Thursday, April 4, 2013

Third round bantam pick has first round fire power

  • Fifty two players were taken before Tyson Baillie in the 2010 WHL bantam draft. Kelowna Rockets director of player personnel Lorne Frey elected to take the smallish Fort Saskatchewan forward with the teams third round selection behind first rounder Jesse Lees and second rounder Madison Bowey. How fitting it would be then that Bowie, taken 30 spots before Baillie, would set up the game winning goal Wednesday night leading the Rockets to a 3-2 win in overtime, becoming only the second team in WHL history to come back in a series to win it after trailing three games to none. Baillie's overtime winner was his seventh of the playoffs and helped his team win four consecutive games to advance to the second round. Had the T-Birds won the game, it would have been the biggest upset in league history. The Rockets had 50 more points than Seattle during the regular season.
  • Baillie's goal came from almost the exact spot that Tyson Barrie scored his overtime game winning goal in game six of the 2009 WHL final against Calgary. 
  • Baillie's seven goals in the series was one shy of former Rockets Geordie Wudrick's eight goals in a opening round seven game series in 2010 against the Everett Silvertips.
  • Five of the seven games in this series went into overtime with six of the seven games decided by a single goal.
  • It looked like game seven would be decided in regulation time until overage forward Luke Lockhart would score the tying goal with seven seconds left in the third period. With goaltender Brandon Glover pulled for the extra attacker, Lockhart found himself with the puck between the hash marks and beat Rockets goaltender Jordon Cooke high to the glove hand side. The 55 hundred fans were in shock. They quickly quieted after rising to their seats in a roller coaster of emotion in the final minutes. Prior to Lockhart's tying goal, Rockets forward Henrik Nyberg appeared to have a step on T-Birds d-man Jesse Forsberg in the neutral zone and was hauled down while attempted to fire the puck into the empty net which would have made the score 3-1. Instead the officiating crew kept their whistles in their pockets and the T-Birds would eventually score the equalizing goal.
  • As good as Seattle goaltender Brandon Glover was in this series, you can't overlook what Jordon Cooke did at the other end. Cooke made a huge save against Lockhart shorthanded in regulation time and then stoned Lockhart on a grade 'A' scoring chance in overtime. For my money, if you look at his body of work over the seven games, Cooke is my playoff MVP. Mr. Baillie was a close second.
  • The Rockets did not allow a power play goal in the series. 
  • The crowd, while not capacity, was the loudest we've heard at Prospera Place since 2009. Does it take a game seven to get them riled up? Maybe? They were loud and proud and were a huge lift for their team. On this night they indeed were the seventh man.
  • As good as overtime feels when you win, I can only image the painful feeling for the T-Birds, specifically the overagers when they saw their seasons come to a close. You really can't lose in a worse way can you? Brandon Glover and Luke Lockhart were instrumental in any success Seattle had producing an upset. Those two 20 year-old's were not innocent bystanders. They did everything they could to help their team win.
  • How about Nick Merkley? The 15 year-old looked anything but raw in game seven. In fact his play took a step forward in game six when he created several scoring chances. The Rockets first round pick looked equally as good in game seven with some tremendous moves.
  • Riley Stadel deserves some credit here. The 16 year-old has come a long way from the start of the season. He showed a lot of courage in this series when battling against much bigger opponents. The Rockets third round pick in 2011 logged big minutes with the loss of MacKenzie Johnston and then Jesse Less in game six. Stadel, Damon Severson, Madison Bowey and Cole Martin did some remarkable work back on the blue line when the injury bug bit.     
  • The Rockets are now off to the second round of the playoffs where they face the Kamloops Blazers. It is a the first meeting between the two teams since the 2009 post season, when the Rockets swept their BC Division rivals in four games. That season they were separated by 26 points. This season the two teams were separated by just nine.    


jaz301 said...

What more to say other then that was one hell of a game? It was a exciting and emotional. The energy in the building was unreal. I almost think it was better then the 2009 game 6. Every 3min it seemed like there was a Go Rockets Go chant. Was also great to see fans standing throughout the game whether it was when cooke made a big save or rockets putting on great pressure. Wish this would happen more often not just in a game 7.

Its amazing what the rockets keep doing. Down 3-0 in a series and come back to win it despite all the injuries they have encountered.

Which brings me to my next thought. With all the injuries the rockets have got can they keep on rolling like they have or will it eventually catch up with them? Guess we will find out.

g.k said...

Loved the atmosphere last night, electrify to say the least, just wish we could of filled all the seats, 5500 is pretty decent but 6000 plus should of been a given, anyways the Blazers are next,so we should see sellouts for all these games as I'm sure the Blazers fans will come out in full force!! Regan any chance we'll see any of the injured players back for this series??

Regan Bartel said...

Mummy's the word on injuries at this time of the year.

Sports Nut said...

Way to go Rockets! Want to fill all of the seats? Make some effort to reward the fans. Like the Seattle series just play one shift at a time, one period at a time. The chances will come with a strong physical game. Can't wait for Saturday night.