Thursday, April 2, 2015

Soft spoken forward makes noise in overtime

Gage Quinney - Shoot the Breeze Photo
  • Dan Lambert had a hunch that Gage Quinney would be the hero in overtime. The Kelowna Rockets head coach channelled his inner Nostradamus to predict the 19 year-old forward would find the back of the net for his first ever playoff goal. Whether it was pure luck or a premonition, Lambert called it. Quinney went out and beat Americans goaltender Eric Comrie with 1:28 left in the first overtime, lifting the Kelowna Rockets to a 5-4 win and a four game sweep. Quinney’s game winner came on the Rockets 71st shot on net.
  • That’s right; the Rockets would fire 71 shots at Americans goaltender Eric Comrie. That total was built up after carrying a 16-0 shot advantage in the first nine minutes of the game before Tri City would finally get a puck directed towards Jackson Whistle. A seeing eye wrist shot from the side boards glancing off defenceman Cole Martin and then found its way past Whistle. The Rockets ended the opening period with a 20-7 shot advantage yet trailed 2-0. It marked the first time in the series that the Americans had scored a first period goal and the first time they had a lead after twenty minutes.
  • Despite the two goal deficit, Rourke Chartier got the ball rolling early in the second period to make it a one goal game, but again the Americans found the back of the net. A weak wrister from the blue line that Whistle had problems detecting ended up hitting the post before it was jammed in for a shorthanded goal. Head Coach Dan Lambert had no choice but to pull the veteran goaltender in favour of back up Michael Herringer, who made 11 saves, earned his first career WHL playoff win and saw his team claw back from a 4-1 deficit.
  • Did the change in goal make a difference? Madison Bowey scored a power play goal shortly thereafter and Rourke Chartier fired home his second of the game 36 seconds later. Entering the third period down by only a goal, Bowey scored his second of the game 37 seconds into the final frame and it was tied at four. Three goals in a span of 2:24 seconds had the visitors on even terms.
  • Game four started with a bang when Rockets designated tough guy Chance Braid dropped the gloves with Americans 230 pound forward Maxwell James. The two were jawing at the opening face-off and then elected to tangle just four seconds after the puck was dropped. The WHL frowns upon such actions, so Braid may find himself suspended for game one of the Western Conference semi final.
  • The Rockets eliminated the Americans in four straight games. It marked the first time the Tacoma/Kelowna Rockets have eliminated a U.S based team in the first round in a sweep in their 24 years in the WHL.
  • The loss for the Americans saw the end of the junior career for 19 year-old goaltender Eric Comrie. The classy Edmonton product is regarded as one of the elite netminders in his age group will now go on to pro hockey in the AHL with the Winnipeg Jets minor league affiliate. It was great to shake his hand after the game and congratulate him on a tremendous WHL career.
  • Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving took in Wednesday night’s game.
  • The Rockets now await the winner of the Victoria/Prince George series to see who they will face in round two. Game one and two are set for next Friday and Saturday night at Prospera Place. Tickets go on sale this morning.


Peter Maryschuk said...

Kelowna's 'backup' goalies have been amazing this year. When they are inserted into the game the rest of the team seems to tighten up the defence around them and play a simpler game. There should never be any second doubts about playing anyone in the line up during any situation. Otherwise, they shouldn't be there. Go Rockets!

Regan Bartel said...

I agree. Herringer is a solid back up. Shows great quickness down low and an especially good blocker.