Memorial Cup

Rockets Looking For Seventh Heaven Against Thunderbirds

Before this series started, many would have seen the Kelowna Rockets and Seattle Thunderbirds extending the matchup to seven games. Well, it’s Game Six so Kelowna will need to put some pucks in the net if they want to book another bus trip to Kent, Washington on Tuesday. Seattle took Game Five in somewhat convincing fashion after the Rockets couldn’t capitalize on their own power play chances and let the T-Birds execute on theirs.

Expect more of the same tonight.

The series has been pretty even with both teams splitting games in each city but it was the Thunderbirds that took the extra home game back on Friday to put their team ahead 3 games to 2. The power play has been hot for Seattle this post-season and they currently hold the top-ranked unit by a whopping 4.2% over the next closest, now eliminated Red Deer Rebels, at 37.5%.

The Rockets are trailing in that category by about 10% and in the playoffs, that’s huge. Sticking with special teams, Kelowna leads the WHL playoffs with 216 PIM and if they continue that trend this evening, it will be hard for Jason Smith’s team to force a seventh game.

Mid-season addition, Carson Twarysnki, hasn’t scored since April 12 when he had one of Kelowna’s seven goals against the Portland Winterhawks. With Seattle bringing a physical game each and every night, T-Dub will need to get back to the dirty areas and power his way to a few chances. Twarynski was great in the first two rounds but has been quiet in the Western Final. Kelowna will need his contributions if they are going to advance.

Nick Merkley has been a light show in his last 11 games putting points up in 10 of them. His stat line is a dream with 6 goals and 11 assists in that time. Merkley is the Rocket’s all-time leader in playoff production and when he’s on his game, he’s the catalyst on the team. Suffering a freak ACL tear last year, Nick has rebounded well and has brought renewed hope to both his current WHL team and the Arizona Coyotes who drafted him 30th overall in 2015.

Providing Kelowna can stay out of the box and play a disciplined game, they should be able to stay ahead of the red-hot Thunderbird squad. Kelowna has averaged 35 shots against Seattle this series so the opportunity is there to strike. Keegan Kolesar, Ryan Gropp, and Alexander True all have three goals against Kelowna so keeping them in check will no doubt be on the gameplan.

Don’t expect a blowout this evening but considering this series has been played down a man on either side, someone is due to open it up. Let’s all hope the Rockets send their fans home awaiting the AM1150 call on Tuesday night.

photo – kelownacapnews.com

Advertisements

Rockets Looking To Overthrow the Royals Throne

The Kelowna Rockets go into Game 3 against the Victoria Royals with something to prove. Narrowly missing overtime on a disallowed “kicked in” goal, the series has been closer than the series shows. Sure, its 2-0 Victoria, but does it look that way on the ice? Depends on who you ask. The Royals took the season series 5-4 and in the goals category it wasn’t close. The Rockets will need to get back to a full on team game to make this a series.

Michael Herringer hasn’t been lights out this playoffs and its a shame that #1 Jackson Whistle isn’t there to spell him when things get out of hand; of course if Whistle was there, it would be Herringer doing the relief work.

Stating the obvious but Kelowna’s top players will need to be at their best Tuesday night. Rourke Chartier is doing everything that’s asked of him and Tyson Baillie’s efforts are finally being rewarded. He has been the glue for the Rockets in the good times and the bad and unfortunately he’ll need to be a star in the first game back in Kelowna.

Even with a disallowed goal, Baillie had a goal and an assist and is doing “Baillie Things”. Remember his hat trick against Seattle to clinch Game 7 in OT a few years ago? He’s Mr. Playoffs for the Rockets. I have a feeling his work isn’t done yet.

The defense for the Rockets has been suspect IMO; too much time making decisions, not shooting the puck and creating rebounds and holding the line hasn’t been the greatest either. In his draft year, Lucas Johansen needs to prove he’s worthy of a 28th overall ranking. I personally don’t think he has earned that right yet but in a series like this, he can turn a lot of heads.

Joe Gatenby also has a chance to step back up. He has usually been a rock on the back end as has Cal Foote but this defense just doesn’t impress this year and you start to notice these things when there isn’t a guy that steps up and leads that group. This team has prided itself, well the media and fans anyways, on stellar defense and there has never been questions there. I’ve had a few this season. Where is that booming shot from the point, this among others.

Up front it’s Dillon Dube and his theatrics every time he drives the net. This kid has moves, speed and during the regular season some pretty fancy finishes. Solving Coleman Vollrath will make things easier but it took Kelowna seven games to ultimately solve Connor Ingram. Big man Justin Kirkland has looked good this playoffs and driving to the net with his size can pull Victoria off their game. Kirkland has really looked like a leader this year, not an easy thing to do.

