There were times when Geordie Wudrick wondered if he would ever find the back of the net again.
Lately, however, a lot of what the Kelowna Rockets forward touches is turning to gold. After a forgettable start to the WHL season with just one goal in his first 13 games, Wudrick has regained his penchant for burning opposing netminders.
The 6-foot-3 210-pound Abbotsford product is coming off a red-hot month of November during which he scored 11 goals in 11 games, including a pair of hat-tricks.
It’s no small coincidence that the Rockets have also rebounded during the same stretch, boosting their record from a lowly 4-10 to 14-11.
Asked to pinpoint the reason for the turnaround in his game, Wudrick insisted there are no secrets—just simple, basic hard work. Not to mention a firm nudge from the coaching staff.
“I think the main thing for us to get to this point was just working hard,” said Wudrick, who has 12 goals and three assists in 24 games. “I know for myself when I was a healthy scratch about a month ago, that was kind of a wake-up call for me. I took that to heart, I just tried to work really hard, working harder in the gym, harder at practise. I think it’s translated to results on the ice.”
Wudrick is looking these days a lot more like the player the Rockets hoped he would be as a 20-year-old veteran leader with offensive talent.
Rockets head coach Ryan Huska said Wudrick’s re-emergence as a scoring threat has taken the heat off the rest of the team.
“Intsead of looking at one line to handle the bulk of the scoring, we now have two that are getting the job done,” Huska said. “It takes the pressure off our young guys, and it’s your older guys that you want handling that responsibility. Geordie is getting rewarded because he’s working hard and the team is benefitting from that.”
Wudrick has been known as a streaky player during his WHL career, as evidenced by an 11-game drought last year with Swift Current, as well as this year’s hot and cold stretches with Kelowna.
With the help of linemates Evan Bloodoff and Andreas Stene, it’s a label Wudrick would like to shed once and for all.
“For everyone consistency is a tough thing to master, especially when you’re relied upon to score goals,” he said. “For me, if you’re not scoring, you’re not doing your job out there. Hopefully I can keep it going and help the team win in any way I can. We’ve got some good chemistry going with Evan and Andreas right now, so hopefully that’ll continue too.”
The start of Wudrick’s and his team’s hot streak also happened to coincide with Movember, a moustache-growing exercise that raises funds and awareness for prostate cancer.
Sporting his own thatch of hair above his upper lip, Wudrick wondered this week if he should tamper with what’s been working.
“We’re pretty hot right now, we’ll have to see what the boss decides, whether to keep them or not,” he said with a smile. “It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s for a good cause, too.”
Rockets Shots…The Rockets (14-11-0-0) won 10 of 11 games in November and are within two points of top spot in the B.C. Division…Kelowna will host Seattle Wednesday, 7 p.m. at Prospera Place…The Rockets will visit Chilliwack Friday.