Monday, April 4, 2016

It all comes down to one game

Tonight’s Preview: It is game seven. It is a one game showdown to see who advances to the next round of the WHL playoffs against the Victoria Royals and whose season come to an end. The best of seven affair is tied at three wins apiece with the Rockets winning games 1, 3 and 5 and the Blazers winning games 2, 4 and 6. No team has won back-to back games in this series. The Blazers avoided elimination Saturday night with a 4-0 win. These two teams are meeting for the 6th time in the playoffs but are going to a game seven for the first time against each other. They clashed in 1992, 1999, 2002, 2009, 2013 and now in 2016. In four of the five playoff meetings the series has lasted just four games. Only in 1999 did the series go six games with the Blazers prevailing four games to two. 

What we’ve learned so far: The Rockets are 2 for 25 on the power play in the series. The Blazers are 5 for 30…The Rockets have opened the scoring in four of the six games…Michael Herringer has shutouts in two of his last four starts but has been pulled twice....The Rockets have had the lead to start the third period in four of the six games……Rockets regular season leading scorer Tyson Baillie has 0+2=2 in the first 6 games of this series. Blazers leading scorer Collin Shirley has 5+3=8 in the first 6 games…This is game 15 between these two teams. Ten of the 14 (regular season/playoffs) have been decided by a single goal. The most lopsided score was in game five (4-0 Rockets win) and game four (Blazers 5-1 win) and game six (Blazers 4-0 win).

Game Six Recap: Gage Quinney had two goals and an assist in the Blazers 4-0 win. Connor Ingram made 26 saves in the shutout. The Blazers scored two of four goals on the power play while out-shooting the Rockets 33-26. It was the first time the Rockets have been shutout in the playoffs since March 24/12 vs. Portland when Mac Carruth made 20 saves in a 4-0 win in game two of a four game sweep.  
Game Five Recap: Rodney Southam scored three times leading the Rockets to a 4-0 win. Michael Herringer made 42 saves for his second shutout of the series. Rourke Chartier also scored in the team’s most complete game of the series. The Rockets were 2 for 6 on the power play and 7 for 7 on the penalty kill. 
Game Four Recap: Collin Shirley had two goals and an assist in the Blazers 5-1 win Wednesday night. The Blazers had period leads of 3-1 and 4-1. Calvin Thurkauf scored the lone goal for the Rockets, who were 0 for 2 on the power play. Michael Herringer surrendered four goals on 28 shots before being pulled to start the third period. Rookie Brodan Salmond made 10 saves in a relief appearance.
Game Three Recap: Michael Herringer made 40 saves in the Rockets 1-0 win over the Blazers. Justin Kirkland scored the game winning goal less than two minutes into the second period. The Rockets were 0 for 5 on the power play while the Blazers were 0 for 4.
Game Two Recap: The Kelowna Rockets built up a 3-1 third period lead only to allow four-third period goals in a 5-4 loss. Rourke Chartier, Tomas Soustal with two and Rodney Southam with a shorthanded goal scored in a losing cause. The Rockets were 0 for 5 on the power play and surrendered three power play goals. It marked the first time this season the Rockets lost in regulation time when leading after 40 minutes.
Game One Recap: Lucas Johansen scored twice leading the Kelowna Rockets to a 3-2 win. Dillon Dube and Johansen scored goals 47 seconds apart in the second period to take a 3-0 lead. The Blazers would fight back when Gage Quinney scored to make it a 3-1 game after 40 minutes. With the goaltender pulled for the extra attacker, Collin Shirley would find the back of the net to make it a one goal game. The Rockets were 0 for 3 on the power play while going 3 for 3 on the penalty kill.

Number Crunching The Rockets top four scorers during the regular season (Baillie, Kirkland, Dube, Linaker) have combined for 11 points in this series. The Blazers top four scorers during the regular season (Shirley, Needham, Sideroff, Quinney) have combined for 23 points…In the three wins in this series, Michael Herringer’s goals against average is 0.67 with a save percentage of .981….The Kelowna Rockets had a team record 71 shots on the Tri City Americans goal on April 1, 2015. The game four win ended up being a 5-4 final. Eric Comrie was named the first star….Jackson Whistle had back-to-back shutouts against the Tri City Americans in a four game sweep in last year’s opening round playoff series…Tyson Baillie has 52 games of playoff experience, the most on the Rockets roster…Baillie has 23+32=55 in those 52 games…Cole Linaker is next with 50 playoff games under his belt…Tyler Mosienko is the franchise leader in playoff games played with 81 …The Rockets are going to a game seven for the first time since the 2013 post season when Tyson Baillie scored in overtime against Seattle in round one. 

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