Friday, April 4, 2014

Severson serves notice he's ready to make impact

Damon Severson - Shoot the Breeze Photography
  • Ryan Huska called it Damon Severson's best game ever in a Kelowna Rockets uniform. The 19 year-old New Jersey Devils draft pick scored twice and added two assists leading his team to a 6-2 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds in game one of the Western Conference semi final series. Severson scored with 18 seconds left in the first period to give his team a 3-1 lead and then scored 24 seconds into the third period to thwart any T-Birds rally. Severson's two goals were his first of the 2014 playoffs. We shouldn't be surprised at the Melville Saskatchewan resident's prowess in the offensive zone though. Severson collecting 11 points in 11 playoff games in 2013.
  • It looked like the tone was going to be set 10 seconds into the game when T-Birds Jaimen Yakubowski hit Rockets captain Madison Bowey hard along the end boards. Bowey didn't like the hit and took a retaliatory penalty. Fortunately the Rockets would kill off that penalty and would score one second after the 18 year-old came out of the penalty box as Cole Linaker slammed home a rebound on a glorious chance by line-mate Tyrell Goulbourne.   
  • I thought Goulbourne had an effective game. The 19 year-old used his speed to his advantage and created some good plays in the offensive zone. Goulbourne also showed good restraint when he could have fought T-Birds Mitch Elliott, who took a boarding minor. Instead the Rockets scored on the power play to take a 3-1 lead. It is that type of smart hockey that allows teams to make long runs in the playoffs.
  • The Rockets were 3 for 6 on the power play and that is without injured forward Myles Bell. Rourke Chartier, Damon Severson and Ryan Olsen all found the net with the man advantage. Olsen's goal was a never give up play. The 19 year-old was stopped by T-Birds goaltender Taran Kozun but followed up with another shot that beat the veteran netminder to the glove hand side to make the score 4-2.  
  • Evan Wardley was fortunate to get away with a two minute minor for a hit to the head after the Seattle d-man caught Rockets forward Tyson Baillie with an elbow to the side of the jaw. The second period hit, which the league claims it wants to eliminate, resulted in the Rockets scoring on the power play. Wardley has been suspended twice this season. He served two games for boarding in a game against Kamloops in late December and served four games for a charging major against Portland on November 1st.     
  • Marek Tvrdon had his 5 game playoff point streak snapped.
  • I thought T-Birds goaltender Taran Kozun had a rough game. I didn't think he made a solid stop outside of Carter Rigby's breakaway attempt early in the third period. Kozun doesn't have good memories at Prospera Place after being pulled 27 minutes into a 7-3 regular season loss to the Rockets back on February 10th.      
  • How about Jordon Cooke's breakaway save on Sam McKechnie in the second period? It is all about timely saves after Madison Bowey made a blind cross ice pass at the T-Birds blue line which allowed McKenzie to skate in all alone on the Rockets goaltender. 
  • Jesse Lees made his 2014 playoff debut Thursday night and played well. The 18 year-old, playing as a forward, was strong along the wall and made a good effort into getting into shooting lanes to block shots. To be honest, I like him more as a forward than a d-man. The nice part of it is the Rockets can use him at both ends.
  • Putting up 6 goals in the playoffs against the T-Birds is rare. In a 2005 second round series, the Rockets were a 7-0 winner in Seattle with Derek Yeomans earning the shutout. 
  • Prince George Cougars GM Dallas Thompson and Spokane Chiefs GM Tim Speltz took in last nights game. 
  • Game two is Saturday night at Prospera Place with games three and four next Tuesday and Wednesday in Seattle.

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