- The Kelowna Rockets didn't lose four straight games during the regular season. Unfortunately for the Western Hockey League regular season champions it found a way to lose four in a row when it counted most. The Portland Winterhawks scored four goals in the third period in a 7-3 win Friday night at Prospera Place, ending the Rockets season with a 4-1 series loss.
- The Rockets found themselves in an early hole falling behind 3-0 just 22 minutes into the game. But back-to-back goals from Tyson Baillie and Jesse Lees made it a one goal game heading into the third period. The back breaking goal came from Winterhawks d-man Mat Dumba just 59 seconds into the third period when the two teams were playing four on four. That early goal seemed to send the home team over the edge. Portland would end up scoring three more goals before Justin Kirkland ended the scoring to make it a 7-3 final.
- The Winterhawks are defending champs for a reason. There top end players work hard and score clutch goals. That high end finish is the best in the WHL. It takes them little to score goals. At times it looks effortless. Give them time and space and it is indeed effortless. The Rockets top players were just Ok in game five.
- Damon Severson would pick up two assists Friday night, giving him 18 points in the playoffs. The 19 year-old d-man, playing in his final game in the WHL, would lead the Rockets in scoring in the post season. You couldn't ask much more from Severson, who really brought it in the playoffs. The New Jersey Devils draft pick was the best 19 year-old on the Rockets roster. I thought Tyrell Goulbourne, Carter Rigby, Ryan Olsen and Colton Heffley struggled in this series. Why didn't they 'have it' at this time of the year has me scratching my head.
- Prior to the WHL trade deadline, it looked like the Rockets needed to trade for a few older players in order to make a long push in the playoffs. I thought the team needed at least two older players with an upgrade on skill to compete against the heavier/skilled teams that challenge for a championship every year. In 2009 the Rockets made several significant changes. When you pick up Riley Grantham, Ian Duval and add to your skill level with Mikael Backlund, the chances of winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup increase dramatically.
- It was a shame that the Rockets leading scorer wasn't able to contribute in this series. Myles Bell was hurt in game four of the Tri City series in round one, suffering torn ligaments in his knee. Would Bell have made a difference? The Winterhawks would have had to key on him which would have taken the pressure off of others. It would have also helped his team mentally.
- With the score 7-2, I was hoping Jordon Cooke wouldn't be pulled in his final game in a Kelowna Rockets uniform. The Winterhawks kept coming in the third period and even threw out their top power play unit when they were up by five. Cooke finished the game despite surrendering seven goals on 41 shots. While game five won't go down as Cooke's finest moment, not many will forget his out of the world performance in game three with a 61 save effort.
- Nick Merkley and Rourke Chartier didn't find the score sheet in game five, but how consistently good were they in this years playoffs? Those two were the best forwards on a nightly basis. They logged huge minutes.
- The WHL has to suspended Winterhawks forward Brendan Leipsic for at least one game. The 19 year-old's spear on Tyrell Goulbourne in the third period was nothing short of cheap. In a 7-2 game, Leipsic has no need to spear Goulbourne unless he is looking for trouble. He obviously was. If he isn't suspended (he is a repeat offender) what type of antics does he pull off if he is losing a game in the WHL final?
- No egg on the face for the Kelowna Rockets for bowing out in five games. The older players didn't compete to the level they needed to, but the team didn't lose to a lesser opponent. Had they fallen to either Tri City of Seattle in round one or two it would have been a tough pill to swallow. The only tough thing for Coach Huska to stomach was the compete level of some of his players.
- The Rockets didn't give up 7 goals on home ice until game five of the Western Conference final.
- Marek Tvrdon's WHL career came to an end Friday night. The 20 year-old had one assist in game five. While collecting 13 points in 14 playoff games, the Slovakian forward has holes in this game. With a low battle level for loose pucks, if that doesn't change in a massive way, Tvrdon will be hard pressed earning a top 6 role in the minor pros.
- The crowds in this series were solid. All three home games in the Western Conference final were sellouts. Good on you Kelowna.
- Good luck to the Portland Winterhawks as they represent the Western Conference in the WHL final. Whether Edmonton or Medicine Hat provides the opposition, the Winterhawks will gives those two all they can handle.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
57 win season ends in five game series loss
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- Things that make me go hmm...
- 57 win season ends in five game series loss
- Cup half full or half empty?
- Stay out of the box!
- Jordon Cooke's finest hour snuffed out in overtime...
- Good Morning Portland!
- So, we are back to square one!
- Lees scores first playoff goal at perfect time
- Game One AM 1150 Intro - Lets Go!!!
- Is it Friday yet?
- Severson and Pouliot on opposite ends of the scale...
- Hurry up and wait!
- Well, well...look what we have here!!
- I didn't see this coming...not this quickly
- Shorthanded unit shines bright in game three win
- Game Day!
- Cooke carrying strong play into playoffs
- Rockets/T-Birds game notes
- Local businesses supporting Rockets with signage
- Severson serves notice he's ready to make impact
- Things that make me go hmm....
- Old school audio
- Tyson Baillie reflects on game 7 and looks ahead
- Cole Martin chimes in on T-Birds playoff series
- Rockets-T-Birds Preview
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