Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Loose but focused heading into Friday's affair

  • It was a loose group on the ice during a spirited practice Tuesday afternoon in advance of game one of the Western Conference semi final series between the Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals. But when I spoke to the player after the workout, all three of the individuals I interviewed had a certain confident air about them. That isn't a bad thing to have at this time of the year. I rather see that than an uptight group lacking confidence. With more players getting healthy by the day, this should be one heck of a series against two teams that know each other very well. Sure, small adjustments will be made, but at the end of the day it will all be about who wants it more that will advance to the final four.
  • Tyrell Goulbourne may have missed games three and four of an opening round series with the Tri City Americans, but he wouldn't miss a date with the Royals in round two for anything. The 21 year-old is looking forward to playing against an old friend, Brandon Magee, as the two buddies off the ice will have to put their friendship on the shelf for a week and a half as the two Edmonton residents face each other for the first time in a playoff series. Goulbourne has 37 games of playoff experience while Magee has 23 games under his belt.
  • You would be correct to assume that the 71 shots the Rockets registered in a game four opening round playoff win over Tri City a week ago today was indeed a club record. The old mark was 67 shots on goal in a 4-3 overtime win against the Vancouver Giants in the 2003 post season.
  • The Rockets are making their third consecutive appearance in the Western Conference semi finals. The team faced Seattle in round two last season with a four game sweep before facing the Kamloops Blazers in 2013 and being eliminated in four straight.  
  • I mentioned on this blog before how much I like Victoria Royals d-man Chaz Redikopp. Known at the WHL level as a shut down defenceman, that is a far cry from the type of player the Royals drafted in the first round in 2012. Redikopp scored a lot of goals while playing bantam at Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy, picking up 18 goals and collecting 59 points in 62 games back in 2011-2012.  
  • Madison Bowey is one of only two current Kelowna Rockets that were with the team during a second round appearance in 2011 against the Portland Winterhawks. Tyrell Goulbourne was just 16 at the time while Bowey played game six as a 15 year-old. 
  • Overtime hockey in the playoffs can be a lengthy affair. The longest playoff game involving the Rockets came April 22, 2003, when in double overtime, Tyler Metcalfe would score the game winner at the 18:58 mark in Seattle's 3-2 win. It just eclipsed a double overtime win for the Rockets against Vancouver on May 27, 2003. On that night, Ryan Cuthbert would score at 18:25 of double overtime in a 4-3 win. 
  • I was asked the other day about the Kelowna Rockets playoff record for most goals in a playoff series. The answer is easy because it didn't happen that long ago and it was very memorable. Geordie Wudrick would score eight goals in an opening round playoff series against the Everett Silvertips in a heart pumping game seven affair back in 2010.

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