Sunday, March 12, 2017

Winning in all sorts of ways

Dube celebrates - (
  • Wins come in all shapes and sizes. Some are complete efforts while others are up to the goaltender to keep you in the game before you finally find your footing. Right now the Kelowna Rockets are winning in various ways and no one is complaining. Would you if your team had won a season high 7 straight games and were two points out of first place in the BC Division? Didn't think so! Michael Herringer was solid early and Dillon Dube was great late, leading the Rockets to a 4-3 overtime win Saturday night over the visiting Victoria Royals. Herringer made several solid stops, including a breakaway save on 48 goal man Matthew Phillips when the game was scoreless and the Royals were carrying the play. Dube finished the night with two goals and two assists, and for second straight game, was named the first star. Sometimes statistics are flattering until you peel back the layers which show Dube was on the ice for two of the three Royals goals. So, it is safe to say, the 18 year-old wasn't very good early but was able to come through when his team needed him the most.
  • I thought the penalty killing unit had a very good night and may be the real story in the win. The Royals scored once on 6 chances, but were a massive threat every time they had a chance. In a game where I thought the Rockets took too many unnecessary penalties, the PK saved them in a game that could have gotten away. I hate to pick on Dube again, but he took two needless charging penalties and Calvin Thurkauf took a double minor with 7 and a half minutes to play that could have cost them the game. But the PK came to the rescue again. Take a bow. Both players were named stars at games end, but the best players must lead in all areas, including discipline.
  • Did anybody notice that rookie Kyle Topping is riding an 8 game point streak?  
  • Cal Foote does not get the credit he deserves. The reason? He isn't flashy. How many times does he get beat one-on-one? I can count the times on one hand. Foote not only defends well, but he is able to take the puck away, control it and move it proficiently up to an awaiting forward. Cal can pound the puck. Finding shooting lanes, the soft spoken blue liner can locate seams and knows when to snap the puck into the pads of the goalie or when to unload it in an effort to beat the opposition goalie clean. Points in 9 of his last 12, I think it is clear to see that he is the teams best defenceman with his calm and steady play.   
  • Reid Gardiner had 1+1=2 and is riding a team high 15 game point streak. With 34 points in 25 games, the 21 year-old has delivered the mail like the organization had hoped when he was acquired in early January. The fear is giving up a quality player or draft pick for a player who under delivers. In only two games this season has Gardiner failed to find the score-sheet. That's what elite offensive players do.
  • While the Rockets were able to beat the Royals twice this week, let's remember they were playing without some significant players. When you don't have Tyler Soy nor Chaz Reddikopp in the line-up, the chances of succeeding are lessened. The Royals are a handful for whoever they face in the opening round.
  • The Rockets remain 2 points back of the Prince George Cougars for first place in the BC Division with three games remaining. It sets up for a massive game Wednesday night at Prospera Place when the Everett Silvertips come to town. A win will move the Rockets into a two way tie with the idle Cougars, but the Rockets will be in first place for the first time this season. Yes, you are reading it correctly....the FIRST TIME. Is it the biggest game of the season? Without a shadow of a doubt, it really is.  

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