Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Rockets/Royals game notes

Kevin Light photo
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets and Victoria Royals meet tonight in game three of this best of seven Western Conference semi-final series. The Royals lead the series 2-0 after a 2-1 win in game one, Thursday night, and a 3-2 victory in game two on Saturday. 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. After tonight, the series continues with game four, Thursday, at Prospera Place with game five in Victoria on Friday.

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.

Broadcasters Notebook: How important is it for the Rockets to open the scoring? They have lost all four games when the opponent finds the scoreboard firstWhen 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…The Rockets have just three power play goals in the 2016 post season. In other words, the Rockets have failed to score a power play goal in seven of its nine playoff games…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….Former Kelowna Rockets goaltender Kristofer Westblom is competing in the Allan Cup, the Canadian Senior Men’s Senior AAA Hockey Championship this week in Steinbach, Manitoba. Westblom is playing for the lle-des-Chenes (pronounced: Eel-de-shane) North Stars, which is a community 28 kilometers southeast of Winnipeg. Joining Westblom on the North Stars is former Brandon Wheat Kings and Spokane Chiefs defenceman Reid Gow……In Michael Herringer’s four wins in the opening round, the 20 year-old posted a goals against average of 0.73 and a save percentage of .977…Tomas Soustal and Tyson Baillie leads the Rockets in playoff points with 6 apiece

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.

Number Crunching This is the Rockets 82nd game of the season….Devante Stephens is the only Rockets player to dress in every game this season…Tyson Baillie has 25+34=59 in 55 career playoff games…Cole Linaker is next with 53 playoff games under his belt…Tyler Mosienko is the franchise leader in playoff games played with 81. Mosienko had 55 points in those 81 games.

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