Tonight’s Preview: Welcome to the 2012 Western Hockey League playoffs. The Kelowna Rockets, the 6th seed in the Western Conference, meet the 3rd seeded Portland Winterhawks. These two teams are meeting for the second straight post season after a six game series (Hawks 4 Rockets 2) in round two a year ago. These two teams were separated by 30 points in the regular season standings with the Rockets going 0-3-0-1 against Portland. The Hawks out-scored the Rockets 15-9 in the four games but two of four were decided by a single goal. Game one and two in the series are tonight and tomorrow in Portland before the series shifts back to Kelowna for games three a four next Tuesday and Thursday night. The Rockets closed out the regular season last Saturday with a 4-3 shootout win over visiting Vancouver. The victory helped the Rockets to a 31-31-4-6 regular season.
Seasonal Series Breakdown vs. Hawks
Period: 1 2 3 OT SH Total
Rockets: 3 2 4 0 0 9
Hawks: 5 4 5 0 1 15
*The Rockets out-shot the Hawks in two of the four games in the seasonal series. The Hawks out-shot the Rockets 149-123 overall. The Rockets were 2 for 20 on the power play in the four games (10%) while the Hawks were 4 for 16 (25%) with the power play.
Playoff Performers: The Rockets have 216 games of WHL playoff experience. Spencer Main leads the Rockets in playoff experience with 34 games. Shane McColgan leads the way in points with 9+14=23 in 26 career playoff games. McColgan had 19 points (8+11=19) in ten playoff games last season. Brett Bulmer (22) Jesse Astles (21) and Brett Lyon (20) round out the top five in terms of playoff experience.
Who’s Hot: Shane McColgan is riding a ten game point streak in the playoffs. McColgan had a point in every playoff game last season…The Rockets have a power play goal in eleven of their last fourteen road regular season games (17 for 51 or 33%)...Brett Bulmer has twelve goals in his last thirteen games…Zach Franko has 1+3=4 in his last three games…Myles Bell has six points (2+4=6) in his last six games.
This and That: These two teams have met twice in the second round of the playoffs. In 1994, the Hawks eliminated the Tacoma Rockets in four straight games. Last season the Hawks eliminated the Kelowna Rockets in six games…Seven members of the Rockets are making their WHL playoff debuts against Portland including veteran d-man Myles Bell. Bell has played 189 career games but has never experienced a playoff games after three seasons with the playoff-less Regina Pats….Brett Bulmer has 7+4=11 in 22 career playoff games. Bulmer had three goals in last season’s second round series against the Hawks…The Rockets were 4 and 1 in five playoff road games last season. The only loss was in game two of a second round playoff series in Portland….Rockets head coach Ryan Huska is coaching in his 64th career playoff game…Zach Franko became the first player since Justin Keller (2004-2005,2005-2006) to play in all 72 regular season games. Franko has played in 144 consecutive regular season games…The Rockets won over 30 games (31) this season. Since moving to Kelowna for the start of the 1995-96 campaign, the Rockets have registered 30+ wins 14 times over 17 seasons….When Brett Bulmer scores the Rockets are 14-3-2-3. In other words, the team has lost only three times in regulation when Bulmer lights the lamp…Since the Christmas break the Rockets are 10-5-2-2 in 19 road games….This season the Rockets were involved in a league high fifteen games that required a shootout. The Rockets were 9 and 6 in those fifteen shootout situations…Tyrell Goulbourne led the team with 17 fighting majors. Mitchell Chapman had eleven….The Rockets were involved in 37-one goal games this season. The Rockets were 18-9-4-6 in those thirty-seven games.