Okanagan Rockets goalie Brendan Barry lungs to deny Moose Jaw Generals captain Trey Tendley a goal-scoring opportunity with less than three minutes remaining in the third period during Telus Cup action Tuesday at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw. (Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie)
Story from the Moose Jaw Times-Herald- Katie Brickman
With 15 minor penalties called, it was the Okanagan Rockets and the Generals skating to a 3-3 draw in the evening Telus Cup game at Mosaic Place on Tuesday.
“When you get yourself in a hole and you come back to tie it up, you can’t be too upset about it,” said Mack O’Rourke, head coach of the Rockets. “It is a tough one.”
For a power play that wasn’t all that potent during the regular season, the Generals capitalized on their two early chances.
“We knew specialty teams were going to be huge and all three were on the power play,” said Ray Wareham, head coach of the Generals. “I thought we did a good job and we have been working it and to see it come to fruition was nice to see.”
The Rockets took an early penalty and the Generals pounced on the opportunity. Trey Tendler did the work in front of the net and Reagan Nagy cleaned up the garbage for his first goal of the tournament.
Ben Verrall gave the Generals a 2-0 lead shortly after on a power play marker. Verrall has scored in back-to-back games.
“I thought we were real good right from the get-go,” said Wareham. “We knew that they are by far the best transition team I have seen this year. The skill level and speed on that team was second-to-none as far as we have seen this year.”
Despite getting a two-goal lead and controlling much of the first period, the Rockets came out gunning in the second frame.
Tanner Wishnowski scored just 57 seconds into the period on the power play.
“We tried not to give them the neutral zone and the last couple goals — you saw what happened when we did give them the neutral zone,” stated Wareham. “We knew we were going to have our hands full, but I thought our kids did a fantastic job.”
Midway through the period, Donovan Neuls walked out from the corner right in front of Brendan Barry and scored to give the Generals some breathing room.
“I think we just kept it simple and made them take penalties and when they did, we capitalized,” said Neuls.
However, that didn’t last long as Wishnowksi went coast-to-coast, burned a General defender and beat Grant Naherniak high stick side for a highlight reel goal less than a minute after Neuls’ goal.
Wishnowski would use his spectacular speed again, burning past two defenders, but passed the puck to Cory Santoro to tie the game up a couple minutes later.
“I just got on the dots and used my speed on outside. I knew I could beat him on the first one wide,” explained Wishnowski. “On the second one, I just came wide and dished it off to Cory and he buried it.”
Only one minor was called in game action in the third period and two more at the buzzer. As exciting as the second frame was, O’Rourke was getting frustrated with the amount of calls being made.
“Personally, I’d like to see more five-on-five and just keep the flow going,” he said. “I think it has been tough with the amount of minors being called. It is tough to get any pace going in the game.”
This was the second game in a row that the Rockets have struggled off the start and as the games get more meaning later in the week, they are hoping to reverse that trend quickly.
“We have to start coming out faster,” said Wishnowski. “We have come out flat two games now, but it is going to be a different story for the next three.”
The Rockets will play the Prince Albert Mintos (4 p.m., Mosaic Place) while the Generals will play the Toronto Young Nationals (7:30 p.m., Mosaic Place) today.