Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Carruth is no weak link on this night

  • A Portland Winterhawks fan told me before game one that the weak link for the Western Conference regular season champions was in goal. I could have bought into that theory after game one following a 5-1 Rockets win, but I wasn't buying what he was selling after what I witnessed in game three. Portland's Mac Carruth made several solid stops in the Hawks 5-4 win Tuesday night over the Kelowna Rockets. Carruth allowed four goals in the win, but timely saves as the game wore on, including a nice glove hand save on Rockets forward Geordie Wudrick after a clean face-off win by Mitchell Callahan with time winding down, was a game saver.
  • Both Carruth and Adam Brown's goals against average are going to take a beating in this series because both teams do so many good things in the attacking zone. It's those timely saves that make the difference between winning and losing.
  • Nino Niederreiter scored twice in the win, but I thought Ryan Johansen was the real reason behind the 18 year-old's success. Johansen is dangerous with the puck and you don't know whether he is going to shoot or dish the puck off. Johansen had three assists and was full marks for the games first star.
  • The Hawks opened the scoring for the first time in the series, but the Rockets did a good job of battling back. As the script has been written so far in this series, the Rockets were probably the better team through 20 minutes and had a 2-1 lead. But as we follow the script, the Hawks used a solid second period to take a 4-3 lead into the final frame. Hawks d-man Tyler Wotherspoon scored a late second period goal just 40 seconds after Rockets forward Brett Bulmer tied it at 3, allowing the Hawks to enter the intermission with a slim one goal lead. Wotherspoon scored just two goals during the regular season.
  • The Hawks ended the night going 3 for 10 on the power play. Suspect calls, or in some cases non-calls were a constant throughout the game. The Rockets had seven power play chances of their own, yet it yielded just one goal. Seventeen power play chances combined made for a lot of whistles and at times choppy play. The second period in particular took forever.
  • Shane McColgan was given a ten minute misconduct midway through the third period after he was sent to the penalty box for hooking. I have no problem with the hooking minor, but he banged his stick against the glass in the penalty box and was given an additional 10 minutes to cool his heels. Essentially the Rockets lost their top scorer for the final half of the third period. I have seen players hit the glass in the penalty box with their stick in frustration before and get no additional penalty. On this night, with less than stellar officiating from either Derek Zalaski or Colby Smith, maybe McColgan should have expected that a 10 minute misconduct would be handed his way if he even in the least bit stepped out of line?
  • Outside of the loss, the most disappointing aspect of the one goal loss was the attendance. Just over 48 hundred fans watched game three. That left close to 12 hundred seats empty in a building that is sold out during the regular season. I hear people time and time again bitching for hockey tickets during the regular season but they can't get any. Where are they now?
  • While it means little on the scoreboard, the Rockets out-shot the Hawks for the first time in the series. If you can generate close to 40 shots on goal against the Hawks, you are doing some darn good things in the offensive zone.


g.k said...

Please read my post below!! Idiots!!

devin said...

Game 3 was just as poorly officiated as Game 1... in each case the home team could not buy a break from the refs. Most of the time it was not the calls made, it was the same exact play by the other team not being called.

Let's hope game 4 has better officials.

headscratching said...

If the Rockets are going to compete in Game 4, they need to do what the Winterhawks did in Game 2: forget about the officials. Game 2 had moments that were just as poorly called as Game 1 (if not worse), but the Hawks focused only on the game and let their grit and hustle do the talking. I completely understand being livid with the officials during such a close game, but ultimately the Rockets needed to fight through more adversity than they were willing (or able) to. That needs to change tonight for them to win.

Tim said...

Kudos to Devin for stating what many of us down here in Portland are feeling... When it comes to getting jobbed out of a game... now we're even!

fax said...

Regan - a couple of comments and questions for you

1) Very solid "webcast" that you and the Rockets put on

2) Just a minor correction - both Nino and Johansen are 18 year olds not 19 year olds

Questions -

1) From a Rockets perspective ... are you worried about "fatigue" for Game 4? I thought that Huska basically played the same seven or eight players for the final period

2 I was shocked at the attendance figure - What are your reasons for the relatively small crowd last night?

headscratching said...

One more thing: Kelowna drawing 4800+ (over 80% capacity) for a Tuesday playoff game (and then you harping on that, Regan) is really a testament to how loyal and great the fans in your city are. I know the turnout was disappointing to you, but most teams in the league would give anything to get that kind of turnout on what is arguably the worst sports night of the week, attendance-wise.

Portland is a franchise that is rising quickly from the ashes, but the Hawks would love to have 4800 show up to a Tuesday night contest, playoffs or not.

Regan Bartel said...

Fax: Good call. Those two are 18 year-old junior players as they were born in 1992. That's what happens when I post my blog at 1 am!! lol

headscratching: Thanks for visiting the site. I hear you about attendance, especially a Tuesday and Wednesday date. I saw very few kids in the stands because of a school night and the kids obviously bring the parents. It's just such good hockey that you would think the average hockey fan, who can't get a ticket during the regular season, would get one now. It may not be much better tonight as the Canucks are playing the Hawks.

jaz301 said...

I have been reading stuff on FB on the WHL page and it seems that the reffing has not been that good in the playoffs. are they really doing bad officiating or is it the fans just overreacting because its the playoffs and fans get excited.

The rockets played a good game overall besides the questionable officiating. They just need to step up there game just a bit and avoid taking penalties as much as possible. You can't really score when you are shorthanded for most of the game.

As for the fans part We sell out every game during the regular season, but most of the time it is not a sellout. Many season ticket holders do not show up for games, but because it is a paid ticket they count them as there. During the playoffs it seems that season ticket holders do not get their tickets for some reason and that is why the attendance is lower. The crowd may have been low last night, but That is the loudest I have heard them all season. I guess we can thank Tim Horton's for that by supplying the noise makers.

MG said...

Well listening to other people where I work talk about tickets being $27 , I believe that the reason attendence is clear.

divad said...

Good game last night for both teams too bad we have to deal with sub par refs. Marginal calls most of the game but the rockets will have to play within the whistle i hope they can rattle Carruth he seems to be on the verge off being unglued in the firs period. Crowd was in the game for most part. Players like # 27 has to get more physical and doing so staying out of the box should be a dandy wednesday fingers crossed for some decent refs and a win for the hometown boys ...

The Man Who Nothing said...

I have added you to my quick links. Thanks for great insights. If your a Portland fan like me, this is by far the best blog for this series. Thank you.

Mike said...


First I have to echo Fax's comments on a great webcast last night. Sorry about "dumping your water bottle" via Twitter about pronunciations, but kudos on changing it up mid broadcast.

Officiating has been bad all year, the ticky tack calls and the non calls are egregious. That being said the 10min MC for slamming your stick on the glass have been handed out like condoms before prom all year. I don't agree with it but it is what it is. The officials just need to realize that they aren't the stars of the show, just call the game and quit trying to dictate the pace.

As far as attendance goes, we experienced the same thing in game 1. Thurs. night game on short notice, and a mediocre crowd, about 80% of capacity for the Rose Garden.

Keep up the great work, I'm homering it up at work tonight so I will have to rely on the radio web stream.


Regan Bartel said...

Hey Mike. Thanks for leaving a comment. Good to hear from you. Trust me when I say this...if Johansen did the same thing as McColgan did and received the 10 min misconduct, I'd be shaking my head. If he is ranting and raving in there like a wild bull, ok, give him the 10. But this is the playoffs...the ref has to make a better read on the situation than that.
I like your condom reference though. Your hired as my colour man for game 5!