|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals meet tonight in game four of this best of seven Western Conference semi-final series. The Royals lead the series 2 games to 1 after a 2-1 win in game one, a 3-2 victory in game two before the Rockets turned the table with a 3-2 game three win. Game five is Friday in Victoria. These two teams met last season in the second round with the Rockets winning in five games. These two teams met eight times during the regular season with the Rockets winning three games. Two of those three wins came in Victoria. Conversely, The Royals won three times at Prospera Place in Kelowna.
Game Three Recap: Rourke Chartier had a goal and two assists in the Rockets 3-2 win. Tomas Soustal scored the game winner at the midway point of the third period. Michael Herringer made 30 saves and was named the second star. The Rockets were 1 for 3 on the power play while the Royals were 0 for 3. The Rockets out-shot the Royals 38-32.
Game Two Recap: Jack Walker was credited with two goals in the Royals 3-2 win. Walker scored a power play goal to open the scoring and his shot appeared to go off the stick of Alex Forsberg in the third period, also on the power play, yet Walker was given the goal. The Rockets found the back of the net courtesy of Tyson Baillie and Justin Kirkland. The Rockets were 1 for 4 on the power play while the Royals were 2 for 4 with the extra man. The Rockets out-shot the Royals 28-26.
Game One Recap: Dante Hannoun scored the game winning goal at the 1:25 mark of the second period in the Victoria Royals 2-1 win. Jack Walker opened the scoring four minutes into the first period before Tyson Baillie scored his first goal of the playoffs to tie the score at one after the opening 20 minutes. The Rockets were 0 for 4 on the power play but were 4 for 4 on the penalty kill. The Rockets out-shot the Royals 41-31.
Common Trends: The team that has opened the scoring has won all three games…The team leading after 40 minutes has won all three games…The Rockets have out-shot the Royals in all three games…Michael Herringer has started all three games in goal for the Rockets while Coleman Vollrath has started all three games in this series for the Royals…The home team has won every game in this playoff series…This is the 12th meeting between the two teams this season.
Broadcasters Notebook: Goaltender Michael Herringer has been named a game star in five of the ten playoff games. Herringer has been the first star (2), the second star (2) and the third star (1)….Seven of the Rockets 10 games in this year’s playoffs have been decided by a single goal… The Rockets were involved in 8 – one goal games in last year’s playoffs…When was the last time the Rockets lost the first two games of a playoff series? It was in 2013 in a second round series with the Kamloops Blazers. The team would drop back-to-back games at home before being swept in back-to-back games on the road…When was the last time the Rockets dropped the first two games of a playoff series only to bounce back and win a best of seven affair? The team lost the first three games against Seattle in 2013 only to win four consecutive games.
How did we get here: The Rockets advanced to the second round of the WHL playoffs with a thrilling game seven - 2-1 overtime victory vs. the Kamloops Blazers. Tomas Soustal scored the game winner at the 7:07 mark of overtime. The team that scored the first goal won 6 of the 7 games in a series which featured three shutouts. It marked the 8th time in franchise history the Rockets have been forced to a game seven and it was the third consecutive win in dramatic game seven fashion. It was the first time the Rockets and Blazers were involved in a game seven finale. In total, the Rockets and Blazers played in 17 games against one another this season (8 in regular season, 7 in playoffs and 2 in pre-season).
The Matchup: The Royals earned the WHL regular season title and BC Division crown with 106 points this season. The Rockets had 100 points. The Royals had 50 wins. The Rockets had 48 victories. The Rockets had 27 home ice wins, one better than Victoria. The Rockets played in 28-one goal games (20-4-4-0) while the Royals were only involved in 19 (8-5-3-3). The Rockets leading point producers against the Royals during the regular season was Justin Kirkland (4+3=7) and Dillon Dube (4+1=5). Michael Herringer was 2-4-0-0 in six appearances with a goals against average of 4.13.