April 22, 2014 - 5:21 PM
Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets face the Portland Winterhawks in game three of the Western Conference championship series. In game one the Rockets were a 5-4 winner before the Winterhawks countered with a 5-3 victory in game two. Game four in this series is tomorrow night at the Moda Center before the series shifts back to Kelowna for game five Friday night. This is the third time in the last four seasons these two teams have met in the playoffs. Back in 2011 they collided in round two before meeting in round one in the 2012 post season. The Winterhawks won both of those playoff series. These two teams met four times during the regular season with the Rockets going 4-0-0-0. Overall, the Rockets out-scored the Winterhawks 28-10 in the seasonal series including 12-5 on home ice and 16-5 on the road. The Rockets out-shot the Winterhawks in three of the four games. The Rockets are playing in the Western Conference final for the 6th time in franchise history and for the first time since 2009.
Game Two Tidbits: Nick Merkley had a goal and an assist in the 5-3 setback. The Rockets had a 2-0 lead after one period of play before the Winterhawks would erupt with four-second period goals. The Rockets gave up a playoff high 53 shots on net. It marked the first time in the playoffs the Rockets suffered a loss on home ice. The loss snapped the teams 7 game playoff winning streak. The Rockets were 2 for 3 on the power play.
Game One Tidbits: Jesse Lees scored the game winning goal in game one. It was the Calgary residents’ first career playoff goals. It was Lees’ 15 career WHL playoff game. Tyson Baillie had three points in last night’s win. Baillie also had three points (1+2=3) in a game four loss in Tri City in round one. The Rockets used five different goal scorers in a game one win. Jordon Cooke earned his second assist of the playoffs with a helper on Baillie’s first period goal to make the score 3-1. Rourke Chartier scored last night giving him four goals in his last six playoff games. The crowd of 6,218 was the largest of the season at Prospera Place.
This and That: The Winterhawks opened the scoring in game one and the Rockets opened up the scoring in game two. The team that has opened the scoring and held the lead after 20 minutes has lost. Rockets forward Rourke Chartier and Winterhawks captain Taylor Leier are both from Saskatoon and played their midget hockey with the Saskatoon Contacts. Damon Severson led the team in scoring in a second round series with Seattle with 4+7=11. Nick Merkley was next with 2+6=8. The Rockets are 9 and 2 in the playoffs. The Winterhawks are 9 and 2. The Rockets have scored 17 power play goals in the 2014 playoffs. The Winterhawks have 17 with the extra man. The Rockets have won seven of their last 8 playoff games. The only losses were a 4-3 setback in game three in Tri City in the opening round and in game two (5-3) against Portland. The Rockets have allowed 17 goals in seven home playoff games. That is an average of 2.42 goals against in the 2014 post season. Defenceman Madison Bowey signed a three year entry level contract with the NHL’s Washington Capitals April 2nd. The 18 year-old was chosen in the second round of the 2013 NHL draft – 53rd overall. The Rockets have killed off 46 of its last 53 shorthanded situations in this year’s playoffs. The Rockets have a power play goal in all eleven playoff games. The Kelowna Rockets franchise played its 200th playoff game Saturday night. This is the 37th playoff series the Rockets have been involved in since relocating from Tacoma for the start of the 1995-96 season. Jordon Cooke was named the VAUGHN WHL Goaltender of the Month for March. It is the second time this season that Cooke has been named VAUGHN WHL Goaltender of the Month, having earned the honor for September/October as well. Damon Severson was named the WHL Player of the Week on April 7th. Severson had three goals and four assists with a +3 rating that week. Four members of the Rockets have made NHL Central Scouting’s final list for this June’s draft. Justin Kirkland, Riley Stadel, Rourke Chartier and Tyson Baillie are cracked NHLCS prestigious list. Madison Bowey turns 19 on April 22nd. Rourke Chartier had 5+4=9 in his first 27 regular season games. In his final 45 regular season games the 17 year-old had 19+30=49.
Who’s Hot: Nick Merkley is riding a 8 game point streak. Merkely has 3+11=14 over that period. Damon Severson has points in five of his last six games. The 19 year-old has 4+9=13 over that period. Marek Tvrdon has points in nine of the eleven games in this year’s playoffs (5+7=12). Rourke Chartier is riding a 8 game point streak. Chartier has 5+5=10 over that stretch. Jordon Cooke is 9 and 2 in this year’s playoffs with a goals against average of 2.73 and a save percentage of .920. Over his career, Cooke is 13-4-4 in 22 playoff appearances. The Leduc Alberta product has been pulled only once, in a second round series against the Kamloops Blazers in the 2013 post season.
Playoff Highs Low:
Most Goals Scored: 6 vs. Seattle in games one and two.
Most Goals Allowed: 5 in game two vs. Portland (5-3) in WCF.
Most Power Play Goals: 3. Went 3 for 6 in game one against T-Birds in round two.
Most Shots Taken: 55 @ Tri City (4-3 Loss) Game three vs. Tri City in round one.
Most Shots Allowed: 53 vs. Portland in game two. (5-3 loss)