Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets host the Tri City Americans in game five of this Western Conference quarter final. The Rockets have a chance to wrap up the series tonight with a victory leading the best of seven – three games to one. If a game six is necessary it will be played in Kennewick tomorrow night. This game is the 5th in 7 nights for both teams. The Rockets won game one (3-1), game two (3-1) and game four (5-3). The Americans won game three (4-3). The home team has won three of the five games in the series.
Game 4 Recap: Marek Tvrdon scored the game winner on the power play late in the second period in a 5-3 win. Tyson Baillie had a goal and two assists while Jordon Cooke was lights out with several solid stops. Justin Kirkland and Cole Linaker also scored as the Rockets roared out to a 3-0 lead. The Rockets were 1 for 5 on the power play.
Game 3 Recap: Eric Comrie made 52 saves as the Americans earned a 4-3 win. Myles Bell, Marek Tvrdon and Justin Kirkland scored in the setback. The Rockets were 2 for 5 on the power play.
Game 2 Recap: Ryan Olsen scored the game winner in a 3-1 win last Sunday. Myles Bell and Joe Gatenby, with his first career WHL goal, also scored. Jordon Cooke was solid making 24 saves. The Rockets were 1 for 5 on the man advantage.
Game 1 Recap: Rourke Chartier scored twice in a 3-1 victory. Myles Bell scored the game winner in the second period on a power play blast from the blue line. Jordon Cooke made 32 saves while Americans goalie Eric Comrie earned third star status with 33 stops. Both teams were 1 for 4 on the power play.
Who’s Hot: Myles Bell has goals in three of the four games. Two of the three have been on the power play. Rourke Chartier has four points (2+2=4) in the first four games. Marek Tvrdon has a point in all four games.
This and That: The Rockets have killed off their last 13 penalties in this series (13 for 13)…Rockets have not played a playoff game on this date (March 28th) since the 2006 post season in a 4-3 round one loss to the Kootenay Ice…The Rockets have opened the scoring in two of the four games…The Rockets have out-shot the Americans in all four games….The Rockets have a power play goal in all four games…Americans forward Jessey Astles, a former Rocket, scored his biggest playoff goal during the 2011 run when he scored the game winner in overtime against Portland….The Kelowna Rockets are playing their 194th playoff game tonight…This is the 35th playoff series the Rockets have been involved in since relocating from Tacoma for the start of the 1995-96 season…Congrats to Rockets alumnus Colton Sissons for scoring his first career NHL goal last night against Buffalo. Sissons is a member of the Nashville Predators…The Kelowna Rockets first round pick in the 2013 WHL bantam draft is competing in the final of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA League. Dillon Dube’s Notre Dame Argos have a two games to one lead on the Battleford Stars heading into game four Saturday night. A win and Dube is a league champion.
Seasonal Series: These two teams met four times this season with the Rockets going 4-0-0-0, out-scoring the Americans 20-5 including 12-1 at home. Jordon Cooke played three of the four games but the Americans elected to start #1 goaltender Eric Comrie just once. The Rockets out-scored the Americans 9-0 in the first period in the four game series. The Rockets out-shot the Am’s in all four games, 186-83. This is the 5th time these two teams have met in the playoffs and the second time in round one. They have met in the playoffs in 2010, 2009, 2004 and in 1996.
Rockets Award Winners: The Rockets handed out their team awards. Jordon Cooke was named the team MVP. Damon Severson was the Top Defenceman. Nick Merkley was named Rookie of the Year. Rourke Chartier picked up three awards including Top Defensive Forward, Most Sportsmanlike and Scholastic Player of the Year. Jackson Whistle was the Most Improved Player. Cole Martin was the Top +/- Player. Myles Bell was the Top Scorer for a second straight year.
More League Love: Twenty year-old goaltender Jordon Cooke was named a 1st Team Western Conference WHL All-Star. Cooke was also named the Western Conference nominee for Goaltender of the Year. Teammates Damon Severson and Madison Bowey were named 2nd Team Western Conference All-Stars. Sixteen year-old Nick Merkley is the Western Conference nominee for Rookie of the Year.