Monday, April 11, 2016

Suck it up buttercup

  • We've had ample time to dissect and ingest what happened in game two's 'no-goal' that went off the skate of Kelowna Rockets forward Tyson Baillie. Let's move on. Bitching and complaining won't solve the dilemma the team is in. Only a win in game three will do that. Look at how the Rockets rallied in game three of an opening round playoff series against Kamloops. After surrendering a 3-1 third period lead and watching in disbelief as the Blazers scored four goals in the third period, including the game winner with five seconds remaining in regulation time, it's another indicator that obstacles will get in your way. It is how you deal with them that makes a long playoff run so rewarding. 
  • Let's be honest, the Rockets could have avoided that entire scenario in game two had they played with more passion, intensity and emotion earlier in the game. Why wait until you are down by two goals with 9 minutes left in the game before finally taking it to the next level? For whatever reason, it has been a common theme with this team all season long. 
  • Positives? Tyson Baillie seems to have found his groove again. The 20 year-old had a goal and an assist in the game two loss and had a glorious chance to tie the game, not once but twice, when he was denied by the right pad of Royals goaltender Coleman Vollrath in the dying stages of game two. Baillie also won several key draws late in the game, none better than his clear face-off win for a quick shot from Justin Kirkland that made the score 3-2. 
  • Where has Cole Linaker gone? Pointless in 7 straight playoff games, the 20 year-old doesn't need to have a multiple point night, but he can't be invisible on the ice. In round one, Linaker was able to hit the crossbar no less than twice and made Blazers goaltender Connor Ingram make a solid save.
  • The Rockets had just 8 scoring chances in game two. They usually average 15 per game. Against Kamloops they average 20 scoring chances per game. While Coleman Vollrath has been steady in this series, the Rockets need to generate more quality chances on the 20 year-old goalie. 
  • It would be interesting to see the Rockets play with the lead in this series. The Royals have opened the scoring in both games and have failed to play without the lead for the entire 120 minutes. 
  • Will Joe Hicketts play in game three? Why rush the all-star defenceman when your team can win without him? Are they better off with him? Of course they are, but if he is even remotely questionable, why force him into playing if he isn't 100%. If the shoe was on the other foot and the Royals were down two games to none, it is a completely different story. An 80% healthy Joe Hicketts, in a desperate situation, would still be a massive upgrade back on the blue line.
  • The best player for the Royals in games one and two is clearly Jack Walker. With goals in four straight games dating back to game six of the Royals/Chiefs series, the 19 year-old undrafted player is playing with speed/pace and no one on the Rockets side, up until now, has been able to match Walker's determination. 
  • While the fans in Victoria were cheering loudly when Royals pint sized forward Dante Hannoun sent Justin Kirkland tumbling in a game two hit behind the Royals net, it was a clear indicator where Kirkland's battle level and commitment to winning is at in this series. Kirkland is not a hitter. Kirkland, up until this season, lacked aggressiveness in his overall game, but the 19 year-old clearly does not want to go down without a fight in this series. While he was knocked down by the 5'5, 157 pound forward, that lost body check spoke volumes of how much Kirkland wants to win. 
  • Thanks to Mike Walker for his help over the last two broadcasts in Victoria. Walker provided colour commentary on our AM 1150 broadcasts and did an absolutely terrific job. Check his business out at

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