Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets face the Seattle Thunderbirds in game three of a best of seven Western Conference semi final series. The Rockets have a 2-0 lead in the series after a 6-2 win in game one and a 6-3 victory in game two. Game three is tonight with game four tomorrow night again at ShoWare Centre. These two teams met in an epic seven game opening round playoff series in 2013 where the T-Birds won the first three games before the Rockets rallied back to win four straight to advance to round two. Five of the seven games were decided in overtime. This season the two teams met four times with both sporting records of 2-1-0-1. The Rockets out-scored the T-Birds 15-14 in the four games. Two of the regular season games were decided in the shootout. These two teams are meeting for the 6th time in the playoffs. The two teams have met in 2013, 2008, 2005, 2003 and 2001. The Rockets advanced to the second round for the third time in the last four years with a five game series win over the Tri City Americans.
Game Two Tidbits: Nick Merkley scored his first career WHL playoff goal in game two. It was Merkley’s first goal in 14 playoff games. In the 2013 playoffs, Merkley had three points in 7 games. In this year’s playoffs the 16 year-old has 10 points in 7 games…Riley Stadel opened the scoring in game two. It was the 17 year-olds first goal in 52 games. Stadel’s last goal was in Prince Albert in mid December…Tyrell Goulbourne scored in game two. It was his second career playoff goal. Goulbourne’s other playoff goal came against the T-Birds – in Seattle – last season in game four…The Rockets were out-shot 39-30 in game two. It marked the first time in this year’s playoffs that they were out-shot….The Rockets scored three goals in the second period in game two. The team now has five goals in the second period in the series.
Game One Tidbits: Nine Rockets found the score sheet in game one…Nick Merkley had two assists. The 16 year-old has yet to find the net in post season. Merkley has ten career assists in 13 playoff games…Cole Linaker scored once in game #1’s 6-2 win. That gives the 18 year-old two goals in the 2014 post season. In his rookie campaign, Linaker had just two goals in 37 regular season games during the 2012-2013 season…Jordon Cooke picked up his 5th win of the playoffs with a 23 saves performance. Cooke has one more win than the four he recorded during the 2013 post season…The Rockets were 3 for 6 on the power play in game one. That gives the Rockets 9 power play goals in the playoffs, two more than the seven they manufactured in last year’s post season…Three defenceman lead the Rockets in +/-. Damon Severson, Mitch Wheaton and Madison Bowey are all +4…Goaltender Jordon Cooke earned an assist in game one…The Rockets took four penalties in game one. The T-Birds took 7.
This and That: Damon Severson has 3+6=9 in seven games. Severson had 1+9=10 in 11 playoff games…Cole Linaker is stepping up his play. Linaker has 3+3=6 in seven games. In the 2013 playoffs, the 18 year-old had 3+2=5 in 11 games…The Rockets have allowed 8 goals in five home playoff games. That is an average of 1.6 goals against in the 2014 post season…During the regular season the Rockets d-core was a combined +213. The T-Birds d-score was a combined +5….Defenceman Madison Bowey signed a three year entry level contract with the NHL’s Washington Capitals last Wednesday. The 18 year-old was chosen in the second round of the 2013 draft – 53rd overall…If this series goes a full seven games, it will be played over 13 nights…Tyrell Goulbourne scored 17 times this season. Of those 17 goals, three of them came against the T-Birds…The Rockets have killed off 21 of its last 22 shorthanded situations in this year’s playoffs.…The Rockets have a power play goal in all seven playoff games…The Kelowna Rockets are playing their 197th playoff game tonight…This is the 36th playoff series the Rockets have been involved in since relocating from Tacoma for the start of the 1995-96 season…The Western Hockey League announced this week that Jordon Cooke has been named the VAUGHN WHL Goaltender of the Month for March, 2014. It is the second time this season that Cooke has been named VAUGHN WHL Goaltender of the Month, having earned the honor for September/October as well….Damon Severson is the WHL Player of the Week. Severson had three goals and four assists with a +3 rating in two games last week.
Who’s Hot: Damon Severson has 3+4=7 in the first two games of this series…Marek Tvrdon has points in six of the seven games in this year’s playoffs (4+3=7)…Rourke Chartier is riding a six game point streak. Chartier has 4+4=8 over that stretch….Tyson Baillie had 8 playoff goals in 2013…Baillie had seven goals in seven games in last year’s opening round series with the T-Birds including a hat trick in game seven…Jordon Cooke is 6 and 1 in this year’s playoffs with a goals against average of 2.01 and a save percentage of .931.