Friday, March 31, 2017

Rockets/Blazers Game 5 Preview

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Tonight’s Preview: The Kelowna Rockets play game five of an opening round playoff series when they face the Kamloops Blazers. The Rockets have a 3-1 series lead after a 4-0 win in game one, a 3-2 victory in game two, a 4-1 loss in game three and a 1-0 win in game four. Game six, if necessary, will be played in Kamloops Sunday night. The Rockets are 4-0 in game 5’s dating back to 2015. Here is a quick recap of the first four games.
Game 1: Carsen Twarynski scored twice leading the Rockets to a 4-0 win. Tomas Soustal and Reid Gardiner added singles while rookie Nolan Foote had two assists. Michael Herringer earned the win in goal with a 15 save performance. The Rockets were 2/4 on the power play and a perfect 3 for 3 on the penalty kill. Overall, the Rockets out-shot the Blazers 48-15.
Game 2: Dillon Dube scored two-third period goals in the Rockets 3-2 win. The Rockets built up a 3-0 lead on goals from Cal Foote and a shorthanded and power play goal from Dube. Michael Herringer was the first star with a terrific performance. The Rockets were 1 for 6 on the power play while going 4 for 5 on the penalty kill. The Rockets out-shot the Blazers 37-35.
Game 3: Lane Bauer scored twice leading the Kamloops Blazers to a 4-1 win over the Kelowna Rockets. Kole Lind scored the lone goal in the loss, his first career WHL playoff goal. Michael Herringer made 34 saves in the loss. The Rockets were 0 for 2 on the power play while going 5 for 5 on the penalty kill.
Game 4: Dillon Dube scored the game winning goal in the second period and Michael Herringer made 24 saves in a 1-0 shutout. The Rockets fired a series high 49 shots on net while going 7 for 7 on the penalty killing unit. The Rockets were 0/3 on the power play.

Michael, Michael Motorcycle: Michael Herringer has two playoff shutouts in the 2017 post season. The Kelowna Rockets franchise record is 4, set by both Kelly Guard in 2003 and equaled by Derek Yeomans in 2005. Herringer’s career numbers against the Blazers in the playoffs in 11 games results in a goals against average of 2.05 and a save percentage of 0.935. Herringer has been named the WHL Goalie of the Week. Herringer was 2-0-0-0 on the weekend, posting a goals against average of 1.00 and a save percentage of .960.

Season in Review: The Rockets finished in 2nd place in the BC Division with 95 points this season. That was one point shy of Prince George in the fight for a BC Division banner. The team was 45-22-5-0, which was good for 6th place in the overall WHL standings. The team scored the third most goals in the WHL (283) and tied with Seattle for the 4th fewest goals against. The team scored 14 more goals and allowed 12 fewer against than in 2015-2016. The Rockets had the third best power play in the WHL and the 9th best penalty killing unit. Cal Thurkauf led the team in goals with 33. Kole Lind had a team high 57 assists while Lind was the scoring leader with 87 points.  Nick Merkley led the team with 12 power play goals. Cal Foote had a team high +39 rating. Rodney Southam had a team leading 121 penalty minutes.

Rockets Award Winners: General Manager Bruce Hamilton has been named the Western Conference nominee for Executive of the Year. Hamilton won the award back in 1991-1992 with the Tacoma Rockets and in 2002-2003. Forward Kole Lind was named a Western Conference 2nd team all-star. At the teams annual year end awards, Calvin Thurkauf was the MVP, Cal Foote was the Top Defenceman and Nolan Foote was the Rookie of the Year.  

Reaping Reward of New Recruits: Reid Gardiner played in 28 regular season games with the Rockets after being acquired at the WHL trade deadline. The 21 year-old was held off the scoresheet just three times and collected 18+19=37 in 28 games. Carsen Twarynski, also acquired at the deadline, had 7+15=22 in 28 regular season games after his acquisition from the Calgary Hitmen.  If you follow the bouncing ball, the Rockets essentially obtained Twarynski for Joe and Danny Gatenby.     

That’s a fact Jack: The Rockets have not lost a game 5 series in the opening round since 2010 when they were shutout 4-0 by the Everett Silvertips. The Rockets ended up winning games 6 and 7…The Rockets have generated 30 or more shots in 32 of their last 36 games….The Kelowna Rockets lost 10 of their first 21 regular season games. Since then, the team has 13 losses in the last 54 games…The Rockets are 23-8-2-0 since the trade deadline….The Rockets have 6 players on their roster from the 2015 WHL championship team. 

Game Notes Compiled by Regan Bartel of AM 1150

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