Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lees scores first playoff goal at perfect time

Tyson Baillie had 3 pt night in win
  • Jesse Lees prefers to be a defenceman, but he is proving to be a pretty good forward. The 18 year scored his first career playoff goal six minutes into the third period lifting the Kelowna Rockets to a  5-4 win over the Portland Winterhawks in game one of the Western Conference championship series. Lees picked up a loose puck after Winterhawks goaltender Brendan Burke kicked out a rebound on a Tyson Baillie shot to give the home team their first lead of the game. Lees' goal was part of a remarkable comeback for the Rockets, who trailed 3-0 with just 7:41 gone in the opening period. 
  • Despite trailing 3-2 after 20 minutes, Rockets Head Coach Ryan Huska says they felt pretty good about the period. Trailing by two, the Rockets out-shot the Winterhawks 13-6. If the coach was believing it, the players followed his lead. Five of the final six goals in the game would be scored by the Rockets with Lees snapping home the game winner.
  • The turning point may have been no goal by the Winterhawks when time expired in the opening period. A puck hit a Rockets defenceman skate/leg and went between the legs of goaltender Jordon Cooke and into the net. Fortunately for the home team the buzzer had sounded before the puck entered the goal. Had it been a second earlier, the score would have been 4-2 instead of 3-2 heading into the intermission.
  • The Winterhawks lost only once in regulation time in 46 regular season games when leading after 40 minutes. 
  • My belief is the Rockets can be the better team five on five, but its the power play that levels the playing field. That is where the Winterhawks can tear you apart. The visitors were given five chances with the extra man which is flirting with danger. Oliver Bjorkstrand scored twice with the extra man and was on fire in the opening period. Oddly, I am not sure where he went in the final 40?
  • I thought it was a rough start for Jordon Cooke, but like his team, he seemed to get better as the game went along. Brendan Burke had to make two big saves in the third period when the Rockets took over and did his best to keep it a one goal game. 
  • It was an emotional, feisty affair. Did you expect anything less? Lots of stick work against two teams that wanted to establish early in the series that they won't go down without a fight. 
  • Nic Petan took a minor penalty for hitting Rockets d-man Cole Martin with a high hit to the head as time expired. Martin, with his face towards the glass in an attempt to pin the puck in the corner as time expired, was hit high by Petan as the game ended. The 19 year-old Winterhawks forward won't be suspended but let us remember that incident if a Rockets player makes a high hit on a Portland player in this series. No team is exempt from doing something that we as fans often consider careless.
  • The Rockets were the more physical team, but their was a certain control to the physicality. Outside of a charging penalty Tyrell Goulbourne took in the third period, the contact was hard and clean. Carter Rigby made the first big hit of the game when he sent Winterhawks defenceman Matt Dumba flying in the first few minutes.    
  • How about the crowd? Just over 62 hundred fans crammed into Prospera Place and made a lot of noise. It was the best atmosphere we have witnessed in that building in years. The white towels that were handed out were a huge hit.

1 comment:

FAX said...

Regan ... Huge correction IMO

The Rockets only trailed 3-2 after 20 minutes ...NOT 3-1

The two huge goals in the game (IMO) were the Bowey shorthanded goal late in the first period and the Chariter goal - less than a minute after the Hawks went up 4-2 in the second.

Just my two cents ... but I thought that the Rockets crows last night was one of the best "Canadian" crowds I have seen in years - glad to see the Rockets get the support they deserve.