Tonight’s Preview: The Rockets and Americans are meeting for the 4th time in the WHL playoffs since the team re-located to Kelowna, and for the second consecutive playoff in round two. Last season the Rockets beat the Americans in a hard fought six game series. The Americans would win the first two games at home before the Rockets would win the next four games to advance to the Western Conference final against Vancouver. The Rockets are playing in the second round courtesy of a seven game series win over Everett in the opening round. The Rockets dropped the first two games in Everett before winning games three and four on home ice. After the two teams won at home in game five and six, the Rockets earned a 2-1 win in Everett in game seven Monday night. Game one and two of this second round series are in Tri City tonight and tomorrow, with games three and four back in Kelowna Tuesday and Wednesday night. If a game five is necessary, it will be played Friday April 9th back at the Toyota Centre. The Rockets are making their 18th appearance in the WHL playoffs in 19 seasons as an organization. The only playoff miss was back in 2006-2007.
Tri City Season Series: The Rockets and Americans met four times this season. The Rockets were 0-4-0-0 and were out-scored 20-5. The schedule saw the Rockets play the Americans four times in the first 31 games. After December 5th, these two teams failed to play one another. The Rockets were 4 for 25 (16%) on the power play in the four games while the Am’s were 4 for 19 (21.1%) with the extra man.
Scoring by period in seasonal series:
Period: 1 2 3 OT Totals
Rockets: 1 2 2 0 5
Americans: 7 7 6 0 20
Looking closer: As was the case in a round playoff series with Everett, the Rockets had 21 fewer points than the Americans during the regular season. The Americans scored 48 more goals while the Rockets allowed 32 more goals against. The Americans were granted the second most power play chances in the league (368) during the regular season. Only Calgary had more power play chances (372). Kelowna had the third most chances with the extra man (364 – tied with Medicine Hat).
Game Day Tidbits: Lucas Bloodoff scores big goals in the playoffs. Bloodoff had the game winner in game seven against the Tips in round one. Bloodoff scored three goals in last years second round playoff series against the Americans. Bloodoff scored in game one, three and five. Bloodoff also scored in game four against Vancouver in the conference final and then in game six of the WHL final…..Geordie Wudrick has eight playoff goals. That leads the WHL in goals scored in this years playoffs….Six players on the Rockets roster have 36 games of WHL playoff experience. Lucas Bloodoff (9+8=17), Brandon McMillan (0+12=12), Tyson Barrie (6+25=31 points), Collin Bowman (1+7=8) and Geordie Wudrick (14+5=19) lead the way…Wudrick’s eight goals in a playoff series is a franchise record. Jesse Schultz had five goals in a playoff series against Red Deer in the 2003 WHL final…Mark Guggenberger is 4 and 1 in this years playoffs. Guggenberger is facing the Americans for the first time since game one of last years WHL playoff series. It is almost one year to the day since Guggenberger faced the Am’s after losing game one of last years second round series on April 3, 2009….Tyson Barrie led the Rockets offensively in the opening round with 9 points (2+7=9). Barrie had points in five of the seven games in the opening round…Brandon McMillan has a point in six of seven games in this years playoffs. McMillan was held off the scoreboard in game five…McMillan leads the Rockets with a +6 rating in the playoffs….Shane McColgan, Antoine Corbin, Codey Ito, Brett Bulmer and Spencer Main all scored their first career playoff goals in round one….The Rockets opened the scoring just once in seven games against the Tips in the opening round….Guggenberger has started four straight playoff games after relieving Adam Brown in game three of the Everett series….Geordie Wudrick is playing in the month of April for only the second time in his WHL career. Wudrick was with the Swift Current Broncos in a second round playoff series against the Calgary Hitmen in 2008….Americans head coach Jim Hiller and Rockets assistant coach Dan Lambert were both selected in the 1989 NHL draft. Lambert was selected by Quebec in the 6th round while Hiller was chosen by the LA Kings in the 10th round….Lucas Bloodoff was a 6rd round pick of the Americans in the 2004 WHL Bantam draft….Riley McIntosh, now with the Americans, was the Rockets second round pick in the 2005 WHL Bantam draft.
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