the seven games this season. The Rockets were 0/8 in a 4-1 loss in Kamloops September 25th.

Who’s Hot – Who’s Not: Brandon McMillan has points in all six games he’s played this season. McMillan has 2+9=11 this season. Stepan Novotny has points in 6 of the 7 games this season. Shane McColgan is riding a four game point streak (2+5=7). Mitchell Callahan has points in three of his last four games (2+1=3). Kyle St. Denis has six points in his last three games (4+2=6). Rookie Brett Bulmer has points in three of his last four games. Bulmer has 3+3=6. Lucas Bloodoff has goals in three of his last five games.

Game Day Tidbits: The Rockets are 4-2-1-0 after seven games this season. Last year the Rockets were 3-4-0-0 after seven games…The Rockets have scored 31 goals in seven games this season after scoring 22 times in the teams first seven games one season ago…The Rockets have allowed 27 goals against this season after surrendering 26 goals after seven games last year…Seven of Stepan Novotny’s eight goals this season have been scored on home ice. Novotny has 27 career goals, 17 of which have been scored at Prospera Place…Goaltender Adam Brown has played in all seven games this season…Three of the Rockets next four games are on home ice…Ryan Huska coached in his 150th WHL game last Saturday in Chilliwack. Huska has 89 regular season victories…The Rockets acquired 19 year-old Tyler Matheson from Saskatoon September 28th for a 7th round draft pick in 2010…Kyle Verdino played in his 100th career game Wednesday night against Medicine Hat…The Rockets have participated in 27 shootout games since the new format was implemented for the start of the 2005/06 season. The Rockets are 12 and 15…The last time the Rockets played a game on October 9th was back in 2004, when they recorded a 2-1 overtime victory over Red Deer. Blake Comeau scored the game winner at the 3:07 mark of the extra session.

Rockets Next 5 Games:

vs. Cougars Oct 10th

vs. Americans Oct 13th

vs. Tips Oct 17th

@ Tri City Oct 23rd

vs. Giants Oct 24

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Willie on WJ's

They can't all be Picasso's

  • In the game of hockey sometimes you play good and you lose and sometimes you play bad and you win. Let's just say the Kelowna Rockets 6-5 shootout win Wednesday night over the visiting Medicine Hat's was no Picasso. The Rockets built up a 3-0 first period lead only to see the Tigers score three times in a span of 49 seconds to tie the game at three. The Rockets would need a goal from rookie Cody Chikie in the shootout to register their 4th straight win.
  • After a terrible start, the Tigers got better as the game wore on. After struggling on three power play chances in the first period the Tigers regrouped in the 1st intermission and got right back into the game with three quick goals. Not only did the Tigers score four times in the second period, but they fired 17 shots on Rockets goaltender Adam Brown in the middle frame. Instead of a blowout for the home team, the two teams were tied at 4 heading into the final frame.
  • Much like the Rockets, the visitors were not without their miscues on defense. Rockets forwards Brandon McMillan and Kyle St. Denis were both able to score shorthanded goals as the Tigers power play struggled, going 0 for 6.
  • The two goals from Brandon McMillan extended his point streak to a career high 6 games. It was McMillan's first goals since the 19 year-old scored in the final game of the regular season last year against the Spokane Chiefs. McMillan ended Wednesday's game with three points.
  • Spencer Main had a goal and an assist for a career high two point game.
  • Adam Brown will admit he struggled Wednesday night, yet he made some big saves down the stretch when the game was on the line. Brown had no chance on the tying goal from Tigers leading scorer Bretton Cameron with 16 seconds left in the third period and made some solid saves in the shootout, allowing just one goal on 6 shooters.
  • Rockets d-man Kyle Verdino left in the second period after crashing into the corner boards feet first. Verdino appeared to hurt the same ankle that he broke in a car accident this summer. Tigers forward Joey Frazer was given a 5 minute major and game misconduct for a hit that warranted a penalty, but in my opinion, not a game misconduct. In saying that, I thought a two minute minor that Tigers forward Kale Kessey was issued in the first period on a vicious hit on Rockets d-man Curt Gogol behind the Rockets net deserved far more than a 2 minute minor for charging.
  • It looks like 17 year-old Tyler Bunz has won the #1 goaltending duties away from veteran Tiger Ryan Holfeld. The twenty year-old didn't even make the trip with the team which tells you his days with the Tigers are over. GM/Coach Willie Desjardins has to be pleased with overagers Bretton Cameron, Tomas Kundratek and Mark Isherwood.
  • The game featured former teammates with the Swift Current Broncos battling it out as WHL assistant coaches. Rockets assistant Dan Lambert and Tigers assistant Darren Kruger were teammates with the Swift Current Broncos in 1989, the year the team won the Memorial Cup. Kruger was 20 at the time. Lambert was just 18.
  • Jeff Finley was seen in the scouts room before Wednesday's game. Finley was an assistant coach to Ryan Huska last season before deciding to leave the organization to become a scout with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings.
  • Check back later today when I post my conversation with Willie Desjardins on coaching Canada's entry at the WJHC.