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- Well, look what we have here. Hockey wouldn't be the same if the Kelowna Rockets and Portland Winterhawks didn't meet in an April clash in the WHL playoffs. Typically, these two franchises meet in the Western Conference final, but this year, the two post season rivals will meet in the second round. It is the 6th time - ever - that the franchises clash with the same goal of ending the other teams season. The Rockets and Winterhawks last met in the 2015 Western Conference final, with the Rockets advancing in six games. These two teams also met in 2014, also in the Western Conference final, with the Hawks ending the Rockets season. The Hawks also eliminated the Rockets in 2012 and 2011. If you want to go way back to the 1994 playoffs, the Winterhawks eliminated the Tacoma Rockets in the 1st round.
- This series features the top two scoring teams in the Western Conference this season. The Rockets scored 283 goals to lead the Conference while the Winterhawks scored 278 times. The Winterhawks are led by draft eligible Cody Glass, who scored 32 goals and collected 94 points and is projected to be a first round NHL draft pick in June. Glass was the scoring leader for Portland while Kole Lind, also draft eligible this season, had the most points in a Rockets uniform. NHL scouts will compare the two greatly in this best of seven series.
- On the blue line, the Winterhawks are aided by 19 year-old Edmonton Oilers draft pick Caleb Jones, who helped the United States beat Rockets forward Dillon Dube and Team Canada in the gold medal game at the most recently world junior hockey championship. The Dube/Jones match up will be fun to watch.
- The two teams were separated by only 11 points in the Western Conference standings.
- The Rockets and Winterhawks met four times during the regular season, with the Rockets winning three of the games. The Rockets beat the Winterhawks by scores of 5-3, 3-2 and 4-1, but in the last meeting, January 28th at Prospera Place, the Winterhawks stunned the Rockets with a 5-4 win. The Winterhawks scored the game winning goal with 4 seconds left in regulation time. That was the difference between the Rockets raising a BC Division banner this season. Had the game gone into overtime, with the Rockets earning a point, a new banner would be waving high in the rafters at Prospera Place and would have not been claimed by the Prince George Cougars.
- In the seasonal series, Nick Merkley and Tomas Soustal led the way with 6 points each with 3 goals and 3 assists. The Rockets power play was a huge factor in the team success, scoring 5 power play goals against the Winterhawks in 18 chances.
- Can we re-create the playoff battles between these two teams over the years when the Winterhawks had the likes of Ty Rattie, Brendan Leipsic and Mac Carruth causing the emotional tension to escalate with every passing game? No we can't, but with head coach Mike Johnston back behind the Portland bench, not all is lost.