|Shoot the Breeze Photography|
Tonight’s Preview: April Fools! It is no joke though; it is game five of an opening round playoff series between the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers. The series is tied at two wins apiece. The Blazers were a 5-1 winner in game four Wednesday night in Kamloops. Game six is tomorrow night at Sandman Centre with a possible game seven back at Prospera Place on Monday. These two teams are meeting for the 6th time in the playoffs. 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 0 for 17 on the power play in the series. The Blazers are 3 for 18…The Rockets have opened the scoring in three of the four games…The Rockets have held identical 3-1 leads after 40 minutes in two of the four games…The Rockets have had the lead to start the third period in three of the four games……Rockets regular season leading scorer Tyson Baillie has 0+2=2 in the first 4 games of this series. Blazers leading scorer Collin Shirley has 4+2=6 in the first four games…This is game 13 between these two teams. Ten of the 12 (regular season/playoffs) have been decided by a single goal. The most lopsided score was in game four when the Blazers won 5-1.
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. Michael Herringer made 19 saves while Blazers goaltender Connor Ingram made 33 stops.
Number Crunching Tyson Baillie has 50 games of playoff experience, the most on the Rockets roster…Baillie has 23+32=55 in those 50 games…Cole Linaker is next with 48 playoff games under his belt…Tyler Mosienko is the franchise leader in playoff games played with 81 …. The Rockets reached the 100 point mark for a fourth consecutive season and 6th time in franchise history. The team accomplished the goal in 2002-2003 (109), 2004-2005 (104), 2012-2013 (108), 2013-2014 (118) and 2014-2015 (109)…Devante Stephens was the only Kelowna Rockets player to participate in all 72 regular season games this season…The Rockets have out-shot the opponent in 11 of the last 14 games.… …Tyson Baillie has been named a Western Conference first team all-star…The Rockets handed out its season ending awards. Tyson Baillie was named MVP. Joe Gatenby was the top defenceman. Cal Foote was the rookie of the year. Cole Linaker was the top defensive forward for a third straight season. Rourke Chartier was the sportsmanlike player of the year for a third consecutive season. Foote was the scholastic player of the year. Justin Kirkland was the unsung hero. The humanitarian award went to Riley Stadel.
Tyson Time? Tyson Baillie has not scored in the first four games of this playoff series. The 20 year-old’s longest scoring drought during the regular season was four games, which happened twice, before scoring in the fifth game. Is it a sign of things to come? Baillie is playing in his 380th game with the Rockets organization (regular season/playoffs) this evening. Baillie’s last playoff goal was in game one of the WHL final last season against the Brandon Wheat Kings. Baillie is scoreless in seven playoff games dating back to last year.