Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets open the 2013 Western Hockey League playoffs tonight in game one of a best of seven opening round playoff series against the Seattle Thunderbirds. Game one is tonight with game two tomorrow at Prospera Place. Games three and four are back in Seattle (Kent) next Tuesday (March 26th) and Wednesday (March 27th). If a game five is necessary, it will be played Saturday March 30th in Kelowna. These two teams are meeting for the 5th time in the playoffs. The two teams have met in 2008, 2005, 2003 and 2001. It marks the second straight playoffs that the Rockets open against a U.S based team after facing the Portland Winterhawks in the opening round last season. These two teams met four times during the regular season with the Rockets winning 3 of the 4 games (3-1-0-0) and out-scoring the T-Birds 18-8. The Rockets enter the playoffs riding a six game winning streak.
Seasonal Series Scores vs. Seattle:
1)December 1/12: 4-2 Seattle win
2)January 24/13: 8-0 Rockets win
3)January 25/13: 4-3 Rockets OTW
4)February 28/13: 4-1 Rockets win.
2nd place vs. 7th: The Rockets had 28 more wins than the T-Birds during the regular season and 22 fewer losses. The Rockets scored 99 more goals and allowed 108 fewer goals against. The two teams were separated by 50 points in the standings.
Rockets regular season to remember: The 2012-2013 edition of the Kelowna Rockets recorded a franchise high 52 wins this season. That broke the old mark of 51 set back in the 2002-2003 season. The Rockets won the BC Division regular season title and placed second overall in the WHL standings behind only Portland. The Rockets scored the second most goals in the league (309) and allowed the third fewest goals against (178) behind Edmonton and Portland. The Rockets had 14 players that scored 10 or more goals and 16 players with 20 or more points. The Rockets were 31-5-0-0 at home this season and tied a franchise record for consecutive wins (23) on home ice.
Rockets award winners: Captain Colton Sissons picked up two awards at the teams year end awards banquet March 17/13. Sissons was named the MVP and Top Defensive Forward. Rourke Chartier was the rookie of the year and scholastic player of the year while Damon Severson was the top defenceman. Tyson Baillie was voted the most improved while Tyrell Goulbourne picked up the unsung hero award. Myles Bell collected 93 points this season and was named the team’s top scorer.
Most Wins in Franchise History:
2012-2013: 52 - ?
2002-2003: 51 – WHL Champions
2008-2009: 47 – WHL Champions
2003-2004: 47 – Memorial Cup Champions
2005-2006: 46 – Eliminated 2nd round
2004-2005: 45 – WHL Champions
1992-1993: 45 – Eliminated in 7 games in rd one
This and That: The most games the Rockets have played in one season of playoffs were 24 games. During the 2005 post season, 24 games were played with the Rockets beating Vancouver in six games in the opening round before disposing of the Seattle Thunderbirds in seven games. In round three it took six games to eliminate the Kootenay Ice before winning the WHL final over Brandon in five games….Dylen McKinlay leads the Rockets in playoff experience with 15 games. McKinlay has 5+5=10 in those 15 playoff games. Damon Severson is next with 14 including ten games in the 2011 post season…Of the Rockets top eight scorers this season, Ryan Olsen, Tyson Baillie and Cody Fowlie have not scored a playoff goal….The Rockets had 17 players that scored at least one game winning goal this season….The Rockets played in 19 – one goal games this season. The Rockets were 10-5-3-1 in those games…The Rockets have made the playoffs for the 17th time in the franchises 18 year history….Dylen McKinlay was the only Rocket to play in every game this season…The team ended the season with 21 road wins…Since re-locating from Tacoma to Kelowna for the start of the 1995-96 season, the Rockets have played in 178 playoff games….In the 2008 playoff series between the Rockets and T-Birds, the road team won the first four games of the series before the home team won the final three games. Two of those seven games went into overtime….Ryan Olsen celebrates his 19th birthday Monday (March 25th)….Colton Heffley’s last goal came January 24th against the T-Birds. Heffley had a goal and three assists that night…Jordon Cooke has no playoff experience. Kelly Guard didn’t either in 2003 and led his team to a WHL championship as a 19 year-old rookie…Tyler Mosienko is the franchise leader in playoff games with 41.