Oct 3, 2012 / 5:00 am
Undisciplined penalties - untimely penalties - lazy penalties.
Call them what you will, they've cost the Kelowna Rockets upwards of five points over their first four games of the Western Hockey League season.
The Rockets have been shorthanded 29 times over the course of their first four games, giving up seven shorthanded goals - two of those game winners.
"The one area that has hurt us in our games so far is our discipline. We're taken some bad penalties at inopportune times that have unfortunately cost us points in games," says Rockets head coach Ryan Huska.
"That's something we have to continue to work to get out of our game."
In a 3-2 loss to Kamloops, the Blazers completed a three goal comeback with the winner at 19:27 of the third with Colton Heffley in the box for roughing.
During a 1-0 loss in Portland, the Winterhawks scored the lone goal of the game midway through the third with Tyson Baillie off for tripping.
Neither Heffley nor Baillie played the next game.
"What we've done so far is we've scratched a couple of guys already because of some poor penalties and we are going to continue to do that as we move forward," says Huska.
"I think with the group that we do have the more attention that gets paid to it - these guys will get a handle on it and they'll correct it within the dressing room."
The Rockets have also given up three goals with the team down two men, including a pair during Saturday's 4-3 win in Portland that allowed the Winterhawks to stay in the game.
"That's how momentum is created for your opponent. You want to see your group play a physical brand of hockey but some of the penalties we've taken to this point have been more of the lazier type with high sticking or hooking plays in the offensive zone."
Huska agrees those are the penalties where the puck inevitably ends up in your net.
Ironically, 27 of the 29 shorthanded situations have come on the road.
The Rockets were penalized just twice during their only home game to date.
They hope that trend continues Wednesday night when the Rockets entertain the Vancouver Giants at Prospera Place.
The Giants come into Kelowna winners of just one of their first four games, that a 3-2 win over Spokane Sunday.
Regardless of what their records are a visit by the Giants is always a special game.
"They're our biggest rival and everytime the two teams get together the games are usually good - they're intense games and that's what we're looking forward to when Vancouver comes to town."
Huska says he has yet to decide who will get the call between the pipes.
Jordon Cooke has played all four games to date and is coming off a pair of spectacular performances in Portland.
Huska says back-up Jackson Whistle will get the call in one of the next three games but has not decided if that will be against his former Giants teammates.
Following Wednesday's tilt with the Giants the Rockets head north for a pair of weekend games in Prince George Friday and Saturday.
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