Friday, March 20, 2009

Rockets Notes vs. Blazers

Tonight’s Preview: Welcome to the 2009 WHL Playoffs. The Kelowna Rockets host the Kamloops Blazers in game one of a best of seven Western Conference quarter final series. Game two is tomorrow night with games three and four back in Kamloops next Tuesday and Wednesday night. The Rockets have qualified for the playoffs in 13 of the 14 seasons in Kelowna. The Rockets have missed the playoffs only once over that period, failing to make the grade in 2007. Nine members of this year’s squad remain from the 2006-2007 team that failed to make the playoffs.

Here We Go Again: This opening round playoff series marks the fourth time these two teams have met in the playoffs. All previous playoff series between these two teams have been first round affairs. In the 1992 playoffs the Tacoma Rockets fell in four straight games to the Blazers. In 1999 the Blazers eliminated the Rockets in 6 games while in 2002 the Rockets eliminated the Blazers in four straight.

In Case You Are Wondering: Last season the Rockets were involved in an opening round playoff series with Seattle. The Rockets won the first two games in Seattle before losing 3-2 in overtime in game three back in Kelowna. In fact the road team won the first four games of the series before the home team won the final three games. The Rockets lost in seven games to the T-Birds, four games to three.

Game One Playoff Success: Since the start of 2000, the Rockets are 4 and 4 in game one of an opening round playoff series. In game two the Rockets are an impressive 7 and 1. The only loss over that period was in 2000 when the Rockets lost both games of an opening round playoff series in Prince George.

Playoff Experience: Overage forward Ian Duval leads the Rockets in playoff experience with 42 games under his belt. Duval was part of a Calgary Hitmen team that went all the way to the Eastern Conference final last season before losing out in four straight games to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

Heading into Post Season: The Rockets head into the playoffs riding a season high eight game winning streak. Over that period the Rockets out-scored the opposition 32-12. In the big picture the Rockets enter tonight’s game with one loss in their last thirteen games (12-1-0-0), and just two regulation losses in their last 25 games (20-2-1-2).

The Season That Was: The Rockets finished in third place in the Western Conference, three points up on the fourth place Spokane Chiefs and three behind the second place Tri City Americans. The Rockets scored the second most goals in the Western Conference this season and the 5th most overall. Defensively, the Rockets allowed the third fewest goals against in the Western Conference behind only Vancouver and Spokane. The Rockets won the 4th most home games in the WHL (28). Only Calgary (32), VancouverTri City (30) had more home ice wins. The Rockets had the 4th best penalty killing unit in the league and the 5th best power play.

That’s A Fact Jack: Rockets forward Colin Long has led the Rockets in scoring in back-to-back seasons. It marks just the second time in franchise history a player has earned the team scoring title. Allan Egeland led the Tacoma Rockets with 113 points in 1992-93 and then put up 76 points in the 1993-94 season. Long led the team in points with 100 last season and managed 91 points this year….Name the last team the Rockets beat in the playoffs? Answer – Kootenay Ice. The Rockets won that first round series in 2006…The Rockets have won 7 of their last 8 road games. The only stumble over that period was a 3-2 loss in Red Deer February 27th….Colin Long had 191 points over his last two seasons. Only Jason Deleurme has registered more points in back-to-back seasons, collecting 194 points from 1996-1998…Ian Duval ends his WHL career with 202 career points…The Rockets scored 267 goals this season, nineteen more than all of last season. More impressively, the Rockets allowed 37 fewer goals against then a season ago…The Rockets had 19 road wins this season, two more than last season….The Rockets had 7 more home wins than in 2007-2008.

Very Interesting! Rockets assistant coach Ryan Cuthbert was the captain when the Rockets beat the Blazers in the 2002 playoffs….The Rockets won 28 times on home ice this season, the most home ice wins since the club recorded 30 victories in the 2004-2005 campaign…Kyle St. Denis will miss his 14th straight game tonight with a head injury suffered against Chilliwack February 18th…Ian Duval played in 331 career WHL regular season games….Mark Guggenberger has won his last eight starts and has won thirteen of his last sixteen and has earned points in 19 of his last 21 appearances…The Rockets were 23-2-0-1 when Colin Long scored…The Rockets are 21-5-1-3 in thirty games since the trade deadline…Mitchell Callahan had 20 fighting majors this season as a 17 year-old. Teammate Curt Gogol – also 17 – hasd17. Veteran Ryley Grantham had 17 fighting majors. The Rockets had five players with 100 or more penalty minutes…Jamie Benn was named the Rockets MVP at the hockey clubs awards banquet Tuesday night. Colin Long was named the top scorer and most sportsmanlike while Tyler Myers was the top defenseman. Adam Brown was named the rookie of the year while Lucas Bloodoff was named the top defensive forward and humanitarian of the year…The Rockets finished the month of March 7-0-0-0, the first time in franchise history the team has been undefeated in the month.


entropyyy said...

is it a fair to compare "KSD" to Marion Gaborik? as in amazing when he can go,scores big goals and is an offensive threat,but gets injured way too much?

either way i'll be keeping my eyes on this one. Bad time to be a Blazers fan.

Regan Bartel said...

St D. should practice with the team early next week, so games 3 or 4 possibly?