- ‘You won’t like me when I’m angry’. Those are the words that came out of the mouth of Dr. David Banner before transforming into The Incredible Hulk. The Kelowna Rockets have morphed into a Hulk-like state after getting agitated by the start they had in an opening round playoff series with the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Rockets, after dropping the first three games in overtime, are bound and determined to prove they are a better team then what they showed in games one, two and three. Don't get me wrong, the Rockets haven’t turned green, nor have their jerseys torn at the seams as large muscles bulge out in anger, but they sure look like a motivated bunch right now. After dropping the first three, the Rockets have won the last two with momentum clearly shifting from one team – Seattle – to the other with two decisive wins. Sure, Saturday’s game ended 4-3, but the Rockets played a solid 59 minutes before the T-Birds made it interesting with a late third period push. Whose series is it to lose now? The Rockets still face playoff elimination squarely in the face for a third consecutive game while the T-Birds need one more win in the final two games in order to advance to round two. My gut feeling is both teams will put it all on the line tomorrow night in game six, but it will be treated like a game seven. The Rockets have to win or the season is over while the T-Birds do not want to come back to Kelowna for a one game wins all show down at Prospera Place on Wednesday.
- Did the Rockets catch the T-Birds off guard in game five? I believe they did. After winning the battle in the trenches in the first four games, the Rockets were the aggressor not the T-Birds. Cody Fowlie led the charge with an early hit on T-Birds d-man Jesse Forsberg and then Tyrell Goulbourne got the better of Seattle’s Evan Wardley with significant contact at the offensive blue line. Those two hits set the tone for the Rockets best period of the playoffs. Territorially, it was all Kelowna.
- The numbers don’t lie. The Rockets have out-shot the T-Birds 53-21 in the first two periods of games four and five. Seattle managed just 11 shots through 40 minutes in game four and then fired 10 shots at Jordon Cooke in the first two periods in game five. It should be no surprise - by those numbers - that the Rockets have out-scored Seattle 9-2 in the opening 20 minutes in the five games.
- Is it Tyson Baillie time? The term was often used when describing Tyson Barrie. The 17 year-old is tied with Myles Bell for the team lead in playoff points with 7. Baillie leads the team in power play goals with four. Not draft eligible until next season, Baillie is turning more than a few scouts’ heads with his work ethic and ability to find the back of the net. To think he was selected in the third round of the 2010 WHL bantam draft. The T-Birds also have a dynamic third round bantam pick of their own. Shea Theodore was also a third rounder in 2010, taken 11 players after Baillie was plucked by the Rockets.
- Justin Hickman won’t score many goals, but the Kelowna resident works his can off. The 18 year-old just never quits. It is a tough thing to teach a player. The T-Birds second round bantam pick is pound for pounds one of the toughest players in the Western Conference. I’m not talking fighting tough, but just a player who battles and won’t relent. Hickman is a product of the Okangan midget Rockets program.
- In case you are wondering, the Rockets haven’t played a game seven since 2010. That year, in round one, the Rockets beat the Everett Silvertips - in Everett – to advance against the Tri City Americans.
- Only two teams have not surrendered a power play goal in the playoffs. The Kelowna Rockets are a perfect 22 for 22 and the Edmonton Oil Kings are a perfect 21 for 21.
- The Kelowna media core grows by one for game six. Myself and Kelowna Daily Courier beat writer Doyle Potenteau will be joined by Kelowna Rockets website and media relations coordinator Kevin Parnell for the trip down to Kent. Parnell will assist me in the broadcast booth Tuesday night on our AM 1150 broadcast which will now include post game comments from the Rockets dressing room.
Monday, April 1, 2013
You won't like me when I'm angry
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