Rockets face uphill trek against Ams

Tyson Barrie and the Kelowna Rockets will battle Jordan Messier and the Tri-City Americans Friday night in Kennewick

Anything that’s happened to date in the 2009-10 Western Hockey League season is no longer of any consequence to the Kelowna Rockets.

All that matters now is three periods of hockey—Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal Friday in Kennewick, Wash.—as the Rockets face playoff expulsion at the hands of the Tri-City Americans.

“We can’t look at the big picture, we can only win one game at a time and that’s what our focus has to be, just this one game,” said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska. “We’re confident that if we win down there (Friday) then we can bring it back here for Game 6 and even it up. We all know, after that, if we can get the to seventh game anything can happen.”

Rarely have teams been able to battle back from a 3-1 deficits in the WHL playoffs, but that’s the conundrum facing Huska’s squad.

After the team split the first two games of the series last weekend at the Toyota Center, the Americans have put Kelowna in a bind by stealing both Games 3 and 4 at Prospera Place.

A 3-2 loss on Wednesday was particularly galling for the Rockets who outshot Tri-City 35-13 and carried the play for the better part of the last two periods. But the sparkling goaltending of Drew Owsley combined with a lethargic Rockets power play (1-for-6) sabotaged Kelowna’s attempt to even the series.

Still, veteran defenceman Tyson Barrie said the Rockets have plenty of positives to build on heading into Game 5.

“We thought we likely deserved something better, we did a lot of good things and we limited a really good offensive team from getting a lot of chances,” said Barrie, who scored Kelowna’s first goal Wednesday on the power play. “We just didn’t bear down on our chances, and they did.

“We have the confidence to know we can beat any team,” added Barrie. “We already beat the (Americans) in their barn, so we know we can win down there. It’s a big challenge, but this is what you play the game for. It’s far from over.”

Just as his charges did against Everett, Ryan Huska expects the Rockets to remain confident and resolute right to the final whistle.

Based on the hurdles they’ve already cleared in 2009-10, Huska wouldn’t be at all surprised to see his Rockets push the Ams to the maximum seven games.

“We’ve been a resilient group all year,” Huska said. “We’ve gone through an awful lot with guys not coming back, like Tyler Myers and Colin Long, being short with all the injuries we struggled with most of the year,” he continued. “…and we were down two games against Everett and came back to win. The guys have shown how resilient they are and we still feel we definitely have a shot.”

If needed, Game 6 of the WHL Western Conference semifinal will be played Sunday, 5 p.m. at Prospera Place. A seventh game would be played Tuesday, April 13 in Kennewick.

whenderson@kelownacapnews.com

Just Posted

Rockets shut out by Giants

It was Kelowna’s second game in as many days against a top team in the West

Businesses directly impacted by Hwy. 97 closure

Members of the Penticton Wine Country Chamber of Commerce faced late deliveries. no staff, etc.

Infighting at Kelowna Yacht Club makes it to court

Marc Whittemore, a local lawyer and prominent member of the club, filed a notice of civil claim Feb. 1

Kelowna athletes kick off Canada Winter Games

Saturday is day one of the Games in Red Deer

Princeton pot plant getting ready to hire

Princeton’s newest employer - which promises to be one of its biggest… Continue reading

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Drive BC warning slippery conditions for Okanagan main highways

The region is forecasted to see flurries and snow for the first half of the weekend

Most Read