December 18, 2012
Rep hockey is a results driven activity. Up to this point in the season, it has been hard to gauge what the mixed results have meant for the Kelowna Peewee A1 Jr. Rockets, but the team now appears to be trending in the right direction.
The season started slowly, but a positive month of December suggests they may have turned the corner. They now sit three games above the .500 mark in Okanagan League (OMAHA) play, good enough for second place. While the results may have been slow in coming, Coach Scott Cronquist has been happy with his team’s enthusiasm.
“We’ve got the boys coming out of the dressing room fired up and ready to play each game,” said Cronquist. “We’re good at getting the puck deep in the offensive zone and keeping the pressure on.”
There were several occasions early in the season when that enthusiasm was tested, but the team persevered.
“In Abbotsford we went 2W-2L, but they were all close games and we were in every game that we played,” said Cronquist. “In the Kamloops Tournament we did not fare as well, getting put into the relegation side by Langley after the last round robin game. In the Langley Tournament we did quite well. We beat Langley to get into the finals where we had really good game against Richmond, but lost 5-2. It was probably a lot closer than the score would indicate.”
Some indications of the team’s progress include their consistent play against Prince George and finally besting Vernon for the first time in three tries.
“We had a bit of a lull after the Langley Tournament but we’re back on track now,” said Cronquist. “We beat Prince George twice two weekends ago, so our record now against them is 4-0. We kind of had slow starts in first two regular season games against Vernon, but last weekend we ended up beating them 7-2.” The Jr. Rockets record against Vernon is now 1W-1L-1T.
“Our team is really starting to gel,” Cronquist. “A lot of them have played here and there together, but now as a unit we’re really starting to come along and your could see that in the Langley tournament.”
The team will next set its sights on catching Kamloops, which will be a tough task. Kamloops are 10W-1L-0T and 7 points ahead of Kelowna. The two teams have become close rivals, with Kamloops earning the upper hand in one-goal games on two occasions. Their other meeting saw the Jr. Rockets hand Kamloops their only regular season loss to date.
“We have four regular season games left after the Christmas break,” said Cronquist. “We’re looking forward to it and think we’re going to do well to finish the season. We’ve got two more games against Kamloops and one more against Vernon and Prince George before we head into playoffs.”