Friday, March 28, 2008

Taking One On the Chin in Game Five

  • The Seattle Thunderbirds made a statement in game five Thursday night with a solid 6-2 win. The Rockets had a good opening shift which resulted in the games first goal, but after that it was all Seattle. The T-Birds would score goals just 1:17 apart before David Richard's weak wrist shot ended Kristofer Westblom's night, as the home team carried a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
  • Coach Ryan Huska elected to lift Westblom after the T-Birds 3rd goal, allowing Torrie Jung to see his first action in the WHL playoffs. Jung allowed 3 goals on 20 shots and will likely get the start in game six Saturday.
  • I didn't believe the T-Birds had momentum heading into game five Thursday night, but they sure do now after last night's win. The T-Birds have won 3 straight games in this series, scoring 12 goals in the last two games.
  • It marked the first time in this series that the home team has won a game in this best of seven. The Rockets host the T-Birds Saturday in game six, facing a must win situation. A victory forces game seven back in Seattle Tuesday night.
  • For the first time in this series we were blessed with solid officiating. Andy Thiessen and Derek Zalaski called a great game, and didn't try to out-do one another. Why were the Rockets and T-Birds granted such a solid officiating crew? Because their were no other games in the WHL playoffs.
  • The T-Birds played a great home game, just to bad nobody was there to see it. It was a shame that this skilled T-Bird club has to leave the building in celebration after a solid effort to a handful of fans. The game saw just over 25 hundred in attendance, but it felt like far less.
  • I applaud Rockets defenseman Tysen Dowzak for fighting T-Birds tough guy Benn Olson late in the game. Olson hacked Collin Bowman before the puck was dropped at center ice, so Dowzak promptly moved in and dropped the mitts with Olson. Olson may have gotten the upper hand by a hair, but Dowzak stood in there and did a tremendous job. Why we don't see that more from Dowzak is beyond me.
  • James McEwan made a bee-line to T-Birds goaltender Riku Helenius once the buzzer sounded and made contact with the Finnish netminder. Helenius wasn't hurt, but T-Birds defenseman Scott Jackson wrestled with McEwan before the linesman separated the two. McEwan wanted to leave the Key Arena with a lasting impression, in what could be his final junior game in the place where it all began.
  • Dale Tallon, the GM of the Chicago Blackhawks took in last night's game. John Davidson of the St. Louis Blues was also expected to be in the building, but I didn't see him.
  • Special thanks to Andy Kemper for helping me on Thursday's broadcast.


g.k said...

Well Regan I believe were going to need the goaltender to steal this series for us, but I don't see that happening, do you? I know Westy had his 21st b-day on Wednesday, I hope he didn't over celebrate it with some of the other boy's because according to Huska's comments in the paper, no one showed up last night. Agreed?

hocus_lopez said...

Concerning the change in momentum, I agree it is now with Seattle. however, I would argue "mo" started to swing towards Seattle during games three and four when two significant events took place.

Things initially started to swing Seattle's way when the puck was dropped in OT in game three. From that point on the Rockets looked every bit of their immaturity. They appeared confused, overmatched, and incapable of competing with the T-Birds.

Although they competed well in game 4, they never really had "mo" on their side until the third period when both Long and St. Denis scored. At that point it looked like momentum might go the Rockets way, until Barrie got caught pinching on the PP and the T-Birds scored short handed. To me that was the final defining moment of the shift in momentum.

Like I said before, I understand this is a young team, and they competed well in 4 of the 5 games in this series. I just hope they leave everything they have out on the ice Sat night, and that all of the players compete with the determination that brought victories in games 1 and 2. If they do that, they can wrestle momentum and the series from the T-birds.

To paraphrase a notable quote from a prominent Rocket, the boys need to finish this series without any regrets.

Good luck on Sat, and I hope to see them win in Seattle on Monday night.

Regan Bartel said...

Good thoughts hocus lopez, and I love your contribution to what you see. Momentum is a strange thing, but it can be recaptured at home Saturday night in front of the home faithful. Just make life tough for the T-Birds, something they didn't do in game five in the teams worst game of the series. Was Seattle good? Sure. But were the Rockets awful? Yes!