Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Not many witness Comrie's clinic

Shoot the Breeze Photography - Marissa Baecker
  • Eric Comrie put on a goaltending clinic Tuesday night at Toyota Center. To bad only about two thousand fans witnessed the heroic effort. The Tri City Americans goalie made 52 saves, including the first 34 he faced in the opening 40 minutes, in a 4-3 victory. Comrie's best save came in the first period when the game was scoreless. Comrie shutdown Ryan Olsen on a two on none with line-mate Tyrell Goulbourne. Goulbourne picked off a pass just inside the Americans blue line, skated in and promptly dished the puck to the left side of the net where Olsen was waiting with no one around him. Comrie niftly slid across to make the save to keep the game scoreless.
  • While Comrie was full marks for his first star status, Jordon Cooke was also dialed in at the other end of the ice. Despite seeing little activity in the first period, the Rockets 20 year-old made the stops he needed to make until the Americans exploded for three goals in a span of 3:23 of the second period.  
  • As bad as the Rockets were over that 3:23 span, they showed a lot of resilience in getting back in the game by scoring three times in the third period and almost pulling off the comeback. The key to the three goals was traffic in front of Comrie. In playing more desperate hockey to get back in the game, red shirted Rockets were winning puck battles and heading to the net for secondary chances. If shots weren't beating Comrie cleanly, bodies were in the 18 year-old's line of vision in an effort to make life miserable for the Winnipeg Jets draft pick. 
  • When was the last time the Rockets put up +55 shots on net in one playoff game? You don't have to look that far. In an opening round series against Seattle the Rockets fired 59 shots at Brandon Glover in a 5-4 overtime win. That 59 shot effort was also on the road.         
  • While Comrie was the story in game three, sadly you can't ignore the bad crowd. For those that showed up, pat yourself on the back, but it was the worst crowd I've witnessed in my 19 years of calling games at the Toyota Center.  Just 2,010 fans were on hand for game three. Playoff dates are tough at this time of the year for American based teams. Even last year against Spokane in round one, just over 3 thousand showed up at Toyota Center to watch arch rival Spokane face the Americans in a 2013 playoff match up.     
  • Isn't it interesting how Rockets forward Ryan Olsen has probably had the best scoring chances in this series but Comrie, for the most part, has had Olsen's number? The two are both Winnipeg Jets prospects and are both signed players. Does Comrie have the book on Olsen? But shouldn't Olsen have the book on Comrie?
  • Jets Director of Amateur Scouting Marcel Comeau took in last night's game to watch both Comrie and Olsen. I would imagine he liked what he saw from both players.  
  • Tri City forward Brian Williams didn't get any three star love last night but the 18 year-old was dynamite. The 36 goal man from the regular season just won't take no for an answer. It sounds like me when I was attempting to date my now wife of 18 years. When Williams has a scoring chance in tight on the goaltender he sticks around until the job is complete. Williams second period goal was one where it looked like Cooke had made the save but Williams literally willed the puck into the net. That goal, and another scoring chance he created in the third period where he didn't score, reminded me a little bit of Brendan Gallagher and how determined he was in getting the puck past the goalie.     
  • Myles Bell, Marek Tvrdon and Mitch Wheaton are the three players that have a point in every game in this series.   
  • While the Rockets power play came alive in the third period with two goals,  it was a lack of execution early in the game that bit them in the rear. The Rockets were granted three of the first four power plays in the game but came away empty handed. Even one goal at that crucial time would have made a world of difference.
  • Every play during a game is crucial. Despite having all the momentum in the third period and out-shooting the Americans badly, a miscue at the Rockets blue line allows Justin Gutierrez to go in all alone on a breakaway where he scores. That makes the score 4-2, but after Marek Tvrdon's power play goal with 1:03 remaining in the game, the Gutierrez goal becomes the game winner. It makes you scratch your head wondering how you can surrender a breakaway goal with under 3 minutes left in regulation time.
  • Game four goes tonight at the Toyota Center with game five back in Kelowna on Friday.

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