- No lead is safe. Just ask the Kelowna Rockets. Saturday night at Prospera Place the Rockets avoided playoff elimination for a second straight game with a 4-3 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Rockets had a 4-1 lead with 56 seconds left in the third period. Kelowna pugilist Tyrell Goulbourne and T-Birds enforcer Mitch Elliot each receive unsportsmanlike penalties and the ice opens up as the two teams play four on four hockey to close out the game. With the goaltender pulled for the extra attacker, the T-Birds score twice in a span of 11 seconds and put a huge scare into the Rockets by almost sending the game into overtime. The Rockets hold on for the one goal win, forcing game six in Seattle (Kent) Tuesday night.
- Nothing short of an outstanding opening period for the Rockets who dominated the T-Birds in all facets of the game. The Rockets dictated the tempo with big hits and came in waves against a Seattle team that struggled mightily to get the puck out of their own zone. The first line was as good as the fourth. The period unfortunately ended for the home team, who took a 2-0 lead into the dressing room.
- As poorly as the T-Birds played in the opening 20 minutes, they seemed to find their game in the second period. A key five on three penalty kill seemed to buy them some momentum. While Dylen McKinlay scored to make it 3-0, Seattle's Alexander Delnov responded 23 seconds later and the two teams headed into the second intermission separated by just two goals.
- Myles Bell appeared to put the game on ice when he scored with just over seven minutes to play in the game. Bell's quick wrister beat T-Birds goaltender Brandon Glover making the score 4-1. Everyone in the building, outside of the visitors were resigned to the fact we were headed to a game six. Not so fast! An ill advised pass by 16 year-old Riley Stadel to his d-partner resulted in a turnover that T-Birds forward Seth Swenson cashed in on and the tension started to build. A goal 11 second later and the home team was sweating bullets with Glover on the bench and an agonizing 26 seconds left on the clock.
- It was nice to see Colton Heffley hit the score sheet. It was his first goal in 29 games. Heffley's last goal came in late January against the T-Birds.
- Tyson Baillie continues his hot hand. The 17 year-old has a point in four of the five games in this series and is arguably the teams most dangerous forward right now.
- I sure liked Damon Severson's play. Saturday night he looked like a 2nd round NHL draft pick. Calm with the puck with quick, hard passes and solid decision making gives you a good reason why the New Jersey Devils like this player. I thought he was the best defenceman on the ice. Shea Theodore again was the T-Birds best rearguard.
- Ryan Olsen had some jump in his game and was shooting the puck more. Again an encouraging sign. I thought Heffley, Tyrell Goulbourne and Cole Linaker were also tough to play against. I hate to single guys out because several players had solid games including Cody Fowlie, who may have had his best game of this series.
- The Rockets have opened the scoring in all five games.
- The Rockets have not allowed a power play goal in this series. They are 22 for 22 on the PK.
- Rookie Austin Glover earned his first career WHL playoff point, an assist on the Rockets second goal.
- Fifteen year-old Nick Merkley made his Kelowna Rockets playoff debut. He may have had two shifts max.
- Of the 15 goals the Rockets have scored in the series, 9 have come in the first period.
- Who has momentum in this series? The T-Birds won the first three games and now the Rockets have won the last two. Seattle must be thinking the series is slipping away but the Rockets have to know full well their opponent will be treating game six Tuesday night at ShoWare Center as a game seven. The T-Birds in no way shape or form want to come back to Kelowna for a game seven.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
4-1 game turns into 4-3 final
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