Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cooke`s paddle save integral in Rockets win

The show stopping save by Cooke
  • Brian Williams couldn't believe it. Maybe even Jordon Cooke was shocked at what he had just done? The Kelowna Rockets goaltender made the save of the 2014 playoffs with the paddle of his stick when he robbed the Americans leading goal scorer in the second period. A shot from the blue line was tipped by Americans forward Justin Gutierrez, which then found its way to Williams at the side the net. Williams quickly fired the puck to the wide open goal only to see Cooke`s stick - the paddle - come from no where in desperation to bat the puck out of mid air. It was a stupidly ridiculous save that can only be appreciated on video. That save, while not appearing large at the time, was massive in the big scheme in helping the Rockets earn a 5-3 win Wednesday night and moving the team within one game of advancing to round two. 
  • Tyson Baillie now leads the team in playoff scoring after a three point effort in game four. Baillie scored his first goal of the playoffs in the third period to make it 5-2, but it was the two goals he set up that were the difference makers. Baillie set up defenceman Madison Bowey for the opening goal and was a factor on Marek Tvrdon`s game winning marker on the power play late in the second period.
  • Tvrdon should have five points in the four game playoff series. The 20 year-old should be credited with an assist on Justin Kirkland`s goal in game three. The score sheet should show a change in the next couple of days. Tvrdon had some bright moments which included a seeing eye pass to Madison Bowey in the second period, who one timed the puck and hit the post. That pass was as good as you will find at the junior level. It is that skill set that made the Detroit Red Wings take notice.      
  • The Rockets so called fourth line got into the act early with Cole Linaker receiving a nice pass from Carter Rigby and then firing it past Americans goaltender Eric Comrie to make the score 2-0. Colton Heffley also picked up an assist on the play. It was Linaker and Heffley`s first points of the series.
  • I really liked the Rockets power play, specifically in the first and second period. It looked lethal by creating great chances from either point shots or from in-tight chances on Comrie. The two power plays in the third period generated little with the team nursing the lead. A turnover at the Americans blue line resulted in a 3 on 1 shorthanded rush the other way which forced Cooke to bail out his teammates.       
  • The best forward for the Americans as the series has rolled along has been Justin Gutierrez. The 18 year-old has had his way behind the net and in the corners as the series has gone along. While standing 6`4, the Rockets d-men are giving him far to much respect considering he weighs just 185 pounds. By comparison, he is 5 pounds heavier than Rockets forward Rourke Chartier. Gutierrez is being treated like he weighs 220.           
  • Stick checking. I absolutely hate it. When defending you need an active stick but where has the art of separating the puck carrier from the puck with the use of good old fashioned body contact gone? The Americans opening goal by Brian Williams was an example of stick checking at its finest. In that entire sequence leading up to the goal, not one body check was delivered. It was way to easy for the Americans forwards to have their way in the Rockets zone. It looked like shinny.
  • The crowd at Toyota Centre was larger than game three, but Americans GM Bob Tory won`t like the fact only 2,189 fans took in the game. Poor playoff dates don`t help and many casual hockey fans are staying away when they saw the match up with one vs. eight. Again, while a miss match on paper, the games have been close and the Rockets have had to earn all three wins in this series. Nothing has come easy. 
  • Leading scorer Myles Bell was hurt late in the second period and did not return. No word on his status. At this time of the year do you really expect any word on the injury? The answer is no!
  • Game five is Friday in Kelowna. A win and the team advances to the second round for a second consecutive post season. A loss and it is back on the bus that night headed back to Tri City for game six Saturday night. 
  • Friday night`s game at Prospera Place (7:30 pm) will be the fifth game in seven nights for the two teams. This is where four line hockey should prevail but teams that face playoff elimination will likely be at their best and won't go down without a fight.   


fan said...

Regan any word on Myles bell thx

Regan Bartel said...

Will see what the team says at the arena prior to game time.