Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jordon Cooke's finest hour snuffed out in overtime

  • It looked like it was going to be Jordon Cooke's finest hour. Unfortunately it didn't exactly materialize after a heartbreaking loss in overtime. The 20 year-old goaltender single handily kept his team in the game before Taylor Leier's seeing eye wrist shot through traffic found the back of the net in the Portland Winterhawks 4-3 victory. It was without a shadow of a doubt Cooke's best game ever in a Kelowna Rockets uniform. The Leduc, Alberta product stopped three breakaways and several pin- point chances on the Winterhawks best shooters. Cooke made an incredible 61 stops and was named the games third star. At the end of the game, all could agree that Cooke was the best player on the ice.
  • For the second straight game the Rockets opened the scoring. Riley Stadel found the back of the net less than three minutes into the game and the hex was on. I say the hex because the team that has opened the scoring in all three games has lost.    
  • Outside of Cooke, I thought Rockets d-man Cole Martin had a strong game. The 19 year-old scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes. Martin was also tasked with  containing Winterhawks forward Brendan Leipsic. Leipsic, who was no shrinking violet on this night, was possessed when he had the puck which made Martin's efforts even more daunting. The only downside of Martin's play was the Winterhawks second goal pin-balled off him and into the net and the game winner hit him, or slightly changed directions off him, and found the back of the net in overtime. Those are bad bounce plays which can't be avoided.  
  • Brendan Leipsic has clearly been the best player in this series for Portland. On Tuesday night it looked like he should be playing in the NHL.  
  • Despite the significant territorial advantage the Winterhawks had throughout the game, the Rockets had a 3-1 lead with 5:10 left in the third period. But the dreaded two goal lead evaporated again when the Winterhawks struck for back-to-back goals in a span of 1:41. 
  • As hard as it is to believe, the Rockets had the best chances to score in overtime. Marek Tvrdon stole a puck in the right corner inside the Winterhawks zone and promptly took it to the net untouched. In a one-on-one situation with Corbin Boes, Tvrdon fired a shot that hit the 20 year-old goaltender in the chest. Had Tvrdon held onto the puck longer and came further across the net he likely would have scored as Boes would have been out of position. 
  • How do you bounce back from giving up 118 shots in the last two games? We are about to find out in game four tonight. Clearly the Rockets needed more puck possession and simply more territorial play inside the Winterhawks zone. If Portland is allowed to use its speed like they were in game three, Jordon Cooke will be needed to stand on his head for a second consecutive night.


Unknown said...

We've seen some amazing playoff performances by visiting goalies over the years in Portland but none that outshine that of Jordon Cooke. I know it must be an empty feeling in light of the end result but hopefully Jordon (and all Kelowna fans) can eventually appreciate just how rare the night truly was.

Leah! said...

I was embarrassed as a Portland fan that Cooke wasn't given the first star; he was so obviously the best player on the ice, despite the outcome for his team.

Big Slapper said...

That's my comment above (before I figured out my account was still "Unknown"). I'm sure there were many of us that felt the same way you did Leah. While I understand the rationale behind the picks Tuesday night (and most nights I agree with it), Jordon Cooke's performance should have been acknowledged for the amazing show that it was.

Regan Bartel said...

I think Andy and Todd made the picks and told me afterwards he was #1 on their broadcast (and mine by the way) but in the building they thought #3 was better to get him out there quickly to pick up his award and get it over with. I still think he would have received a great applause from your fan base if he had been #1. I don't question Todd and Andy's judgement though. They see the game awfully well.

Big Slapper said...

If that was the rationale our broadcast team used then I'm even more disappointed. The 3 Stars acknowledgement comes under fire frequently as being a very biased presentation. This was one game where everyone in the arena knew without question who the #1 star was. Jordon's performance should have been recognized regardless of having to wait a couple of minutes more to get into the room.