Game Day: Rockets in Kamloops in game 3 - InfoNews

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Game Day: Rockets in Kamloops in game 3

Image Credit: Contributed/Kelowna Rockets
April 09, 2013 - 11:49 AM

It's time for game three of a best of seven series between the Rockets and Blazers.

The Blazers have a 2-0 series lead after a 4-2 win in game one and a 5-1 victory in game two. The Rockets have managed just three goals in the first two games and were out-shot in game one and game two. Game four is tomorrow night in Kamloops with a game five (if necessary) back in Kelowna on Friday. 

The Rockets are playing their 5th game in 8 nights. The Rockets are coming off a seven game series win over Seattle while the Blazers disposed of the Victoria Royals in six games. In the Rockets last appearance at the Interior Savings Centre on March 8th, they were a 3-2 winner. Cole Linaker scored the game winner while Jordon Cooke was named the first star.

This and That: Rockets leading playoff point producer Tyson Baillie won’t play tonight. The 17 year-old is serving game two of a two game suspension for a hit on Blazers forwards Colin Smith in game one….Second year forward Carter Rigby returned to the line-up Sunday after missing over two months with a shoulder injury. Rigby was the Rockets co-winner with Madison Bowey last season as the rookie of the year… Rookie defenceman Mitch Wheaton made his playoff debut Saturday night in a 4-2 loss. Wheaton returned to the line-up after suffering what appeared to be a season ending shoulder injury….The Rockets have been out-scored 5-0 in the third period in the first two games…The Blazers opened the scoring in game one before the Rockets opened the scoring in game two…The Rockets scored the opening goal in six of the seven games against the T-Birds in round one.…The Rockets won four games in the seasonal series against the Blazers, with three of those wins coming at Prospera Place…Zach Franko had 3+9=12 in the seasonal series with the Blazers…Franko had a season high five points (2+3=5) against the Blazers December 27th…. Myles Bell had 6+4=10 in ten games in the seasonal series with the Blazers…Nick Merkley earned his first career WHL point, an assist, in a game six win….Tyson Baillie has 7+7=14 in 12 career playoff games… The 17 year-old leads the team in power play goals with four….Damon Severson had a point in six of the eight games in the opening series against Seattle….Since re-locating from Tacoma to Kelowna for the start of the 1995-96 season, the Rockets have played in 186 playoff games…The Rockets are riding a five game playoff winning streak at ISC. The team won back-to-back games in series sweeps in 2009 and 2002. The team also won game five of a six game series against the Blazers – in Kamloops – back on April 3/1999. The Rockets last playoff loss was March 26, 1999 in a 3-1 setback. The goalies that game were Kevin Swanson for the Rockets and Kenric Exner for the Blazers. Quinton Laing scored the lone goal for Kelowna while Ty Jones, Steve Gainey and Donnie Kinney scored for Kamloops.           

Playoff History Lesson: These two teams are meeting in the playoffs for the first time since 2009 when the Rockets eliminated the Blazers in the opening round in four games.  These two teams also met in the 2002 playoffs, again in the first round, with the Rockets prevailing in four short games. The last time the Blazers beat the Rockets in the playoffs was in 1999 when they used 6 games in an opening round playoff series victory. These two teams have never met outside of a first round match up. Even as the Tacoma Rockets in 1992, the Blazers won the series in four games in the opening round.      

Seasonal Series Breakdown: The Rockets and Blazers met 10 times this season. The Rockets will say they were 4-4-2-0 while the Blazers would suggest they were 6-4-0-0.  The truth is, two of the Blazers wins came in overtime and five of the ten games were decided by a single goal.
Round One Recap: The Rockets became only the second team in WHL history to come back from a 0-3 deficit to beat the Seattle Thunderbirds in 7 games. Five of the seven games went into overtime and six of the seven games were decided by a single goal.  Tyson Baillie led the team with 7 goals and 12 points. The Rockets did not allow a power play goal in the series.

Rockets regular season to remember:  The 2012-2013 edition of the Kelowna Rockets recorded a franchise high 52 wins this season. That broke the old mark of 51 set back in the 2002-2003 season. The Rockets won the BC Division regular season title and placed second overall in the WHL standings behind only Portland. The Rockets scored the second most goals in the league (309) and allowed the third fewest goals against (178) behind Edmonton and Portland. The Rockets had 14 players that scored 10 or more goals and 16 players with 20 or more points. The Rockets were 31-5-0-0 at home this season and tied a franchise record for consecutive wins (23) on home ice.

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