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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Rockets set tee times for Seattle

As I sit here writing this, I keep thinking to myself that today (Sunday when I started writing this) would have been game 6.  A home game.  One team up in the series 3 games 2.  One team looking to close out the series, and the other looking to force the most exciting thing in sports, a sudden death game 7.

But instead, I am recapping a four game sweep of Seattle by the Kelowna rockets.

To me, this series was about what if's.  What if Seattle had scored on the first power play 15 seconds into game one?  What if Seattle hadn't given up 3 PP goals in game one?  What if Seattle had skated in the second period of game two?  What if Seattle had scored on more then 1 PP when given 10 chances in game three.  What if game four wasn't win or go home?  But everyone knows exactly what if's get you.


All of these what if's come down to one thing.  Capitalize and convert on the chances given to you and this series may have turned out differently.  In every game, you can look at the number of quality chances Seattle had, and think what if they had scored on the cross crease wide open tip in scoring chance, that breakaway, that puck lying in the crease, etc, etc.

While Seattle didn't capitalize, the exact opposite could be said for Kelowna.  When given a breakdown, a turn over, a missed back check, a bad penalty taken, Kelowna, put the puck in the back of the net.  It seemed like 100% of the time they did this, but I am sure it was less.  What does this say about Kelowna?


There is a reason they won the BC division (other then the rest of the teams sucked).  There is a reason they won the Western conference regular season.  There is a reason they finished with the best overall record in the WHL.  There is a reason they were ranked number one in the CHL.

Great teams like Kelowna (and Portland) make you pay for your mistakes.  Good teams make you pay sometimes.  There is a fine line between the two levels of teams in any game, but across an entire series (or season), the differences become more and more obvious.

When Seattle skated like they did in the first period of game two, Kelowna became the team that made mistakes.  Seattle just couldn't make them pay.  This is most obvious in the fact Seattle only scored 11 goals in the four games (and four of those came in one game).


Delnov (3), Bear (2), McKechnie (1), Henry (1), Hickman (1), Eansor (1), Lipsbergs (1), Barzal (1)

That is the list of Seattle scorers.  Just like the series against Everett, scoring from across the board.  You have representatives from each of what people would consider the top three lines, and add in a couple more from the defensive core.  This shows your team had the depth.

The fact that a few of Seattle's big names don't appear on this list I feel is a sign of how deep Kelowna is as a team, and how well they were able to match Seattle's big guys.


I really thought Seattle outplayed Kelowna at even strength.  The scoresheet doesn't show it, as Kelowna outscored Seattle 14-9 even strength.  I seemed to recall a couple of Kelowna's goals coming four on four.


The first big one to point out is Kelowna's Damon Severson.  What a series he had.  He was involved in 50% of Kelowna's goals (4 G, 7A).  And his defense was equal to his scoring.  Watch for him playing in New Jersey in a couple years.

How many huge saves did goaltender Jordon Cooke make.  When needed, he came up with big save after big save.  He made Seattle work very hard for every goal.

And because I pointed out how much more I thought Barzal should have been rookie of the year over Nick Merkley, I feel I should show that Merkley ended the series with an impressive 2 goals and 6 assists.  Not too bad for a 16 year old.

In the end, Seattle has to be disappointed they weren't able to push Kelowa past 4 games but it was pretty clear why they could not. Kelowna is possibly the best team in the WHL this season and they showed why their game is so excellent and diversified. The Rockets didn't even play their best series and they were still able to close out Seattle in a sweep.


Justin said...

I watched both of the games at Kelowna on line and I was at the games here . Your comments about all the "what ifs" are right on and they don't get you anything. Like the old Greek philosopher observed "If queens had balls they'd be called kings"

Anonymous said...

With word that Troock signed with Dallas and Hickman is on an ATO with Bridgeport, I'm curious about our roster, how it looked at the end of the season and how it may look in September. I'm wondering if we'll get either one back, and if we're willing to use both an overage spot and an import spot on either Lipsbergs or Delnov.

Jon said...

Tyler and I will be covering what each of us thinks the 20's will look like very soon, so stay tuned for that.

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