Saturday, 16 December 2017

Rockets’ Lind out to lessen the sting of world juniors cut

Right-winger gets three assists, fights in 5-0 win over Blades

Kole Lind, left, celebrates the Rockets win with goalie James Porter.
    Kole Lind is living two different lives on and off the ice in the immediate aftermath of being cut from Canada’s world junior team.
    The 19-year-old Shaunavon, Sask., product was cut from the Canadian team on Thursday. The skilled right-winger departed from the Canadian training camp in St. Catharines, Ont., to reunite with his WHL squad, the Kelowna Rockets, for their final two contests on their six-game road trip through the WHL’s East Division.
    Lind rejoined the Rockets on Friday night in Prince Albert and scored three goals in a 7-3 romp over the host Raiders. On Saturday, Lind had three assists, a plus-three rating in the plus-minus department and engaged in a fight to help the Rockets blank the host Saskatoon Blades 5-0 before 3,263 spectators at the SaskTel Centre.
Kole Lind jets up ice for the Rockets.
    When he is on the ice, Lind’s focus is on helping the Rockets do well. After the Rockets last two games came to an end, Lind returned to digesting his cut from the world junior squad.
    “It has definitely been an emotional roller-coaster for me going from heartbreak and trying to bounce back and play two games right away,” said Lind, who has 16 goals and 26 assists in 25 games with the Rockets this season. “It was definitely a difference for me traveling and everything.
    “Something that I have been through a lot is trying to stay mentally tough and just staying with the game. Hockey has been something that just takes my mind off everything it seems like. It has definitely helped me get through it.”
    Lind said he has been extra motivated to show that he shouldn’t have been cut from Canada’s world junior team. He is trying to emulate what Regina Pats star centre Sam Steel did last season after being cut from Canada’s world junior team. Steel made Canada’s world junior squad this season.
    “Sam Steel did the same thing last year, a late cut and he ended up winning WHL player of the year,” said Lind, who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 173 pounds. “I want to go out there and try and prove something and just try to play my best game.”
Rockets RW Kole Lind looks to get past Blades D Seth Bafaro.
    Playing in front of about 15 to 20 family and friends on Saturday, Lind started out showing a tonne of energy in his first few shifts, and he forced Blades netminder Ryan Kubic to make a big save early in the first period.
    While Lind was playing well, the Rockets went ahead 1-0 at the 8:44 mark of the first period, when he wasn’t on the ice. Working in close on the Saskatoon goal, Rockets left-winger Ted Brennan fed a beauty backhand pass across the face the Blades net to linemate Jack Cowell, who popped the puck home past a sprawled Kubic.
    With 22.9 seconds to play in the first, Lind picked up his first assist on the night on a positive bounce power-play goal from left-winger Carsen Twarynski to give the Rockets a 2-0 edge.
    In the second, Lind picked up his second and third assists of the night in almost identical fashion to each other on two-on-one chances. Coming down the right wing, Lind feather passes on both rushes across the front of the Saskatoon net to linemate Kyle Topping, and Topping buried both of those chances to give the Rockets a 4-0 edge.
Blades LW Tyler Lees fights Rockets RW Kole Lind.
    “I think my teammates create a lot of space for me, and they got open for me,” said Lind, who is a second round NHL Draft selection of the Vancouver Canucks. “I think that was the main thing.
    “I’ve always been kind of a playmaker, finding holes through guys’ skates and their sticks and bodies. I just try to look for that. My guys got open.
    “It made it easy playing with the guys I did tonight.”
    At the 3:52 mark of the third, Lind, who is in his third full season with the Rockets, took part in his fifth career fight in the WHL taking on Blades 17-year-old left-winger Tyler Lees. Both players received fighting majors, while Lind received an extra minor penalty for roughing.
Goalie James Porter made 40 saves to earn the shutout win for the Rockets.
    “I’ve done a bit of it in my career,” said Lind. “I try to hold my own and not have anyone step in for me because I want to be a guy who can do anything.”
    Right-winger Liam Kindree scored the Rockets final goal of the contest netting a short-handed marker with 39.1 seconds remaining in the third period.
    James Porter, who is a 17-year-old rookie, made 40 saves to post his first career WHL shutout playing goal for the Rockets. Kubic turned away 20 shots to take the setback in goal for the Blades.
    The Rockets improved to 20-11-2-1 to sit in a tie for first in the B.C. Division with the 20-13-3 Victoria Royals with 43 points in the standings. Kelowna has two games in hand on Victoria.
The Rockets celebrate a short-handed goal from Liam Kindree, far right.
    The Blades fell to 14-17-2-1 to sit two points back of the Prince Albert Raiders (13-14-5-2) for the second wildcard playoff berth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.
    On Sunday, the Blades return to action hosting the Regina Pats (16-16-3) at 4 p.m. at the SaskTel Centre in their Secret Santa game. Fans are invited to bring a new unwrapped toy to the contest as a donation to the Secret Santa Foundation. The Pats will host the Memorial Cup this coming May.
    The Rockets embark on their Christmas break and return to action on Dec. 27, when they host the Kamloops Blazers (16-17-0-1). Lind was pleased his team heads into the break on a high note.
    “We had two big wins carrying a lot of momentum into the break,” said Lind. “I think that is something that you always look for.
    “Now we are just going to try and carry it on and have our rest here and go into the second half on a positive side.”

