Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rockets' record setting season rolls on

Shoot the Breeze Photography - Marissa Baecker
  • Leading scorer Myles Bell missed Saturday night's game with the flu. Can you imagine how sick to the stomach the Tri City Americans must have been feeling after a 7-0 loss at Prospera Place? Outside of a four minute span of the first period, it was all Rockets in this one. The Americans looked like they had played the night before and had traveled through the night to Kelowna to play the game. Oh....right.....they did.  
  • Ryan Olsen played one of his best games of the season and was arguable the best player on the ice in the first period. Olsen scored once and added an assist helping the Rockets build up a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission. I thought he should have received a game star. I look at the player that made a dramatic difference when the game was in doubt. Ryan Olsen was that player. The goal, his 28th, was his first in eight games. Olsen is a powerful player with a great shot but has to play the power game. If he plays with urgency, like he did last night, he is a tremendous find. What Ryan Olsen can't be is mediocre. I am sorry, but at 19 he has to make an impact all the time. Olsen is drafted, signed and is a stone throw away from playing pro. He has everything going for him.
  • Ryan Olsen reminds me a little bit of Cody Almond. Remember him? Almond didn't really find his way as a player until he turned 19. The coaches and fans always thought Almond could give more but he was just an average 17 and 18 year-old. In his final season with the Rockets, at 19, Almond scored 33 times and was a force to play against. Big, powerful with good skill, Almond was 6'2, which is  almost a mirror image to Olsen's body type. Almond took it to a new level - at 19 - in the 2008-2009 playoffs. The Calgary resident would score 10+17=27 in 22 playoff games on the way to a WHL title. Can Ryan Olsen crank it up? You don't score 60 goals over the last two seasons not to have high expectations for a player of that ability.       
  • The Rockets power play went 4 for 4. When was the last time four power play goals were scored in one game?  The team scored four power play goals against Kamloops September 26, 2008.      
  • Nick Merkley scored his 23rd goal of the season, moving within two goals of the 25 Shane McColgan scored as a 16 year-old rookie in 2009-2010. The only other 16 year-old Rockets rookie to score 20 or more goals was Marty Flichel in Tacoma back in 1992-93.
  • Jordon Cooke made 20 saves for his 4th shutout of the season and 9th of his career. What I liked about Cooke was his mental toughness. Despite seeing little work, the 20 year-old stayed mentally strong and made the saves when he had too. Cooke had to make two nice stops on Americans Lucas Nickles and Parker Bowles.
  • I was surprised the Americans elected to start 16 year-old Evan Sarthou against the Rockets for the third time in the four game seasonal series. Franky that is asking a lot from a young goaltender to come into a game against the best team statistically in the WHL. Does Eric Comrie not give you the better chance of winning? Are points not crucial considering it is a slim four point lead on Prince George for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Maybe its mind games? A false sense of security for the Rockets should they face the Am's in round one? I am grasping at straws why Sarthou would start considering his goals against average in Kelowna this season was 6.00 with a save percentage of .876. 
  • Comrie has played just two regular season games in Kelowna. Both were a year apart in November of 2011 and again in November of 2012.
  • Madison Bowey scored his 18th goal of the season which is one off the club record for goals by a defenceman. Bowey's 18 matches the mark set by Tomas Slovak in 2002-2003. Tyson Barrie scored 19 back in the 2009-2010, which is the club record. As good as the d-men have been in Kelowna, Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Scott Hannan, Tyler Myers and Josh Gorges have never scored as many as Bowey. 
  • He won't brag about it but I will pump his tires. Assistant Coach Dan Lambert scored 20 or more goals twice as a defenceman with the Swift Current Broncos. Lambert had 20 in 87-88 and 25 in 88-89.
  • The Rockets need one win in their remaining four games, or a Portand loss, to claim the WHL regular season title for the first time since 2002-2003. The Rockets host Victoria Tuesday night to wrap up a three game home stand before playing two of their final three games on the road with stops in Kamloops (Wednesday) and Vancouver (Friday).

1 comment:

g.k said...

Great all round game by the Rockets, even being up by 5 or 6 goals they didn't sit back & protect the lead but kept the peddle to the metal till the end, thats the sign of a great team. It was nice to see such a good size crowd for a change, it doesn't seem to matter who the visiting team is but Saturday night games are a huge draw in this city!! Sure would be nice to clinch the title against the Royals on Tuesday, but it will be a much tougher game than last nights!!

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