There was really only one game most people had circled on the schedule at the Mastercard Memorial Cup: Kelowna Rockets vs. Oshawa Generals. It lived up to the hype and hopefully its the preview of the Cup Final on Sunday. The Rockets found themselves playing against a mirror on Tuesday night and they lost the first round.
Once the puck dropped after the hour long (or so it felt) Patrick Roy love fest, Kelowna and Oshawa took awhile to get into their groove. Scoreless after one, the tension was building. They matched each other hit for hit, save for save and it had the makings of a classic.
The second period wasn’t so kind to the Rockets and recent Canucks darling, Cole Cassels, put the Generals up on the wide open chance. Oshawa would go up by two later in the period but the Rockets more specifically Gage Quinney put the WHL Champions within one.
Kelowna’s power play hasn’t exactly been electric and the chances they received, they couldn’t bury. Oshawa was all over Kelowna keeping them to the outside and minimizing chances….hmmmm sounds familiar? Its a shame they don’t have cross country 2 game sets as a buildup to the tourney.
That 5 on 3 was the Rockets chance to get the game back to even keel. Despite their efforts, they couldn’t buy a goal and you have to give the Generals credit because that penelty kill was epic!
Before the game started, it could be argued Ken Appleby and Jackson Whistle were similar in style, statistics and clutchness? Whistle did everything he could to keep the Rockets in while 200 feet away, Appleby did everything, a few more things and robbed a bank to keep the score in the Generals favour.
Goaltending should not have been the main topic of conversation but man did the tenders stand on their heads on this night. I can’t say it enough, these two teams better face off on Sunday.
You really do get a true appreciation of how good the Rockets have been this year when you see them face off against the Generals. Kelowna has pretty much ran the table this year and even with a few speed bumps in the playoffs, they were largely uncontested.
Oshawa had a bit of a harder road, a big test against the Erie McDavids…err Otters and they took that series deep. The Generals are an amazing shut down team and are very deserving of the accolades they receive. Its tough to see a loss like the Rockets had on Tuesday because they basically lost to themselves.
The only difference was that the team that beat them had a different looking jersey. It was three periods of excitement that no one wanted to end; I was begging for OT.
Oshawa now waits until Sunday to see who they will face for the Memorial Cup. Kelowna will wait too, hopefully until Friday to meet the Quebec Ramparts for revenge in the semi final.
It’s not over yet Rockets fans.
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Photo – lfpress.com