Rocket keeps firing

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

No one expected this kind of a season from Colton Yellow Horn.

Not even Colton Yellow Horn.

As a rookie in 2003-04, the diminutive winger put up a modest five goals and 14 points.

So he has shocked even himself with the kind of production he's enjoyed this season.

The 17-year-old left-winger leads the first-place Lethbridge Hurricanes with 48 assists and 81 points. And he's second to teammate Jonathan Filewich (38) with 33 goals.

"Coming into this year, I had no idea," Yellow Horn admits.

"I thought I could maybe put up 20 goals. But I've exceeded my expectations as well as other people's expectations."

There's no magic behind the 5-ft. 7-in., 175-pounder's sudden emergence as one of the league's most dangerous offensive weapons.

The Brocket Rocket worked his tail off during the off-season to make sure he didn't run out of gas in third periods.

"The main reason is confidence," Yellow Horn says.

"And I came to camp in a lot better shape this year. That's helped me play 60 minutes instead of 40."

While Yellow Horn has enjoyed a breakout season with one of the best teams in the WHL, there have been a few hiccups along the way.

The 'Canes 'struggled' to a 4-3-3 record in January before catching fire in February.

"We're playing phenomenal," Yellow Horn says of his squad, which has rattled off eight straight wins.

"There's a lot of confidence in the room. Everyone's more upbeat now that we're winning again.

"I think we won two games in January and everybody was getting frustrated. But now we've calmed down and we come out and work hard every night."

Lethbridge GM Darren Stocker deserves some of the credit for his club's on-ice performance after he snagged reigning WHL scoring king Tyler Redenbach from Swift Current at the WHL trade deadline.

Redenbach, who had nine points in his last six games before breaking a finger on the weekend, says Yellow Horn has always had the tools to become a major threat.

"I played against him at the start of the year," Redenbach says.

"And he seems to be around the puck when it goes in the net. He's got great hands and finds the right spot at the right time. It's not luck."

To say the Hurricanes have been opportunistic would be an understatement.

Of Lethbridge's last seven wins, four have come in overtime, including Sunday's come-from-behind 3-2 thriller over Calgary.

"We've been getting some lucky breaks but you have to work hard to get luck, too."

Still, life in the Central Division is never easy. Despite the 'Canes' current streak, their lead atop the Central Division is but three points over Medicine Hat, which has a game in hand.

"Every game is like a playoff game in this division," Yellow Horn says. "Medicine Hat, Calgary and Red Deer -- they're all up there. "

Central Scouting Service had him ranked 130th in North America at the mid-term rankings. But with the NHL lockout putting the draft on hold indefinitely, he says he isn't getting caught up in the numbers.

"I figure that's a little low but I'm not too worried about that. It's just the ranking," he said.


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