Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rockets One Win Away From Advancing

  • A nifty against the grain pass by Mikael Backlund from behind the net to Cody Almond at the far post provided for a tap-in opportunity in overtime, leading the Kelowna Rockets to a 3-2 win over the Kamloops Blazers, and a 3-0 lead in their opening round playoff series.
  • Almond's game winner came on the heels of the tying goal with just 3 seconds remaining in regulation time. Almond's late third period goal came courtesy of a goal mouth scramble that had linemate Mikael Backlund and Ian Duval also taking a swipe at the puck before Almond got it past Blazers goaltender Justin Leclerc.
  • The Rockets shouldn't be happy with the first period. While they out-shot the Blazers 5-3, they failed to score on 4 power play chances and ended up giving up a shorthanded goal.
  • Rockets head coach Ryan Huska must have had something to say in the first intermission because they were a different club the rest of the way. The Rockets out-shot the Blazers 28-8 in the final two period and were the better team down the stretch.
  • The third period saw the Blazers take a 2-0 lead on a power play goal, only to collapse in an attempt to protect the two goal lead. The Rockets forced the issue resulting in several key turnovers by the Blazers defensive core. You could sense the Blazers were trying not to lose rather than win the game.
  • Jamie Benn was a non-factor for the majority of the game, yet his timely goal late in the third period broke the shutout bid by Justin Leclerc. It was Benn's goal that gave the visitors the belief that they indeed had a chance to tie it, and send it into overtime.
  • With the Blazers up 1-0 in the first period, the Rockets had a goal disallowed when Jamie Benn appeared to score to tie the game at one. Yet the goal was disallowed because Colin Long interfered with the goaltender, yet wasn't given a penalty.
  • Tyler Myers again had a solid game for the Rockets. Shift in and shift out he was the best player on the ice. Even in the mistakes he made, he was quick to recover.
  • The Rockets were 0 for 8 on the power play and are now 0 for 18 in their last two games and have given up two shorthanded goals. Those poor statistics are manageable against the Blazers, but would come back to haunt them against teams like Tri City, Vancouver or Spokane.
  • Mikael Backlund's return was an impressive one. Despite missing game one and two with a upper body injury, Backlund's strong work ethic and chemistry with Ian Duval and Cody Almond made them a threat to score on every shift. Backlund was especially good at the face-off circle.
  • The overtime win was the Rockets first in the playoffs since Lucas Bloodoff's overtime winner in game six of last years playoff series with Seattle.
  • It was the Rockets first overtime playoff win on the road since Lauris Darzins scored the winner at the 12:08 mark in game four of the WHL final against the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2005.

1 comment:

grinder said...

I love how Almond decided to show up in game 3.... where has he been the past few weeks?