KELOWNA - The Kelowna Rockets face the Portland Winterhawks in game one of the Western Conference Championship series at Prospera Place tonight. 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.
Game two in the series is tomorrow night before shifting to Portland for games three and four next Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Game five is back at Prospera Place on Friday April 25th. The Rockets are playing in the Western Conference final for the 6th time in franchise history and for the first time since 2009.
*The Winterhawks opened the scoring in three of the four games. The Rockets were 8/22 on the power play (36.4%) in the four games while Portland was 1/23 (4.3%) with the extra man.
Jordon Cooke started all four games for the Rockets in goal while Brendan Burke played in three of the four games but was pulled in two of them.
Combined, these two teams had a regular season record of 111-24-2-7. If you add their playoff records to the mix they are a combined 127-26-2-7. The Rockets advanced to the Western Conference final after a five game series win over Tri City in round one and a four game sweep of Seattle in round two.
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 8 and 1 in the playoffs. The Winterhawks are also 8 and 1. The Rockets have scored 14 power play goals in the 2014 playoffs. The Winterhawks matched that total. The Rockets have won six straight games overall.
The only loss (4-3) came in game three in Tri City in the opening round. The Rockets have allowed 8 goals in five home playoff games. That is an average of 1.6 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 37 of its last 41 shorthanded situations in this year’s playoffs. The Rockets have a power play goal in all nine playoff games.
The Kelowna Rockets franchise is playing its 199th playoff game tonight. 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 7. 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 22.
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.
On this date (April 18, 2009) Ian Duval scored twice in the Rockets 4-2 win over the Vancouver Giants in game one of the Western Conference final. Mikael Backlund had a goal and two assists. Mark Guggenberger made 20 saves in the win. Neither one of these two teams were shut out during the regular season and were the only two teams in the league to do so. When these two teams met in the 2012 playoffs, Jordon Cooke was a back up to Adam Brown while Brendan Burke was a back up to Mac Carruth.
Who’s Hot: Nick Merkley is riding a six game point streak. Merkely has 2+9=11 over that period. Damon Severson is riding a four game point streak. The 19 year-old has 4+7=11 over that period. Marek Tvrdon has points in eight of the nine games in this year’s playoffs (5+6=11). Rourke Chartier is riding a six game point streak. Chartier has 4+4=8 over that stretch. Jordon Cooke is 8 and 1 in this year’s playoffs with a goals against average of 2.34 and a save percentage of .929. Over his career, Cooke is 12-3-4 in 20 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.