- Wayne Gretzky's unofficial 'office' was always behind the opposition net. He was often seen stick-handling behind the goal before niftily setting up a teammate or taking matters into his own hands and beating the goaltender himself with a wrap around using either his forehand or backhand. I think it is safe to say Tyson Baillie's 'office' is situated at the left face-off circle at the north end at Prospera Place. The 19 year is golden from that shooting area. The Fort, Saskatchewan resident scored from almost that exact spot last night in the Kelowna Rockets 4-3 overtime thriller over the Victoria Royals. It was almost the exact same location where he scored the game winner - also in overtime - in a game seven playoff series victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds two seasons ago. Last night's goal came a little easier than the one in 2013 though. Leon Draisaitl had the puck against the right side boards and feathered a perfect on the tape pass that Baillie calmly slid into the back of the net. It gave the Rockets a 2-0 series lead heading into game three and four in Victoria Tuesday and Wednesday night.
- The Baillie goal came just after Victoria Royals defenceman Chaz Reddekopp came out of the penalty box after taking a late third period boarding call. The call was questionable in a 3-3 game. I know that an infraction is an infraction no matter what the score, but this was a soft call in my opinion. I am just calling a spade a spade. Regardless, the Rockets took advantage and carried the power play into overtime. While they didn't 'technically' score on it, it was the end result that created the odd man scoring chance when Redekopp attempting to get back into the play.
- As for that 'soft call', it comes with the territory of being an aggressive team. Whether the Royals like it or not, they have a reputation and they won't get the benefit of the doubt from the officials when you play an angry game. My belief is if you are on the officials all game long, which Lowry was, the veteran referee's won't cower to you. I think it works against you frankly, not for you. Sometimes less is more when barking at the officials. But Lowry knows better than I do. He will guide Canada's entry at the World Juniors, so he can do whatever he pleases.
- So, where do we start to describe the Rockets effort in game two? Safe to say the Royals were much better. Despite what Victoria head coach Dave Lowry thought in game one, his team was not prepared from the very start and were thoroughly outplayed. That wasn't the case in game two though, but my belief is the Rockets had a lot to do with that. You could tell in the first period that this would be a rough game for the home team. Passes were off, the intensity/jump was nowhere near what it was a night earlier. Given three early first period power plays can be a blessing or a curse. In this case it was a curse. The Rockets never could get on track and a short 5 on 3 power play didn't even manufacture a real good scoring chance.
- The real story of the game was the strong play of Jackson Whistle. Without Whistle's solid effort this series would be tied at one. I didn't exactly like the third goal he gave up on a soft shot from Austin Carroll that was kicked out only to see Brandon Magee find the rebound to tie the game, but Whistle was still the reason why his team is heading to Victoria with a two-nothing advantage.
- A stealth move by Dave Lowry to switch goaltenders after the Rockets opened up a 3-0 second period lead. Starter Coleman Vollrath wasn't awful by any means, but the switch tends to give a team a lift and it worked for the Royals. Honestly, the Rockets were lucky to be up 3-0 considering how they played in the first 27 minutes of the game. The Royals were the better team and deserved a much better fate. By hockey is a cruel sport where sometime you outplay the opponent and still come out on the short end of the stick.
- The Rockets lost defenceman Josh Morrissey, who didn't return after the first period. In fact, the 19 year-old assisted on Tyson Baillie's opening goal late in the period. The Royals lost forward Greg Chase after the Edmonton Oilers draft pick was found playing without a mouth guard. Chase was assessed a 10 minute misconduct. To make matters worse once Chase located his mouth guard, and before stepping off the ice, he threw it in the direction of the officials. Chase was immediately ejected from the game. It makes me wonder why a one game suspension wouldn't be appropriate in this matter. How can a fight four seconds into a game between two willing combatants (Braid and James) be worse than a player who literally shows no respect towards the officials? We have our priorities way out of whack here!! Chase won't get suspended, but isn't the way things are ruled in the game often times a little ass backwards?
- How many chances did Royals forward Tyler Soy have in game two? Whistle had his number numerous times.
- Gage Quinney has scored in three straight games.
- The Rockets have won 6 straight playoff games. They won seven in a row in the 2014 post season.
- Leon Draisaitl had three assists.
- Game three and four are in Victoria Tuesday and Wednesday. The Rockets have to find the jam they had in game one or they will be headed home Friday for a game five with this series tied at two wins apiece.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
Baillie is money at the left face-off circle
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- Whistle first star in road win
- One 'Hill' of a night
- An off day in Portland well spent
- Winterhawks more determined in one goal win
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- Enough talk'n...let's play!
- Notes, quotes and anecdotes
- Rockets: More battle ready
- Here come the Hawks!!!
- Some kind of wonderful
- Royals trying to upset the apple cart
- Split on road leaves Rockets sour
- Game notes in advance of game three
- Baillie is money at the left face-off circle
- Rockets show no sign of rink rust
- Let the battle begin
- Friendship put on hold
- Loose but focused heading into Friday's affair
- Rockets and Royals clash in second round
- Soft spoken forward makes noise in overtime
- Tough night for goalies in game three victory
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