Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets and Portland Winterhawks are meeting for the first time in the playoffs since the Rockets re-located to Kelowna for the start of the 1995-96 season. These two teams met just four times this season, with the Hawks out-scoring the Rockets 18-9. The Rockets lost the first three meetings by scores of 4-2, 6-1 and 5-1 before winning 5-3 back on January 14th. Game two in this playoff series goes Sunday afternoon (5 pm) before the series shifts back to Kelowna for games three and four next Tuesday and Wednesday. The Rockets are coming off a four game sweep of Prince George in round one. The Rockets out-scored the Cougars 22-13 and averaged 4.4 goals per game.
Playoff Experience: Geordie Wudrick and Tyson Barrie lead the Rockets in playoff experience with 45 games apiece. Overage d-man Zak Stebner has 31 games of playoff experience after playing in 23 games last season with the WHL champion Calgary Hitmen.
Who’s Hot: Geordie Wudrick has 17 career playoff goals….Tyson Barrie has 38 playoff points.
This and That: The Rockets are involved in the second round of the playoffs for a third straight season….The Rockets are opening the second round of the WHL playoffs on the road for a third consecutive season as well….The Rockets are riding a six game losing streak in Portland dating back to March 2, 2008. The Rockets were a 2-1 winner on that night. Evan Bloodoff was 17 and Tyson Barrie was 16 at the time….The Rockets are playing at the Rose Garden for the first time since 2006. Derek Yeomans was in goal and Tyler Spurgeon scored the lone goal in a 2-1 loss on March 4, 2006….Evan Bloodoff returns to the lineup tonight after missing the first four games of an opening round playoff series because of a suspension in the final game of the regular season….The Rockets had 16 fewer points than the Hawks during the regular season….Jason Siebert is missing his 52nd straight game after undergoing surgery on his wrist….The Rockets allowed the fewest goals against on the road in the WHL this season (93 – tied with Red Deer)….The Rockets were involved in twenty-six (26) one goal games this season. The Rockets were 18-7-0-1 in those twenty-six (26) one goal games…Only three players dressed in all 72 regular season games this season. They were Zach Franko, Kevin Smith and Evan Bloodoff.…The Rockets received the second most power play chances of any team in the WHL this season (383). Tri City led the league with 385 opportunities.…The Rockets (6-0), Portland (5-0) and Swift Current (5-0) were the only three teams in the WHL this season that did not lose in overtime….The Rockets allowed the second (tied with Red Deer) fewest power play goals against in the WHL (51). Only Spokane allowed fewer goals against…The Hawks scored 63 more goals than the Rockets this season…The Rockets allowed 26 fewer goals against than Portland…Nineteen year-old Max Adolph is missing his 19th straight game after suffering a concussion February 16th.