Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rockets get their slingshot ready!

Without question the second round playoff series between the Kelowna Rockets and Portland Winterhawks resembles the biblical story of David vs. Goliath.
The Hawks are clearly Goliath while the Rockets assume the role of David.
The Hawks had 16 more points than the Rockets during the regular season. Portland manufactured 50 wins; only one of two teams in the WHL to accomplish the feat. Those 50 wins were seven more than the Rockets forty-three.
Where the two teams are widely separated was in goals scored. The Hawks had 303 goals this season, 63 more than the Rockets or about a goal more per game.
While the Hawks were clearly the better team in the offensive zone, the Rockets allowed 26 few goals against.
For the Rockets, clearly this series will be won or lost in their own end and goaltender Adam Brown can't just be the Rockets best player...he needs to be the best player on the ice for either team for the Rockets to have a chance. Quality scoring chances will be given up against the Hawks, but it's limiting those pin-point quality opportunities that will be the greatest challenge.
A commitment to defense is pivotal to succeed. Run and gun and this series will be as quick as the last one both of these teams experienced in round one.
Power play success was a mirror image during the regular season. The Rockets had more power play chances (383 compared to 331) but the two teams scored the same number of power play goals (74).
As one scout told me, "the Hawks are physically bigger, have more depth and are built to win it all this season. The Rockets are BC Division champs but few, including myself are giving them much of a chance."
The scout wanted to remain anonymous and can you blame him after that honest assessment?
So using the David vs. Goliath analogy in this series isn't that far fetched.
It's interesting to note that the Israelites said when they saw Goliath, "He is so big we can't win." But David took one look at Goliath and said, "he is so big I can't miss."
What a great way of looking at beating an opponent who is bigger, stronger and is projected to win.
The Rockets have five days to get their slingshot ready!

This is the schedule of the series as released by the WHL Saturday night:

#1 - Kelowna @ Portland Thurs. April 7 7:00pm RG
#2 - Kelowna @ Portland Sun. April 10 5:00pm RG
#3 - Portland @ Kelowna Tues. April 12 7:05pm
#4 - Portland @ Kelowna Wed. April 13 7:05pm
#5 - Kelowna @ Portland Fri. April 15 7:00pm** RG
#6 - Portland @ Kelowna Sun. April 17 5:05pm**
#7 - Kelowna @ Portland Tues. April 19 7:00pm** RG

RG – Rose Garden


MG said...

Adam Brown is the Rockets saving grace in this series. He can win games for them but the rest of the team has got to play their best hockey of the season for them to win the series. Hopefully the size of the hawks does not wear them down too much.

jaz301 said...

This is defiantly not going to be an easy series for the rockets. They are going to have to be like rockets and come out flying, but conserve their energy. They can not just lay back and hope Brown will lead them to the win because Portland is to good of a team for that to happen.

This could be an interesting series. If the rockets play hard, then this series will go the distance if not then it will be over in 4. No getting lucky and only playing 20min and winning. Not when you are playing Portland.

fax said...

Good Day Regan - As a Winterhawks fan, I must disagree with you as far as the style of play that the Rockets need to play in the upcoming series.

Since both teams showed great offensive firepower in their opening round series (scoring 22 goals each), I would urge you to chat with Coach Huska and suggest that the Rockets try to play "race horse" hockey with Portland and try and get the games into a "finishing and skill" contest.

Yes... Regan - tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Enjoy your lengthy stay in the Rose City and remember ... the best thing about a stay in Oregon - NO SALES TAX!

Regan Bartel said...

Thanks for visiting fax. Oh yes, no sales tax. Man I love Oregon! I am really looking forward to the visit, specifically because the games are being played at the Rose Garden. Hockey in to love it!!