Thursday, April 24, 2014

Stay out of the box!

  • Five on five the Kelowna Rockets were OK. Down a man was a different story. Too many trips to the penalty box cost the Rockets dearly last night in a 5-1 loss to the Portland Winterhawks. Nic Petan scored three times on the power play in the largest margin of victory so far in this series. Petan's three goals were part of five straight for the Winterhawks, who have a three games to one lead in the Western Conference final.
  • What was the turning point in the game? You could pick two. In my opinion it was Petan's second goal of the game on the power play to give the Winterhawks a 2-1 lead. Captain Madison Bowey took a penalty you just can't take at this time of the year. In an attempted to check a Winterhawks forward, Bowey punched the unsuspecting player in the back of the head. It was a needless penalty that put the Winterhawks on the power play. Petan scores and it was all down hill from there. Up until that point the visitors were in an excellent position.
  • The other turning point you could consider was Oliver Bjorkstrand's shorthanded goal to make the score 3-1. Damon Severson lost the puck at the Winterhawks blue line and the 50 goal scorer stole it and beat Jordon Cooke on a backhand breakaway. 
  • The Rockets best forward was again Nick Merkley. How can Merkley be the teams best forward? Rourke Chartier wasn't far behind. It is because they work, skate and compete unlike many of their  older teammates. The older players have to watch Merkley and mirror what he does. If everyone on the roster competed a hard as the shy unsuspecting Calgary resident, without a shadow of a doubt this series isn't over.
  • Corbin Boes, the Winterhawks goaltender, deserves some praise for his efforts. The 20 year-old had to make some solid stops in game four. The Rockets generated some real good looks but it was only Merkley that was able to beat him. The majority of the quality chances Boes saw were when the Rockets were playing five on five.
  • Boes out dueled Cooke on this night but I am not throwing the veteran Rockets goaltender under the bus on this night. It was BAD penalties that sunk his teams ship.  
  • The good news? After a 5-1 loss, some would say there isn't any. But there is. The Rockets were significantly better in their own zone. They were as good as the Winterhawks even strength. While facing playoff elimination, game five is back at Prospera Place Friday night.   
  • The crowds in Portland were excellent. Over 9 thousand at the Moda Center was impressive for a Wednesday night.  It was nice to see a lot of familiar faces.

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