Sunday, April 26, 2015

Hawks and Rockets Split First 2 Games by 3-2 Scores: Notes and Stats

The Portland Winterhawks and Kelowna Rockets split the first 2 games of their best of 7 series. The two games started out the same way with Portland marching out to a 2-0 lead before Kelowna came back and tied it up. The difference between the two games was that Kelowna scored the 3rd goal in the first game, while Portland scored the 3rd in Game 2.

Here Are My Stats For Kelowna's 3-2 Win On Friday Night
Player TOI Shots Faceoff % Hits Blocked Shots
Iverson UNK 0 1/1=100% 1 0
Petan UNK 0 11/17=64.7% 3 0
Bjorkstrand UNK 7 N/A 6 0
De LeoUNK38/14=57.1%10
-Kelowna did not seem ready for Portland's speed at the start, as Oliver Bjorkstrand blazed into the Rocket's zone and beat Kelowna's Jackson Whistle on the short side to open the scoring just 35 seconds in. Bjorkstrand got several other good looks and as a whole seemed to have more room against Kelowna than he did against Seattle or Everett (at least this early in the series).
-Adam Henry made his presence known in Game 1, while the Game was 4 on 4. He made a cut against the Rocket's Madison Bowey, leaving him in the dust before top-shelfing a backhand shot and giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead. Bowey is really gifted offensively and he showed this when he activated and scored the Rocket's 1st goal. However, on the occasion of Henry's goal, as well as, a few other Portland chances, he was not as impressive defensively.
-Justin Kirkland, who mostly played on the Rocket's top line with Leon Draisaitl and Tyson Baillie, displayed some gamesmanship, while laying on Adin Hill's Goalie stick, nearly leading to a goal. He then made a power move against Portland's Layne Viveiros and beat Hill.
-Viveiros had another very poor game as faster and stronger forwards up and down the Rockets lineup had their way with him. He made a poor play, shortly after Kelowna's 2nd goal, misreading the puck and getting beat by Rourke Chartier to the puck. He then put the puck off the crossbar and past Hill, for the game's winning goal. Viveiros has shown marked improvement this year, but has played rather poorly in now several games during this playoff run. He's bounced back before and looked ot do so again.
-Adin Hill was impressive, stopping 43 of 46 shots. Kelowna was able to, pretty easily get shots through from both distance and the slot.
-Kelowna mostly matched the Nick-Merkley-Rourke Chartier-Tyrell Goulbourne against Nic Petan's line, while matching Kirkland-Draisaitl-Baillier vs. Chase De Leo's unit.
-Gage Quinney appeared to be injured at some point in the game and was held out of Game 2.

Portland Rebounded With a 3-2 Win On Saturday Night:
Player TOI Shots Faceoff % Hits Blocked Shots
Iverson UNK 2 N/A 4 0
Petan UNK 6 8/21=38.1% 3 0
Bjorkstrand UNK 3 N/A 7 0
De LeoUNK220/24=83.3%21
-Rourke Chartier mostly had his way in the faceoff circle against Petan as they were continually matched up with each other. Chartier, as a whole, was Kelowna's best player. He worked himself into his favorite shooting area off the right faceoff circle on Kelowna's first goal and set himself up several other times in prime areas. Adin Hill was able to stop him on all of the other chances.
-Kelowna was able to do a much better job in Game 2 of taking away Portland's time and space. Portland struggled with getting good shooting looks until they gained a power play and Adam Henry dished to Chase De Leo, who found an open Paul Bittner all alone in front for Portland's first goal.
De Leo
This was Bittner's first goal since Game 5 of the Seattle series and only the second game of the playoffs, in which he scored. Bittner has gotten a lot of shots off in the meantime, utilizing his long reach to get shots off over stick checks, but his accuracy has just not been what it should be.
-Kelowna was able to get another great short handed chance, after scoring short handed in Game 1. This time it was Cole Linaker who broke in alone on Hill. Hill, who has improved greatly on breakaways, stonewalled the big Center-man.
-An adjustment, Portland seemed to make for Game 2, was to make sure their fore-checker's hit Kelowna's D-men every chance they got. Oliver Bjorkstrand was on such fore-checker as he hit Cole Martin twice, once earning himself a penalty. If Portland can continue hitting Kelowna's blue liners, they will force turnovers and create more scoring chances.
-One thing that I've noticed that Kelowna does offensively, is to have some of their forwards set subtle picks on Portland's defenders earning some of their most skilled forwards time and space  in Portland's zone. While not necessarily 100% legal, it's subtle enough that they will not get called for it.
-Evan Weinger made his impact known when he blew past one of Kelowna's defenders and drove hard at the net. Mile Koules found the loose puck and fed Dominic Turgeon in front for Portland's 2nd goal. While Turgeon did not have a great game, he once again found himself on the score sheet.
-Nic Petan scored the game winner in this one in a highlight reel way by spinning around fellow Jet's prospect Josh Morrissey and beating Jackson Whistle. Petan could not find a lot of room in Game 1, but utilized his deceptive speed on several occasions including this one. Morrissey has not had a good series, as he has only 1 assist and is -1 with 6 penalty minutes in the two games. He showed his frustration after Petan's goal, by taking a shot at Petan.
-Another elite Rocket whose under performed in the series so far is Leon Draisaitl, who has only 1 assist in the 2 games. De Leo won 20 of 24 face offs, a majority of which were vs. Draisaitl. Paul Bittner has helped form Portland's best back-checking line with De Leo and Alex Schoenborn, one of the reasons Leon has struggled.
-Kelowna may have lost another depth forward, as Tomas Soustal lost an edge and went down awkwardly. He left the ice, favoring his right knee.

Portland and Kelowna get back at it for Game Three on Tuesday night in Portland.

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