Most WHL coaches would admit when they throw line combinations together, it’s more like a game of chance than a sure thing.
That’s why Kelowna Rockets’ staff might be feeling as though they’ve hit the jackpot with the Evan Bloodoff-Colton Sissons-Geordie Wudrick forward unit.
The Rockets trio has connected for 17 goals and 34 points in the last eight games, a stretch which has seen Kelowna go 6-2.
The 17-year-old Sissons leads the way with five goals and 14 points, Wudrick, 20, has seven goals and four assists, while fellow over-ager Bloodoff has registered five goals and nine points during the eight-game span.
With head man Ryan Huska away at the world juniors in mid-December, assistants Ryan Cuthbert and Dan Lambert put the trio together hoping to find some chemistry. And once Bloodoff, Sissons and Wudrick became comfortable with one another’s tendencies, the experiment began to yield big results.
“I think they each bring individual things, and when you put them together you get a pretty effective line,” said Huska. “Evan brings energy, physical play and forces a lot of loose pucks. Colton comes in behind to pick up those pucks, he’s become quite a play maker and he’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. Geordie’s doing a really good job of finding open ice and he’s capitalizing on his chances. They’ve been consistently our best line, night in and night out.”
For Wudrick’s part, the rapid development of Sissons as a player has complimented the veteran qualities that both he and Bloodoff bring to the ice.
“One of the main things has been Sissons, how well he’s played and how he’s growing as player,” said Wudrick who leads the Rockets with 37 goals. “He pitches in with ideas off the ice, too, and he feels confident playing with a couple of older guys.
“Evan and I enjoy playing together as well and it’s clicking between us right now. The main thing is we’re all working hard and that’s why, I think, it’s been going well for us.”
Still, as thrilled as the coaches are with the the trio’s production, there is a potential downside to having 60 per cent of the club’s scoring—17 of the last 28 goals— coming from one line.
“Those kinds of stats make you a little nervous, too,” Huska added. “Ideally, you’d like to have other lines contributing a little bit more.
“Hopefully when we get (forward) Brett Bulmer back from his injury, we’ll find a little more balance in our scoring.”
Rocket Shots…The Rockets will host Chillwack Friday and Lethbridge on Saturday night…Kelowna (37-25-0-1) leads Vancouver by four points for top spot in the B.C. Division…Rookie forward Tyrell Goulbourne, 17, scored his first WHL goal in Wednesday’s 6-2 win over Kamloops…The Rockets will be without F Brett Bulmer (leg, one week), D Mitchell Chapman (head, week to week), Max Adolph (head, week to week) and Jason Siebert (scafoid, two weeks) for this weekend’s action.