|Kevin Light Photo|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets have a 3-1 lead on the Victoria Royals heading into game five of their best of seven Western Conference semifinal series tonight at Prospera Place. The Rockets won game one 5-0, game two 4-3 in overtime and game three by a score of 4-2. On Wednesday night, in game four, Greg Chase scored the game winning goal in the Royals 5-4 overtime win. It marked the first time in three playoff overtimes that the Rockets have suffered a defeat. Game five is tonight in Kelowna with game six back in Victoria (if necessary) Sunday. This is the eighth consecutive appearance in the post season for the Rockets and 19th time in the franchises 20 year history. Since the Christmas break the Rockets are 32-8-3-1 (including playoffs). Overall, the team has won 9 of its last 10 games (8 playoffs and last two regular season games).
Scoring in this series:
Period 1 2 3 OT Total
Rockets: 4 7 5 1 17
Royals: 2 3 4 1 10
Shots by Period: 1 2 3 OT Total
Rockets: 49 52 42 4 143
Royals: 36 33 52 2 123
*The Rockets are 6 for 27 on the power play in the series while the Royals are 2 for 18.
Playoff Tidbits: Tomas Soustal has 4 goals in 8 playoff games. It took the 17 year-old 22 regular season games to score his 4th career goal…The home team has won three of the four games in this series….Rockets defenceman Cole Martin shares the same birthdate as Royals rearguard Travis Brown. Both were born March 15, 1994…Tyler Mosienko holds the team record for most playoff games played by a Rockets player. Mosienko played 81 career playoff games. Brett Palin played 75 career playoff games. Tyler Spurgeon, Blake Comeau and Mike Card are third on that list with 72 career playoff games….Dan Lambert was part of a Swift Current Broncos championship team in 1989 that played in a minimum 12 playoff games to earn the WHL championship. Lambert and the Broncos swept every series, winning 4 games to 0, to capture the league crown. Lambert had 28 points (9+19=28) in those 12 playoff games…The Rockets best record in the playoffs was in the 2002-2003 campaign when the team won the Ed Chynoweth Cup with a record of 16 and 3. The team would win its first eight games before losing once in the WCF and twice in WHL final.
Hot to Trot: Tyson Baillie has a point in every playoff game. Baillie is riding an eight game point streak with 6+5=11 over that period…Gage Quinney has goals in four of his last five playoff games….Nick Merkley is riding a six game point streak. Merkley has 1+6=7 over that period....Madison Bowey has points in six straight games. Bowey has 3+4=7 over that stretch….Leon Draisaitl has a five game point streak in this year’s playoffs. The 19 year-old has1+8=9 in those five games…Joe Gatenby leads the Rockets with a +8 rating in the playoffs. Tomas Soustal has goals in four of his last six playoff games.
This and That: Tyson Baillie is the WHL Player of the Week. Baillie had three goals and one assist in the first two games of this second round series to pick up the award…Nick Merkley has been rated as the 23rd best player in North America for June’s NHL draft. NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings last Wednesday. Devante Stephens was rated 116th while Joe Gatenby was 174th …The Rockets have opened the scoring in six of the eight games in this year’s playoffs…Madison Bowey turns 20 on April 22nd…The Rockets won the most road games of any team in the WHL (27)…Nick Merkley and Cole Linaker were the only two players to play in all 72 regular season games this season… The Rockets were held to just one goal seven times this season. Kamloops (road), Seattle (road), Edmonton (road), Calgary (twice – once on road and once at home), Regina (home) and Prince Albert (home) have turned the trick against the highest scoring team in the Western Conference...Justin Kirkland has missed 23 straight games with a LBI…Tyrell Goulbourne has a team high 40 playoff games under his belt…Madison Bowey has 39 games of playoff experience…The Rockets played in 14 post season games last season …Cole Martin has 37 playoff games on his resume….In total, the Rockets have 431 games of playoff experience in the lineup this evening…Rourke Chartier had 6 goals in 14 games in last year’s playoffs. In this year’s post season, the now 19 year-old (turned 19 April 3rd) has six goals in eight games.