Friday, March 23, 2007
Rockets representation in WHL Playoffs - Sort Of!
The Kelowna Rockets will be well represented in this years Western Hockey League playoffs.
Or should I say their alumni will be!
Fans of Kelowna born Clayton Bauer will be watching as the Kootenay Ice open a best of seven series with the Calgary Hitmen.
You have to hand it to Bauer for a tremendous season with the Ice.
Dealt to Kootenay for goaltender Daniel Salamandyk this season, the now 20 year-old had 24 goals and 52 points, which for the record would been good enough to lead the Rockets in scoring this season.
Bauer was a power forward with so much potential when he was originally acquired by the Rockets from the Swift Current Broncos, but he never found his groove in K-Town.
Half of the problem revolved around him playing on a team last season which had so much talent among the forwards, that Bauer saw a limited role, and was requested to have more of a defensive mindset when in the back of his mind, he saw himself as a physical force with an offensive upside.
Bauer's new lease on life in Kootenay allowed him to expand his horizons and play more of an offensive game under Head Coach Cory Clouston, while still being responsible defensively with a +16 rating.
Bauer brings 36 playoff games of experience to the Ice this post season, second only to veteran Curtis Billsten, who has 38 post season games played.
Fans will also be watching with interest as three former Rockets, now members of the Regina Pats open their playoff series against Swift Current.
Troy Ofukany, Kirt Hill and Kaspars Saulieitis were sent to the Pats for Jason McDonald, Justin Bernhardt and Kyle St. Denis in a early December deal.
Ofukany ended the regular season with 25 goals, the exact total he scored in two previous seasons with the Rockets when he broke into the league in the 2004-2005 season.
When Ofukany was sent to the Pats in December, he put up 13 goals in 40 games, but had just 4 goals in his final 23 regular season games.
Not exactly stellar numbers heading into the best time of the year.
Ofukany brings with him 36 games of playoff experience though, with all three of his playoff goals over that period coming against Everett in last years Western Conference semi final series.
Kirt Hill didn't set the world on fire when he was obtained by the Pats, putting up just 3 goals in 40 games.
Hill brings just 15 games of playoff experience to the Pats, and just two playoff goals to his credit. Both of those came in an opening round playoff series with Kootenay last March.
Saulietis actually had a pretty good year, scoring 19 goals - 9 with the Rockets and 10 with the Pats.
Seventeen points in 35 games with the Pats has to have coach Curtis Hunt pretty happy.
Now it will interesting to see if he can elevate his play in the playoffs.
Don't forget Derek Yeomans. The 20 year-old will lead the Seattle Thunderbirds into battle against the Tri Americans. The former Rockets goaltender will play in his 34th career playoff game this evening.
Former Rocket Brent Howarth is involved in Manitoba Junior Hockey League playoff hockey. Howarth and the Selkirk Steelers have a 3-0 lead in their division final with the Winnipeg Saints.
Howarth had 49 regular season goals for the Steelers this season, and would like nothing better than to play for a Royal Bank title next month in Prince George.
How interesting it would have been had Howarth hung around for his 20-year old season. How many goals would he have scored with the Rockets as an overage?
Rockets prospect Kyle St. Denis is also alive in the playoffs, all be it as a member of the Vernon Vipers.
St. Denis and the Vipers lead their series 3 games to 1 over Trail, with a possible date with Penticton in the conference final.
St. Denis is a guarantee to play for the Rockets next season.
So while the Rockets failed to advance to the playoffs, it's time to cheer for the players mentioned above, who brought us some exciting moments over the last couple of years at Prospera Place.
As we approach game one of the start of the playoffs tonight, home ice is truly the advantage when it comes to post season play.
Of the 8 opening round playoff series last season, 6 of the 8 games saw the home team the winner on opening night.
The exception last season was Calgary pulling off a one goal win in Lethbridge while Kootenay used overtime in a victory in Kelowna.
In 2005, the home team won game one of the opening round 5 out of the 8 times.
Only one team in the 1st round of last years W.H.L playoffs beat an opponent that had more points than them in the standings.
The Portland Winter Hawks, despite failing to have home ice advantage beat Seattle in 7 games in the opening round.
The Hawks had 4 fewer points than the T-Birds during the regular season, yet provided the upset in round one.
Only two series in last years playoffs went to a game 7.
Portland eliminated Seattle in round one while Moose Jaw used 7 games to dispose of Calgary in round two.
Now - let the games begin!
- ► 2012 (236)
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- ► 2009 (515)
- ► 2008 (396)
- Media Making Up Nonsense
- No Surprise in Cougar Sweep!
- Seto Sensational - Just ask the Blazers
- Overtime Ecstasy!
- Shouldering the Load come Playoff Time
- Can Sexy repeat what Blackburn did?
- Giants Questioning Goaltending?
- Swanny enjoying playoff hockey in Swifty!
- Rockets representation in WHL Playoffs - Sort Of!
- Fedoruk fed his Lunch Again!
- Rockets Get 2nd Overall Pick in Draft
- Farts and Giggles in the Broadcast Booth
- Barthel Plays Pro Saturday Night!
- Looking into the Crystal Ball
- New WHL Rule Changes made little Difference
- Truitt wears Team Canada Colors
- Jeff Truitt represents Canada
- Handing out the Hardware
- And the Winner Is....
- Emotional Ending from an Unlikely Source
- Rockets Game Notes vs. Cougars
- A Tearful Goodbye?
- Pride Prevailed!
- Game Notes vs the Blazers
- W.H.L Hockey tests the Mind - Body and Soul
- Is Truitt on the Move?
- Q and A with Rockets G.M Bruce Hamilton
- That Humble Pie is tough to Swallow!
- The biggest game of the year, and we ain't play'n
- Riding down the road with the Rockets
- Calling on the hockey Gods - Rockets Need Help!
- Casualties of War!
- First two shifts a facade in Rockets loss
- Radio Call in Shows - What's the Point?
- Woe is Me - It's Three in Three
- Torrie Terrific in Overtime Effort
- The Rockets need to 'Reid' and React
- Getting the Dirt from Doerksen
- For the Rockets it's Magic # Time!
- Will the WHL champs ever reside in Saskatchewan?
- Truitt's gamble falls short..was it worth rolling ...
- Was Prince George Prime for the Picking?
- A Character effort in Cougar Country
- Rockets Game Notes vs. Cougars
- A Ray of Sunshine
- Lorne Molleken is to Blame!
- Forgetable February
- ▼ March (47)