Monday, May 4, 2009

Trade Deadline Players Are Difference Makers in Game Three

  • Fists used as sledge hammers during the regular season have handed the Calgary Hitmen a staggering blow in the Western Hockey League championship series. Ryley Grantham, who amassed 17 fighting majors this season, scored the game winning goal in the first period leading the Kelowna Rockets to a 2-0 win over the Hitmen, and a 3-0 lead in the best of seven series. It was Grantham's second game winning goal of the playoffs after turning the trick in a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League Western Conference final.
  • While Grantham scored the game winner, 20 year-old Mark Guggenberger recording his 3rd playoff shutout, making 21 saves. Guggenberger, the games first star, was at his best in the third period when the Hitmen out-shot the Rockets 10-2 as they tried desperately to score the equalizing goal. Here is a video of 'Guggs' getting named the games first star.

video

  • Shutting out the Hitmen is no small feat. Calgary scored the most goals in the WHL during the regular season and were one of few teams not held off the scoreboard this season. It was another solid defensive effort by the Rockets, who limited the visitors to just 11 shots on goal through 40 minutes.
  • The biggest hit of the game came late in the third period when Cody Almond ran over Hitmen defenceman Keith Seabrook. The hit saw Seabrook's helmet come off, much to the delight of the capacity crowd that jeered Seabrook every time he touched the puck. It was Seabrook who knocked Jamie Benn out of game two with a huge hit.
  • The Rockets played this game without injured forward Jamie Benn. It is nothing new for a franchise that was without two key players in the 2005 playoffs but found a way to win. In the opening round the Rockets were without Shea Weber, yet eliminated the Vancouver Giants in 6 games. To make matters worse, the Rockets would lose starting goaltender Derek Yeomans in game one of the league final only to see backup Kristofer Westblom lead the Rockets to a championship title.
  • Only four minor penalties were called in game four. Two other penalties were also called, but those were offsetting minors. The Rockets were 0 for 3 on the power play while the Hitmen received just one chance with the extra man.
  • Infractions will be overlooked in a series of this magnitude, but when Mitchell Callahan gets cross-checked in the back of the head in the second period, I have to shake my head.
  • The Rockets have scored an empty net goal in all three games.
  • The Rockets have now won 6 straight playoff games.
  • Alan Caldwell informs me that the Hitmen lost four straight to Lethbridge in the 2008 Eastern Conference finals. I won't argue with that considering Alan's amazing work with numbers.
  • The Rockets have out-scored the Hitmen 10-3 in the three games.
  • Calgary Flames GM Darryl Sutter was again in attendance.
  • Former Rockets captain, now Montreal Canadiens defenceman Josh Gorges took in the game.

13 comments:

Jared Comeau said...

For what it's worth Regan....with his lap, he still does not look in the least bit satisfied.....Thats a good thing!!!!

dav said...

they sure did ..Hats off to grantham i guess he is a finesse player when needed.The first period was so wired .The whole calgary team seemed mesmerized by the energy in the building.I guess the 7th player is getting under their skin...One more chance to cheer for the boys on wednesday and hopefully they finish their championship at home.. Cant wait..GO ROCKETS GO

J.S. said...

Regan IMO that was the worst reffed game all year. Just cause the leagues darlings are losing this series Savage is ignoring blatant fouls? This game should have been a power play filled blowout....brutal....

Richard said...

^^ he knows we've got more to win,gotta gear up for that now.

and regan,correct me if i'm wrong,but EVERY time a player goes down the fans want a penalty,but in reality,i'd say a solid 50% of those were probably calls that could have been made. Not just saying from a kelowna point of view,but the hitmen got cheap shotted a bit aswell. none-the-less i'll stop my complaining,i'm bummed i don't get the seat i was at last night,right past the faceoff circle at the visiting end to your left,i was going to make a sign that said "HI REGAN" and hope you'd snap a picture,but i'm in row F wednesday :(

Richard said...

and to add with that post,did you know mr backlund has his own blog? don't worry regan only the people that can read swedish will be able to read/post there,but the pictures are still rather amusing.

http://bloggis.se/mickis89/sidan0

fan said...

Regan said HELLO to Westblom walking around in the intermission

grinder said...

Keep it up Rockets!

Karen said...

Hey Regan check out the quote on the Rockets calendar for May
"Expect victory and you make victory. (Preston Bradley)
Quite fitting.

Jared Comeau said...

Yes, Kris Westblom was again in attendance (2nd straight game) sitting in the seats of his WHL Billets. It was good chatting with him the last two games and seeing what he's been up to. He was also with another WHL alumnist at his side, I cannot remember the kid's name but he did mention he played for the Hitmen once upon a time.

Regan Bartel said...

Jason MacDonald?

george said...

Is it my imagination or are the Hitman not hitting Backland like they are attacking for example Long. Keep rolling Rockets

Keep the noise up I think it really helps the team get energized.

Jared Comeau said...

Nah I BELIEVE it was Lee Zalasky...He mentioned playing College and Lee Zalasky whom plays for UofA Golden Bears played for the Hitmen....

Coreyg said...

Checked out Backlunds blog..yah I dont read sweedish so well but those pics are really funny!!