Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Kelowna Rockets Outlast Hurricanes 3-1

LETHBRIDGE - The Kelowna Rockets scored scored two goals less than a minute apart in the first period and then held on in the 3rd period to defeat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 3-1 Wednesday night.

After a rather slow start to this game, the Rockets got things going with a pair of goals less than a minute apart.  Carter Rigby  moved through centre ice and at the Hurricanes blueline, he hammered a low shot along the ice which beat Ty Rimmer from a long way out to give Kelowna a 1-0 lead.  Rimmer was partially screened by his own defenceman on the play.  Less than a minute later, the Rockets would get another goal, this one on a power play.  JT Barnett's shot was stopped by Rimmer, but the puck trickled through him and just crossed the goal line, giving the Rockets a quick 2-0 lead.  Lethbridge had 3 or 4 outstanding chances to score in the opening period, but Kelowna goalie Jordan Cooke was great between the pipes and the Rockets would hold on to that 2-0 lead through 20 minutes of play.  The Rockets held a slight edge in shots 11-10.

In the second, the Hurricanes would finally get on the score sheet.  Connor Sutton took a pass out in front the Rockets goal and roofed a shot on Cooke to cut the Kelowna lead to 2-1.  That was Sutton's first-ever goal in the Western Hockey League. The Canes had a few chances late in the period to get back to even terms, but the Rockets would hold on a take that one goal lead into the dressing room after 40 minutes of play. The shots favoured Kelowna 18-15.

In the third, the Hurricanes would put on the pressure to try and find the equalizer.  They hit the post not once, not twice, not three times, but 6 times in the final period and just couldn't score.  The Canes pulled the goalie late, but Colton Heffley would ice the game with an empty netter to seal the game for the Rockets 3-1.  Kelowna out shot the Hurricanes 27-21. The Canes finished the game 0/4 on the power play and the Rockets went 1/2.  The loss drops the Canes record to 16-15-1-4 on the season and with Saskatoon winning their 4th in row, Lethbridge has some serious company in the Eastern Conference standings with the Blades just two points back.  Swift Current is 4 points behind the Hurricanes.  Both the Blades and Broncos have games in hand on Lethbridge. 


Hurricanes Head Coach and Rich Preston was looking at these games against Kelowna and Kamloops as "statement" games.  He says it time for his team to step up against two of the best teams in the West and show them what the Hurricanes are made of. Preston commented to me this team have beat Edmonton and Prince Albert here in the East and now it's time for this Lethbridge club to make a statement.


The Hurricanes will take on another top notch Western Conference team on Friday (Dec. 14) as they play host to the Kamloops Blazers.  This will be the second and final meeting of the season between the two teams.  Kamloops won the first match-up in Lethbridge a few months ago with a victory in overtime after the Canes came storming back to tie the game in the 3rd period.  That was actually a big game for the Hurricanes.  Although they didn't, it was that game which helped turn their season around after a slow start.  The Canes will play host to Regina next Tuesday (Dec. 18) in their final game before the WHL's Christmas break.


  1. What a horrible 2+ periods. The Canes come out not skating for the first two periods and then decide to play in the third. If that last period did not teach this team that they can beat any team I am not sure what will. The constant pressure on the puck had Kelowna on their heels and giving up alot of pucks. Glad to see Sutton score. Topping gives away far to many pucks on bad passes. I did notice he did seem to get hurt in the third. Lets go Boys big game tomorrow night. Remember out hustle and puck pressure. AJ

  2. I thought they played well. It was an even game against a very good hockey team. We hit several posts. Merkleys line was outstanding all night and had several great chances including the lone goal. Rimmer played well but he probably would want the 1st goal back. A 2-1 game with lots of quality scoring chances...empty netter means nothing. The boys will bounce back and probably deserved a better fate last night.

  3. When you don't play hard for the first 40 minutes, you don't deserve a better fate against a good team Anon 8:02.

    I'm sure they'll bounce back, but let's call a spade a spade last night.


  4. Have to agree with AJ and Darren on this one. While the Hurricanes did have a chance to win it was not because it was a good game. It was painful to watch the first 2 periods, no puck pressure, no energy, and then see them come out and play the way they can in the 3rd. The Hurricanes could have won that game if they played 60 minutes, it's because they didn't that they lost. I don't think they would have had a closed door meeting after the game if the coaches thought they played well.

    This team shows so much potential and can play with the best in the league, they just have to commit to their game every night. DC

  5. How can we (fans) be too disappointed with this result?

    The Canes got beat by a hard working team that is playing well enough to be 9-1 in its past 10, and has a really good overall record. Do you really think the Canes weren't trying, cause I think they were playing a team just a little better on paper, and the result ended the same way.

    We held this team that has nearly the most goals per game in the WHL to only 2 (when net tended), AND we nearly scored twice (5+ times) on this same team that has given up the second fewest goals of any dub team. If you are realistic, "almosts" and "ifs" aside, this is pretty much the result anyone would predict. The Rockets were only on game 2 of 5, not 5 of 5 of their road trip!

    It is frustrating to watch the home team lose when they were this close when they had many chances for a different outcome, but they lost because Kelowna is a good team with a good goalie, a good coach, and they wanted to win, too.

    I am pretty encouraged with the result, I was pretty much expecting the Canes to get blown away by BOTH Kelowna and Kamloops. - Richie.

  6. Sometimes us fans act like we have never watched hockey before! Of course the Canes had more good chances in the final five minutes!

    Regardless/IRRESPECTIVE of which teams are playing, naturally, and almost invariably, the team with a narrow lead defends the last minutes differently from the way it gained the lead (i.e. more defensively), and the team facing defeat pushes just a bit harder to score(while increasing their defensive liability as their defensemen play more offensively).

    This isn't a concept new to any sport fan.

    If the Canes had managed to miss some of those posts, and if they instead had scored one or two goals to take the lead, you can bet that the remainder of the game would have been played differently, and most likely, within 64 feet of the Canes goal.

    Remember this fundamental concept of sport the next time you are about to say something moronic like, "Why didn't they play that way the rest of the game?"

  7. This is a young team and I think a lot of people forget this is a learning process for them. This is how a young teams learns.

    I think that's just as important as knowing that Kelowna is a good team and was imposing their game on the Canes. Both points are relevant!

    But as was mentioned, I expect the young Canes to learn from this game and give Kamloops all they can handle tomorrow night!


  8. Canes had a great game. They are for real. I spoke with many of my friends that watched the game on sportsnet and thought the Canes deserved better. They have speed and tenacity. They compete in every game and are never blown out and are the youngest team in the Whl. This year they will be a 4 5 or 6 team and I would not want to face them in the 1st round. Stay positive--the future is bright. Kudos to the scouting staff they are starting to see some true stars emerge! The 17 year olds were exceptional last night and will only get better. Go Canes Go!