- The Kelowna Rockets penalty killing unit can take a bow. Without a shadow of a doubt its best single game performance of the season, the four man unit - in two cases it was a three man unit - shut down the Seattle Thunderbirds on nine of ten power play chances in a 5-4 win. The Rockets took three consecutive penalties in the games first ten minutes which allowed the home team two-five on three chances. Instead of the T-Birds playing with the lead, something they haven't enjoyed the luxury of having this entire series, the Rockets found themselves up 2-0 after one period when it should have been the other way around.
- The Rockets showed the T-Birds how to score on the power play when they responded on their first chance of the game. Damon Severson's point shot was tipped by Ryan Olsen, who deflected it past Seattle starter Taran Kozun. Tyrell Goulbourne would score 24 seconds later by skating hard on left wing and wiring a shot past Kozun's stick side.
- The T-Birds ended the night going 1 for 10 on the power play. Some of the penalties were justified while others were marginal. The fact that the visitors were able to win this game while playing 20 odd minutes shorthanded it pretty incredible.
- The best pass of the game goes to Madison Bowey, who fired a puck from the side of his own net to an awaiting Justin Kirkland at the T-Birds blue line. Kirkland skated in all alone on Kozun and nicely tucked the puck five hole on the 19 year-old goaltender. At the time it made the score 5-2, but a late rally by the T-Birds had the Kirkland goal standing up as the game winner.
- I thought Jordon Cooke had his weakest showing of the series but still made timely saves, something Kozun has been unable to do. Cooke made a nice stop on Alexander Delnov in the first period when he was able to steal a puck away from Rockets d-man Riley Stadel at the T-Birds blue line. I think even Cooke will admit he should have had the Ethan Bear goal which made it 2-1 and would normally stop Justin Hickman's shot that made the score 5-3.
- Marek Tvrdon took a bad penalty 6 minutes into the third period when he was assessed a double minor for high sticking. But the 20 year-old also made two terrific passing plays on goals from Tyson Baillie and Madison Bowey. It was Tvrdon's best game of the series. When the dude wants to play he can make some spectacular plays.
- Seattle's Brandon Troock scored four goals in an opening round playoff series with Everett. The Dallas Stars draft pick hasn't found the back of the net in the first three games.
- Revealing stat of the series. Of the Rockets 17 goals, ten have been scored in the first five minutes or the last five minutes of a period.
- T-Birds Alexander Delnov has a goal in all three games in this series.
- The most interesting nugget I got out of T-Birds head coach Steve Konowalchuk during our pre-game interview was he did not want to mention which players needed to be better in order for his team to get back in the series. Instead he preferred to simply say his offensive players need to be better.
- A solid crowd Tuesday night at ShoWare Center. The 2 for 1 promotion brought out over 5 thousand fans who were entertained until the final buzzer sounded. They saw the visitors build up a 4-1 third period lead before the home team battled back with three goals in the final frame.
- The Rockets are now 7 and 1 in the post season.
- If you would have told me at the start of this series that the Rockets would have a 3-0 lead after the first three games I would have said you were crazy.
- The team is one win away from advancing to the third round. Game four is tonight at ShoWare Centre with game five set for Friday back at Prospera Place.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Shorthanded unit shines bright in game three win
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