As the Kelowna Rockets are set to face the Kamloops Blazers in Game 5 of the WHL Western Conference Quarterfinal at Prospera Place tonight, they’ll look to clinch the series with star goaltender Michael Herringer in net. The Rockets have added some lethal firepower up front in Carsen Twarynski and Reid Gardiner and have benefited from the talents of Lucas Johansen and Cal Foote on the back end keeping the puck away from the Rockets end.
Herringer has already seen plenty of action through four games facing 112 shots and allowing only 6 goals. He already has a .946 SA% and 2 shutouts in this series and they haven’t come easy. Although Game 4 only presented 24 registered shots, Herringer was sharp early and a few key saves defined the kind of night he was about to have.
Like any goalie, their stats are a little more glowing in the postseason with fewer games to play and with goals coming at a premium, the masked men tend to shine more. Herringer had a normal regular season posting a 2.78 GAA and a .904 SA%, not exactly award-type numbers. Now that his Rockets have found their stride, he could be in for a pretty special playoff run.
A little luck never hurt either.
A diving, ram-like stop in the first period kept things even at zeros. A disallowed goal kept the Rockets buzzing afterward and they never looked back. What Herringer has given the Rockets all season and really, his entire time in Kelowna, is confidence. I wrote about MH back in 2015 and his stone-cold demeanor in the crease.
He doesn’t allow himself to get rattled, or at least it appears that way from the stands. His positioning isn’t perfect but he seems to be square more times than not. This isn’t exactly the first time a Rockets’ goaltender has been in the spotlight. Kelly Guard, Mark Stone, Jordan Cooke and Jackson Whistle all have given Kelowna the extra gear to allow the rest of the team to take more chances when they come because the man between the pipes is more than capable.
Seeing this save is proof that Herringer isn’t about to let the Rockets lose this series:
— CanadianHockeyLeague (@CHLHockey) March 30, 2017
He hasn’t had national attention and no one is looking to add him to Team Canada or sign him to contract but his play in Kelowna’s net has once again put the Rockets back in the conversation to make a deep run this spring. His counterpart in this series, Connor Ingram, hasn’t waved the white flag yet, either.
Ingram has faced 172 shots, letting in 9 goals. His .948 SA% is still ridiculous and if it wasn’t for him, the Blazers would already be done. Michael Herringer gives fans the ability to breathe a little easier knowing the guys in front of him just need to score a goal and he can shut it down.
Beating the Kamloops Blazers will be no simple task, though. Kelowna went 4-6 against Kamloops this season but they did it without out some key players. With the Rockets 100% healthy and firing on seemingly every cylinder, it would take a miracle for the Blazers to come back… even for one night.
The City of Rockets is ready for tonight’s big showdown.
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photo – TheColorOfHockey