For one weekend, Myles Bell basically carried the Kelowna Rockets on his back.
And while the Western Hockey League club would rather not be so reliant on individual players, head coach Ryan Huska admits it was good to see the 20-year-old forward at the top of his game.
Over the course a two-game sweep of the Kamloops Blazers, Bell scored six goals and added three assists, including scoring four times on Saturday night at Prospera Place.
“It’s the best we’ve ever seen him play here,” Huska said of Bell, who was named Monday the WHL Player of the Week. “He skated very well, he was engaged and he’s competing. He sees the net very well and he’s making the most of his chances.”
The Rockets coaching staff shifted Bell from defence to forward last season and the move paid immediate dividends. He went on to lead the team in scoring with 38 goals and 93 points. This season, after a slow start, Bell again leads the way with 35 goals and 61 points in 50 games.
As for the recent nine-point outburst, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Bell says there was no secret formula involved—he was just happy to provide his team with a boost when they needed it.
“It’s just one of those things where the puck goes in for you and you get on a bit of a roll,” said Bell. “I’m just shooting the puck and keeping it simple. If you keep working hard success will come and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.”
When it comes to the club’s play of late, Huska said the Rockets haven’t been as quite as sharp as the coaching staff would like. Still, the head coach was pleased with his club’s third period on Saturday night in a 7-3 win over the Blazers. It’s a performance Huska hopes the Rockets can build on as they play six of their next seven games on home ice.
The Rockets will host Red Deer Wednesday, then will entertain Edmonton Friday, Victoria on Saturday and Seattle on Monday afternoon.
“We have to make sure our building is a tough place to play and take advantage of this stretch,” he said. “We’ve got some heavy teams coming in, so we have to make sure we’re competing. We start with Red Deer, they’re competing for a playoff spot, so we need to be ready for them.”
With the two wins over the Blazers, the WHL-leading Rockets (42-7-0-3) officially clinched a playoff spot.