Stars’ Parker moves into second in SFMAAAHL career scoring

Mackenna Parker is the SFMAAAHL's second all-time career scorer.
    Saskatoon Stars captain Mackenna Parker achieved a major milestone on Saturday night in her team’s wild comeback overtime victory over the Diamond Energy Wildcats in Swift Current.
    The Wildcats took a 3-0 lead in the second period of the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League regular season clash at the Fairview Arena on a single tally from Crystal Wale and a pair of goals from Taylor Lind. Stars forward Chase Sperling scored in the final seconds of the second to cut the Wildcats lead to 3-1, and Stars forward Joelle Fiala scored with 5:16 to play in the third to further trim Swift Current’s edge to 3-2.
    With under 30 seconds to play in the third, Parker picked up her first point of the night setting up a goal by Grace Shirley to force a 3-3 tie and send the contest to overtime.
    In overtime, Parker setup with winning goal from 17-year-old veteran forward Jordan Holmes to deliver the Stars to a miraculous 4-3 victory.
    With her two assists, Parker moved alone into second place on the SFMAAAHL’s all-time career regular season scoring list. In 95 career regular season games, Parker, who is in her final campaign of midget AAA eligibility, has 72 goals and 71 assists for 143 points.
    The 17-year-old jumped ahead of former Notre Dame Hounds star forward Alyssa Wiebe by a point for second on the SFMAAAHL’s career scoring list. Wiebe, who is a Saskatoon product, piled up 74 goals and 68 assists for 142 points playing 55 regular season games for the Hounds from 2006 to 2008, which were the first two campaigns in the history of the SFMAAAHL.
Mackenna Parker set up the Stars OT winner on Saturday.
    Parker likely won’t catch Olivia Howe for the top spot as the SFMAAAHL’s all-time career leading scorer.
    Howe, who is from Moose Jaw, played forward for the Hounds from 2008 to 2012 and piled up 107 goals and 100 assists for 207 points in 106 career regular season games. She is the SFMAAAHL’s career leader in goals, assists and points and was a consistent high point producer in each season she played in the league.
    Parker also achieved another milestone in Saturday’s overtime win becoming the fifth player in the history of the SFMAAAHL to surpass 70 career assists.
    Besides accomplishing huge milestones with the Stars, Parker will play for Canada’s women’s team at the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Under-18 Women’s World Championships, which runs this coming January 6-13 in Dmitrov, Russia.
    In Saturday’s clash with the Wildcats, Arden Kliewer went the distance in goal for Saskatoon making 17 stops to help the Stars improve to 14-0. Harper Davey turned away 24 shots to take the setback in goal for the Wildcats, who saw their record move to 6-6-0-3.
    The Stars and Wildcats will go at it again on Sunday in Swift Current.

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