Cooke key to Rockets early season success
If he wasn't already considered one of the WHL's best, then another stellar weekend between the posts should pretty much solidify Jordon Cooke's place among the league's elite netminders.
The 20-year-old Leduc, Alta. native paced his Kelowna Rockets to a pair of victories over the hometown Victoria Royals, stopping 61 shots and allowing just two goals in the process.
The performance was enough for the WHL to nominate Cooke on Monday for the Canadian Hockey League's goaltender of the week award.
A 28-save effort by Cooke on Friday—including two stops on penalty shots—resulted in a 4-1 Rockets' win over the Royals.
Cooke was in the groove again on Saturday, turning aside 33 shots in regulation and overtime, then three more in the shootout to secure a 2-1 Rockets' victory.
Now in his fourth campaign with the Rockets, Cooke leads the league this season in both goals against average (1.85) and save efficiency (.939), while sporting a healthy 8-0-0-2 record.
"(Jordon) has been excellent for us," said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska. "He's given us a chance to win every night. You could tell from the start that he was determined to have a very good year, and he's showing everybody right now what kind of a goaltender he can be. We've believed in Jordon for a number of years, and now he's paying us back, I guess you could say."
While Cooke has been steady and consistent in the Rockets' net, Huska said the club's defence, for the most part, has also had a hand in the 20-year-old stopper's early season success.
"A lot of times when shots come from the outside it means your defence is playing well and there are easier saves to make for your goaltender," Huska added. "There have been a few games like that, and there have also been nights where Jordon has had to make some tough saves to keep us in games. It's been a little of both this season."
With the two victories in Victoria, the Rockets (9-2-0-2) boosted themselves two points ahead of the Royals (9-8-0-0) for top spot in the B.C. Division.
The Rockets return to the road this Friday and Saturday for a doubleheader in Prince George against the Cougars.
Kelowna's next home action is Wednesday, Nov. 6 against the Red Deer Rebels.