There isn’t much mystery to this one. Kelowna was very, very good, and the Tips were anything but. Put those together and you get a crooked scoreline like tonight.
The Rockets absolutely dominated this game. Kelowna controlled play throughout and kept the puck almost exclusively in Everett’s zone. And the Rockets were deadly off the rush as four of their goals came on either odd-man rushes or breakaways. Meanwhile, the Tips looked like dogs trying to chase their own tails in their futile attempts to keep up with the Rockets. Kelowna was playing its third game in three nights, but it was Everett that looked like the team that had the five-hour overnight bus ride.
the victory completed an impressive three-in-three weekend sweep by the Rockets, in which they outscored their opponents 22-5, so Everett isn’t the only team Kelowna treated this way. And this is not a veteran Rockets team. Kelowna only used three 19-year-olds, and its entire defense was 18 or younger. It’s scary thinking how good that defense could be the next two years.
I was informed that Tips goaltender Austin Lotz received some heavy criticism online immediately following the game. While I wouldn’t say Lotz played a good game, it’s hard to pin this loss on him. There’s only so much a goalie can do when faced with repeated odd-man rushes and breakaways, or the team in front of him can’t clear the zone.
Really, it was a rough night all around. Even the scorer’s table struggled as there were clock issues and confusion on when to blow for media timeouts. I suspect the Tips would like to forget this one ever happened.
Lastly, I feel bad for Tyler Sandhu and Dawson Leedahl, who scored Everett’s goals. Sandhu scored his team-leading ninth goal and is well on his way toward an impressive 16-year-old season, and Leedahl netted his first career goal. But I doubt either feel much like celebrating. Indeed, Leedahl didn’t even get to celebrate his goal on the ice as it came with the Tips trailing 8-1.
Everett had just scored midway through the first period to tie it 1-1, when the Rockets scored on the following shift, Ryan Olsen converting a three-on-two. That began a string of seven consecutive goals for Kelowna.
First star: Carter Rigby, Kelowna. Three goals, his first three tallies of the season.
Second star: Zach Franko, Kelowna. One goal and one assist, did his work early while the score was still close.
Third star: Tyson Baillie, Kelowna. Two assists, helped spring Rigby.
The Herald’s honorable mention: Madison Bowey, Kelowna. One goal and plus-4, did everything right on the blue line.