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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Everett Wrap, Kelowna Preview

Seattle closed out Everett in smashing fashion on Saturday night turning a very close game into a runaway with a 5-0 victory.

Color me surprised. Everett came into the series red hot and Seattle came in scuffling a bit. The series was incredibly close, despite the 4-1 outcome and Everett has to feel like they were a few key plays away from changing the outcome of the series.

However, they didn't and Seattle moves on to the second round to face the top seeded Kelowna Rockets. I thought Everett would win in 6 games and I'm very happy to be wrong.

Now comes the tricky part.

Seattle matches up quite well with this Kelowna team. They played them tough during the regular season and as most of us know they nearly pulled off an epic upset last year in Round 1 of the playoffs.

The question is whether the match-up can override the excellence that is the Kelowna Rockets. Kelowna was simply incredible all year long piling up a total of 60 wins against just 16 losses. Massey ratings lists the Rockets with the 2nd best offense to go with the 3rd best defense.

Regan Bartel, who has an excellent perspective on the game in addition to being a top notch broadcaster has already noted that with Seattle playing in a tougher division their record could easily be slightly better.

I also agree with Regan to a certain extent that the 4 games these teams played probably don't mean a whole lot because the rosters have changed.  I will only disagree slightly in the sense that I think Seattle's physical style of play hasn't really changed and I do think that matches up really well with Kelowna.

I was happy to be wrong about the first round series against Everett so we might as well just keep that trend going.

Ultimately, I think Seattle gives Kelowna all kinds of trouble. This team is believing in themselves to a level I didn't really think that they could. They stopped a red hot Everett team cold in their tracks. Kelowna has to know in the back of their minds how much trouble Seattle was to finish off last year. They also know that the physicality of that series was probably one of the reasons why they were swept in the following round at the hands of the Kamloops Blazers. I expect Kelowna to come out trying to make a statement in the first two home games and if Seattle can salvage a split (or better), the Rockets could start thinking about last year again.

In the end though, I think Kelowna's skill is just too much for Seattle to overcome and Kelowna breaks their hearts again with a Game 7 victory on home ice.  I hope I'm wrong again but I'll say Kelowna in 7.


Mr Tell13 said...

Its really interesting, until Delnov's goal, it was really anyone's game. Everett just got deflated after that, when in fact they were right in it, they were taking everything the tbirds were giving them physically and they were not backing down.

Now on to Kelowna:
my guess? Seattle in 6.
But for that, a bunch of stuff needs to happen:
- great goaltending (no nights off for Kozun)
- Continued pressure n opposing team while not taking too many penalties. Not only is it their bread and butter, and I certainly don't think the play that gave Yak a suspension was a intentional, but the tbirds are always playing in a very gray area. It might though to maintained.
- Better play by Theodore....there I said it. He needs to take over a game or two.
- 4th line production need to be more regular.
- Consistent defensive play. I am wondering if it was because they played Everett, but the tbirds looked really good defensively (except that one game) They actually looked good in general.

This should be fun!!

Erica said...

Agree with Mr Tell. The first three games were that way, I thought - anyone's game because they were so tight. One lucky bounce that goes the other way and any of those games go to Everett.

I'm super excited for this Kelowna series! Mostly because we're going up for games 1 and 2, but I'm oddly not as nervous for this one as I was for the Everett series.

Anonymous said...

In my mind, there are two outcomes. Kelowna in five because we spent ourselves beating Everett, or Seattle in seven as we ride the momentum of the first round and the role of underdog to triumph.

Anonymous said...

I felt going into the Everett series really nervous because how we and them finished the season. I feel really comfortable going head to head with Kelowna. Allot of tickets left for the Tues and Weds games, hopefully sales pick up.

Anonymous said...

Whoops... Maybe giving Kelowna six power plays isn't the way to win games...

Anonymous said...

Ouch! The birds bounced back after the Everett win. They can bounce back after this

Anonymous said...

Look anyone watching in Kelowna would have noticed the puck possession Kelowna had through basically the whole game. When we played Everett it was a dump and chase game which we did quite well.If you think we can do the same against this team it will require a quicker and more physical fore check as they transition the puck very well. To counter this we might think about entering with a controlled attack and get more shots on goal and then attack the net for the rebounds. Also a more physical presence by our so called physical players will slow their attack and transition down . If we do not have a better effort it will be over quick(maybe five).I also thought that the Barzal, Hickman, Gropp, line did a great job holding the Merkley line in check the whole game as they were a -1 on the night even strength. Better effort by others = a better result. Hats off to the Seattle(and the US division) fans at home as the fans in Kelowna are very passive.

TBIRD FAN said...

Anon. 1.11 A.M. You say the fans in Kelowna are very passive. Do you really mean to say they are not crude, rude and obnoxious as they are in the U.S. division and actually understand hockey and respect their competition ?

Anonymous said...

lol they just look like they are past their bed time. Maybe they should of have had a pre game nap and a bowl of prunes

Anonymous said...

anon 8.43 pm. What language are you using when you write "should of have had"? What are you trying to say? Maybe you meant "should have had"

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