- The Seattle Thunderbirds brought their lunch buckets to the game last night and the Kelowna Rockets brought their nerves. The end result was a visiting team that looked as confident as the home team should have been in the game one upset victory. Seattle looked in control despite trailing three times in the game. The Rockets, the favorites heading into the series, looked out of sync making ill advised passes and looked like a team that hadn't played in a week. It was a bad night for the home team without question. The good news is the Rockets played so poorly and almost won. Regardless, the T-Birds came into a building where no one expected them to win. Seattle has a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series with game two tonight at Prospera Place.
- Luke Lockhart has been a streaky scorer in his WHL career. The 20 year-old had 25 goals this season but often found himself going long stretches without finding the back of the net. Lockhart went 17 games without a goal earlier this season. But in saying that, don't be surprised that he scored twice last night. Lockhart, from all indications, is a character player that wears the 'C' on his jersey for good reason. Funny how the will to win takes over in the playoffs when the checking gets tighter and the character players rise to the top.
- Lockhart wasn't the only bright spot for the T-Birds. I thought Jesse Forsberg really brought it on the back end. It shocked me. I thought Forsberg really struggled at Prospera Place in two regular season games and often gave up the puck with mindless decisions. He wasn't without his errors in game one, but he played to his strengths and made some good decisions with and without the puck. I also thought Seattle goaltender Brandon Glover was solid.
- Seattle also did a great job of blocking shots by sacrificing the body at every turn. Was it not T-Birds Griffin Foulk that blocked a shot by taking the puck right in the mid section? Had the rookie d-man not made that play, Zach Franko would have had a goal glove hand side on Glover.
- Few bright spots for the Rockets. Goaltender Jordon Cooke surrendered 5 goals but how many big saves was he forced to make? If Cooke was as shaky as the teammates in front of him the T-Birds wouldn't have had to use overtime. How about the save Cooke made when the Rockets appeared to only have four skaters on the ice with a face-off inside the Rockets zone late in the third? Cooke made two brilliant saves to keep the game tied.
- The Rockets had ample chances to bury the T-Birds when they were granted several power play chances, including four opportunities in the first 17 minutes of the game. In all four, good perimeter puck movement but few quality shots.
- I thought a couple of veteran players really struggled. Game one jitters? For now I will bite my tongue and hope for a bounce back in game two.
- Solid crowd last night. Close to 55 hundred. Not a sell out but no complaints from me. Lots of T-Birds fans in the building.
- Nice to have former Kelowna Rockets tough guy Scott Parker join us on AM 1150 in the first intermission. Parker admitted to me that he too is suffering, to a degree, with the after effects of punches to the head. Thanks to Gavin Hamilton of the Kelowna Rockets for setting up that interview with Parker on short notice.
- See you at the rink tonight. Hey, Eric Stansfield's 'Inside Sports' is on location from 5 pm until 6:30 pm at Manhattan Point Restaurant so check him out live or listen to him on AM 1150.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
T-birds turn the tables
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