|Jackson Whistle - Shoot the Breeze|
- So much for a slumping power play. The Kelowna Rockets scored three power play goals last night in a 4-2 win over the Kamloops Blazers. Justin Kirkland scored both of his goals courtesy of the man advantage, which went 3 for 5 on the night. The power play has generated five goals on its last ten chances. Myles Bell also scored twice in the victory. While the power play will get much of the credit in the win, the strong play of goaltender Jackson Whistle can't be overlooked. The 18 year-old made several strong saves in the teams 41st win of the season. Had Whistle had an average game, this wouldn't have been a two goal victory at games end.
- Like any good goaltender, Whistle's battle level is unquestioned. Making desperation saves, Whistle shut the door on leading goal scorer Chase Souto on no less than two glorious chances. In Kamloops you can stand on your head and still not be named a game star. From where I was watching, Whistle was the best player on the ice.
- The Rockets gave up 38 shots, which is far to many against a team like Kamloops. Dressing two rookies that are 15 and 16, the defensive core gave up way to many quality chances. That has to change. When a 16 year-old affiliated player is beating one of your best skating defenceman to the outside that is not a good sign.
- Myles Bell became just the 7th player in team history to score 30 goals in back-to-back season.
- The coaching staff elected to shake up the lines last night in an effort to jump start the offense. The only line that remained somewhat intact was Carter Rigby with Colton Heffley and Rourke Chartier. Ryan Olsen had the privilege of playing with Myles Bell and Tyrell Goulbourne, but it will take time for those three to get on the same page.
- Two of the Blazers best players last night are raw rookies. Fifteen year-old Jake Kryski had a tremendous game. Playing in his third WHL game, the Okanagan Rockets forward honestly didn't look out of place. Good decisions and strong passes were the norm for Kryski, who even received power play time late in the game. I also liked Blazers rookie Deven Sideroff. The 16 year-old made some nice plays and should have had a goal had it not been for the desperation save of Whistle at his right post in the second period. Even 16 year-old Nick Chyzowski had a goal wrapped up on a giveaway by defenceman Damon Severson in the slot but again Whistle came up large.
- This was an odd game. Specifically in the second period, the Rockets played large stretches inside the Blazers zone. The puck movement was so impress it looked like a power play. The only negative of that was the number of shots generated with the sustained pressure. The Blazers blocked a lot of shots which translated into 34 at games end.
- The officiating was really weak last night. Blazers Sam Grist elbows Madison Bowey in the head and no call. Carter Rigby interferes with Kamloops goaltender Bolton Pouliot. Nothing. Ryan Olsen's roughing call after a good hit was laughable and those are just three examples.
- I haven't seen it in any other arena's to that degree, but the video guys at the Interior Savings Centre replay a lot of missed calls on the video screen for the fans to see. It shows you how many calls are missed over the course of the game. Maybe that is a contributing factor on why I thought the officiating was well below league standards last night.