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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Seattle at Kelowna, Game 1, Series Prediction


Here is a game thread for everyone to complain about things when the team loses or rejoice when the team pulls off a big Game 1 upset.

Let's talk about the series a little bit and get to my prediction.

Seattle comes into the series playing their best hockey of the season and Kelowna comes into play losing their Captain Colton Sissons for this series and possibly the entire playoffs.

Losing Sissons is a blow to Kelowna's chances at winning the WHL Championship but I don't think it's something that will bother them too much in this series.

Kelowna has an excellent Power Play that checks in at 4th in the WHL, converting at a rate of 22.2%. Ryan Olsen leads the way with 15 PP goals, with Sissons and Tyson Baillie checking in with 7 each before Myles Bell, Damon Severson and JT Barnett with 6 each.

However, they don't rely on the Power Play to generate offense. Their stats are littered with players in the double digits for Plus/Minus. +46, +20, +55!, +43... and the list goes on and on. This team was prolific on offense and they excelled in 5 on 5 play as well as the Power Play.  We can all agree that Portland had/has an excellent offense, right?  Kelowna scored just 25 fewer goals in 72 games... a difference of less than a half a goal per game.

They were also excellent on the Penalty Kill, checking in at 5th in the WHL at a kill rate of 83.9% and they scored 13 short handed goals, 6 of them coming from Dylan McKinlay. They do give up a decent number of chances though with 323 chances in 72 games (4.49 per game) and Seattle will have to capitalize on their chances should they arise.

If Kelowna has any statistical weakness... they've surrendered 11 shorthanded goals while Luke Lockhart led the league in shorthanded goals with 7.

So here is how I see it...

Even as Seattle played better down the stretch... they were still surrendering plenty of goals. 6 and 8 to Portland, 3 to Tri-City and 4 to Everett.  I think Seattle will be able to score some goals on Kelowna but I don't think they'll be able to slow down the Rockets offense very much with a (still) young defensive core.

Massey Ratings has Kelowna as the 2nd best team in the league behind the Portland Cheaterhawks. 2nd in offense, 4th in defense and their schedule was roughly the same as Portland's with the U.S. Division being rated slightly better than the B.C. Division.

Seattle will win a game or possibly two. They'll win a home game and they may even steal a game on the road but I'm going to go with my gut (and head) and say Kelowna in 5.


Anonymous said...

I also think rockets in 5. Too much for young defense and glover struggled of late. I see us possibly coming home game 3 and winning but kelowna responding and not looking back. If they can play a few tight games it could go a long way for next season

Anonymous said...

IF the T-birds want to make a series..... Then they win game 1 tonight. Its their best chance to steal a game is the first one.

Brian in Sherwood

Unknown said...

I think it will be Kelowna in 6, but my heart really wants me to pick the T-birds.

Game one sounds like a good one. I think a lot of this series will depend on how well the T-birds stay out of the penalty box. They were a lot better plus/minus team in March than the rest of the year.

Anonymous said...

Nice game and well deserved... Lets get greedy and steal two

Anonymous said...

Luke is such a terrible, over-rated captain....oh..wait.....yeah.


Great game time tonight. Eff your home ice advantage.

Anonymous said...

how could Lockhart and Lipsbergs not get stars?

Dean said...

OK, I understand the prediction that the T-Birds would win one or two games and understand the other upsets tonight. I even expected T-Birds to play better on the road. However, tonight's win was HUGE! The team kept up the fire the entire game. This is something what we rarely seen this this. I liked the team I heard playing tonight. They had guts and determination and deserves credit for a tough road win.

Go T-Birds...I believe!

Anonymous said...

Would've liked to see them win it in regulation (since they had a lead at one point before getting into penalty trouble). That said, you can't discount the drive they showed in this game, going toe to toe with Kelowna and ultimately not only forcing OT, but winning it there, while outshooting the Rockets. Excellent performance.

It'll be interesting to see how the OT affects the play of both teams tomorrow. I could see tomorrow's game being a low-scoring, tight-checking affair between two worn-down teams. Good thing they have Sunday and Monday off.

Anonymous said...

huge opportunity for T-Birds since one of the Rockets top players Scissons is out now for the year. HUGE win.... love it!

Anonymous said...

What a steal on the road for the birds, congrats to them! These were the type of games they lost this year, now they win one and and it was a playoff game! Let's get two.

Anonymous said...

Great job last night Birds! Take no prisoners!

Unknown said...

I'd really like to see the T-birds get a early lead in tonight's game. I think that would really put the pressure on Kelowna and the T-birds should be able to play very lose since most people expected them lose in 4 or 5 games. I'm not usually a very greedy person, but I wouldn't complain if they come back home up 2-0.

I guess they play the playoff games for a reason despite how the regular season went :)

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