- Western Conference fans may get their wish. The Kelowna Rockets are on a collision course to meet the Portland Winterhawks in a seven game playoff series featuring the top two teams in the Western Hockey League during the regular season. The Rockets made surprisingly short work of the Seattle Thunderbirds Wednesday night with a 5-2 win, eliminating the 41 win team in four games. While the T-Birds opened the scoring for the first time in the series, it was the Rockets who battled back with four straight goals including two in a span of 2:03 in the second period for their 8th win in 9 playoff games. The Rockets now face the winner of the Portland-Victoria series with the Winterhawks holding a commanding three games to one lead in that Western Conference semi final series.
- I would have never envisioned the Rockets rolling over the T-Birds in four games. While separated by 30 points in the standing, Seattle was built for a long playoff run after making several roster moves. General Manager Russ Farwell made a statement to the league that the T-Birds were going to make some noise in the spring by acquiring Sam McKechnie and Jamien Yakobowski – two 19 year-old’s – early in the season. The news got even better when highly coveted Ryan Gropp left the BCHL and joined them. Upgrading the goaltending position by obtaining 19 year-old Taran Kozun from Kamloops seemed like the final touch to a well molded team that everyone expected could challenge the top teams in the Western Conference. Despite bowing out in this series, T-Bird fans have to remember the future looks awfully bright for this team.
- Damon Severson took his game to a new level in this series. The 19 year-old had four goals and dominated at both ends of the ice. The New Jersey Devils second round pick had a goal and an assist in game four and pinged one off the crossbar when the game was scoreless. Clearly, Seattle goaltender Taran Kozun had no clue on where Severson was going to shoot the puck and the guessing game didn’t work in his favour. Severson look every part of a junior player on the verge of making his mark in the NHL.
- Marek Tvrdon didn’t make an impact in the first two games of this series but the Seattle air got him going with two significant efforts at ShoWare Center. The 20 year-old had two assists in a game three win and then scored the game winner in game four. Tvrdon’s goal saw the soft spoken forward fire a seeing eye shot short side over the shoulder of T-Birds goaltender Taran Kozun to make the score 3-1. It was Tvrdon’s 5th goal of the playoffs.
- The Rockets power play was lethal in this series with eight goals with the extra man. It ran with an efficiency rate of 42 percent. The penalty killing unit was equally good killing off 22 of 24 T-Bird power plays.
- The Rockets scored 22 goals in the four games. Seattle’s top point getters struggled with just 11 goals with veteran Brandon Trook and Shea Theodore failing to find the back of the net.
- It marks the 6th time in franchise history the team has advanced to the Western Conference final. The team first accomplished the feat in 2002 and then repeated it in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009 and now this season.
- T-Birds d-man Evan Wardley left the game in the second period with a leg injury and never returned.
- Word in the rink was Seattle forward Jaimen Yakubowski, who was hurt in game one, suffered a concussion after missing a hit and hitting his head on the dasher board.
- It was great running into Lindsy, Kelli, Carlee, Brendan, Molli and Tyler Ronish and the entire crew who diligently work the Chuck-A-Puck at T-Bird home games. They often harassed me (friendly banter) when I entered the T-Birds office where they would ask me if I would say ‘Pitter Patter’ or slur Roberts Lipsberg’s name. I told them I would ‘perform for them’ before game six but luckily that won’t happen.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
I didn't see this coming...not this quickly
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- Things that make me go hmm...
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