- Is it the best line in junior hockey? In game two, Kelowna Rockets head coach Dan Lambert decided to put Leon Draisaitl with Rourke Chartier and Nick Merkley. The trio were reunited in game three and what was the end result? They combined for eight points in a 5-3 win over the Brandon Wheat Kings Monday night and a three games to none lead in the Western Hockey League Championship series. Chartier had two goals and an assist, Draisaitl had a goal and an assist while Merkey had three helpers before the largest crowd of the season (6,271).
- Rockets head coach Dan Lambert on putting those three together. "We put them together in the first period of game two because we needed a spark. We were down 1-0 at the time and they went out and scored on their first shift together".
- This was the most wide open game of the series. This was the type of track meet the Wheat Kings want to be involved in. The first ten minutes was amazing to watch as the two teams traded blows like championship boxers. The Wheat Kings likely have a stronger skill set, as a team, but I think it is safe to say the ability to execute at opportune times favours the Rockets. Just when you thought the Wheat Kings were coming on, a veteran Rockets player would make a significant play to douse any hope of the visitors coming back in the game.
- The Rockets never trailed in this one. Leon Draisaitl opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal and helped the home team to a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes and a 4-2 advantage after 40 minutes. Unlike what we saw in the Western Conference final where the Rockets were always chasing the game against the Winterhawks, the Western Conference Champions are making the Wheat Kings play from behind.
- Which goal was the biggest in game three? Leon Draisaitl's shorthanded goal was massive as the Rockets opened up the scoring for the first time in this series. Or was it Dillon Dube's goal to make the score 3-1 in the second period? I thought relief came in the third period when Rourke Chartier scored his second goal of the game to make it a two goal differential, especially considering Brandon was really coming on at that point of the game.
- Jackson Whistle out-goaltended (is that a word?) Wheat Kings netminder Jordan Papirny. Papriny fought the puck in game three.
- This series is being won with the two teams skating at even strength. The Rockets have fourteen (14) goals in this series. Of those fourteen, a remarkable ten (10) of them have been scored when the two teams have the same number of skaters on the ice. Brandon has scored nine goals (9) in this series, with only four coming while playing five-on-five.
- This is how the Rockets goals have been scored in this series. Ten have come even strength or when the two teams are playing the same number of players on the ice. Two have come shorthanded with one being a power play goal and one coming into an empty net.
- This was also the most physical game of the series. The Wheat Kings attempted to up the physical play, with no better of a body check applied than the one Jayce Hawryluk had on Rockets d-man Josh Morrissey in the second period. Unfortunately for Hawryluk, he is a series worst -9 in the first three games.
- It marked the first time this season the Wheat Kings have dropped three straight games.
- The Rockets have won 6 straight games and are clearly peaking at the right time. Props to the players and coaches for making that happen. Playing with confidence/moxie and a certain cockiness, which all champions tend to have is awfully fun to watch.
- It was nice to see Shea Weber, Josh Gorges, Wade Redden and Jordin Tootoo all in the building last night. All four make Kelowna their off season home.
- Congratulations to Cal Foote for signing with the Kelowna Rockets. The 16 year-old (December 16th, 1998) was the teams second round puck in 2013. The entire Foote family, including ex-NHLer Adam Foote, took in last night's game.
- The last four game sweep in the WHL final was in 2008 when the Spokane Chiefs, led by Tyler Johnson, eliminated the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Are they the most dangerous line in junior hockey?
on May 12, 2015