Saturday, April 4, 2009

Late Power Play Goal Gives Americans 1-0 Series Lead

  • I have mixed feelings about the game one loss. On one hand I thought the Rockets top players could have played better, yet to lose by a single goal without Almond, Benn or Long generating much in the way of offense has me believing good things await the Rockets in game two. That said, it won't come automatically, not against a team like Tri City. But better execution and better use of line mates can only translate into quality offensive chances.
  • The Rockets best line in game one was Ryley Grantham, Mitchell Callahan and Evan Bloodoff. I thought that line was consistently strong. They too had shortcomings, but were the best trio the Rockets were able to ice.
  • No excuses, but the Rockets looked like a team shaking off rink rust after an 8 day layoff. You can practice all you want, but game action is a totally different animal. Against a marginal team, they would have likely gotten away with the blunders they committed, but the Americans are just too good not to capitalize on your errors.
  • In what's expected to be a long playoff series, it's how you bounce back from a loss that shows the true colours of whether you have the mental makeup to be a championship team. After winning 12 in a row, the bad taste in their mouths should resemble that of an all night bender. Only another win can take the bad taste away.
  • The Rockets 12 game winning streak came to an end Friday night. Prior to last night's setback, the Rockets last loss was in Red Deer (3-2) on February 27th.
  • Does any team, other than the Americans, do a better job of deflecting pucks that are coming towards the net? Everything from the point is tipped, redirected or deflected. It was Guggenberger's big body and excellent positioning that often made tough saves look easy.
  • Coach Ryan Huska calls a well timed 'time out' when his team is down 3-1 and what happens? The Rockets score two quick goals to make it a 3-3 tie. Huska makes some awfully good decisions, the timeout being one of them.
  • Give the Americans credit for out-shooting the Rockets 18-5 in the final frame. The Rockets best period over the last two months has been the third, yet the score-clock would prove otherwise in game one. After generating 12 shots in the first period, the Rockets had just 14 over the final 40 minutes.
  • Mark Guggenberger would likely want two of the four goals back if he could. Jarrett Toll's goal on a backhand that beat the Rockets goaltender short side could have been preventable, and Procyshen's game winner also got past Guggenberger on the short side. But the save of the game had to be on Kruise Reddick in the third period, when he had a sure goal taken away from a clear cut, in tight chance, on a great feed from behind the Rockets net. That save and a quick right pad save off of Johnny Lazo in the final frame were two beauty's.
  • Was Tyler Myers hit on Mitch Fadden late in the third period a penalty? Sure it was. The way I saw it, the hit was a bigger player making contact on a smaller man, and the bigger body won out. My view is Myers has to make the decision not to take advantage of a player who is in a vulnerable position when the two are battling for the puck. That said, how he can make that split second decision in the heat of the battle in a 3-3 game is beyond me. Was it worthy of a penalty? Sure. But lets remember that if a similar incident happens against the Americans in this series, lets be mindful of what happened in game one shall we.
  • It didn't look good as Americans overage forward Jason Reese was helped off the ice after suffering an apparent left ankle or thigh injury in the third period. Reese went to grab the area by laying on his back, but on the urging of athletic therapist Kevin Heise, was persuaded into staying on all fours before being helped off the ice. The injury happened after getting entangled with Rockets forward Colin Long.
  • You have to love the American sports fan. Friday night's crowd of 37 hundred at the Toyota Center were as loud and rowdy as any sell-out at Prospera Place. While the crowd gets involved by yelling at the officials and the other team, the sound system keeps the tempo high if the game should deteriorate on the ice. That wasn't the case in game one, as the two teams provided great entertainment. The crowd deserves credit for backing their team, the exception being some knucklehead who took his 50-50 ticket, ripped it into a thousand pieces, and threw it on the head of Rockets head coach Ryan Huska.
  • Olaf Kolzig took in last night's game. The NHL goaltender is part of an ownership group with the Tri City Americans. We were introduced to him during the morning skate. Kolzig told us he will also take in both games in Kelowna next week.

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