Kirkland, Riley Stadel and Rodney Southam will all need to be front and center against the Royals in Game 3. The Rockets thrive when they get their energy levels boosted, sounds like something every team does but Kelowna is a team that when they put the pedal to the medal and hold it there, it’s pretty tough to bring them down.

If the Rockets want to pull off a regicide, they’ll have to remember why they challenged for the top spot in the WHL. The Victoria Royals are no joke and quite frankly can down Kelowna a lot quicker than some will give them credit for. It’s still a seven game series and Kelowna is far from out of this.

It wouldn’t hurt the local crowd to hand over their library cards for the series and show who’s boss.

It shouldn’t be fun to play the Rockets, home or away; it should be painful going back to Victoria knowing it’s a best of 3.

Get that first goal.

#thismomentweownit

 

photo – zimbio.com

Kelowna Rockets’ Michael Herringer Is Last Action Hero

Rarely do we talk about a goaltending controversy with the Kelowna Rockets. As one goalie moves on, the heir apparent steps in. There has never been a shortage of talent at that position and for the next few seasons that trend should not change. Michael Herringer has won the “backup” spot behind Jackson Whistle but the way Herringer plays the backup spot may turn into a 1A scenario.

When Herringer broke into the league last year he did so with flair, or to be honest, a lack therof. With three goalies occupying the net it came down to circumstance before Herringer was given a starting opportunity. Jackson Whistle went down in November 2014 and that was all Michael needed to get his name out there.

(note: Herringer played 2 games for the Victoria Royals before being traded to Kelowna)

His stone cold demeanor when he’s manning the nets is something to behold. It’s one thing to be a calm and cool goalie but when you play the angles so well that saves are just a formality, you’re special. Michael Herringer reminds me of the hero that walks away from an explosion in slo-mo like it’s no big deal.

That’s essentially what you get when he’s in net.

He posted a 3-0  shutout in his first start against Vancouver and yet another win in his next outing. Herringer would finish with an 11-2 record, 2 shutouts and a SA% of .913. Pretty impressive for the 18 year old at the time.

When things got dicey down the stretch and even in the playoffs last year, body placement, a bit of luck and a worry free attitude kept Herringer focused and ready. Its a shame we never see any of our goalies make it big in the NHL.
I believe if there are any hiccups with Jackson Whistle this year, new coach Brad Ralph will not hesitate to try his hand with the confident tendy.

It’s a new season in Kelowna and after coming up one goal short in the Memorial Cup Final, the Rockets will be out to avenge their loss. One thing’s for sure: Goaltending will not be an issue, yet again as Herringer and Whistle aim to show you why night in and night out.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Or don’t, no big deal

Rockets Fall Short On Dream Season; Still Kelowna’s Heroes

My heart sank in sadness when the puck went in to crown the Oshawa Generals 2015 Memorial Cup Champions. I’ve felt this hurt before when the Vancouver Canucks fell to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup. That pain is never easy to swallow and we all play those hilites back in our heads over and over. This year’s Rockets team was different though, they weren’t supposed to lose. 

It wasn’t being cocky or arrogance, these guys were genuinely likeable and Canada fell in love with our Ogopogo crew. Losing in OT in the final game of the tournament is about as painful as it gets but a day later they could have won it all by the reception the locals gave them. Champions? No. Heroes? You bet!

  
Credit – infonnews.ca

A season that didn’t match their statistical efforts from a year prior, 53 -13-5-1 in 2015 compared to 57-11-0-4 in 2014, it made up in excitement, confidence and a handful of trades that took the WHL by storm. Owner and GM Bruce Hamilton pulled the trigger on some of the biggest moves the team has ever made and you know what, I say they paid off.

Hamilton isn’t known for parting with high picks or depth home grown talent but this season was different. RIght before Christmas he unloaded a deal that brough stud defenseman Josh Morrissey (backup goaltender Jake’s brother) home from Prince Albert.

A deal that shook the junior hockey world and got people wondering how far Kelowna would go to win it all in 2015. Well, they weren’t done. The Edmonton Oilers sent Leon Draisaitl (NHL 3rd overall pick in 2014) back to junior after 37 games and again, a trade was made to bring the star centre to the beautiful Okanagan from Prince Albert.

How many stars were buried in PA?

The Memorial Cup saw everything these newbies had to offer and Leon Draisaitl in defeat, won the tournament MVP with 4 goals and 3 assists. He was our J.S. Giguere. We were all sad too Leon. Had the Rockets won, there is a chance the winning goal might have been future NHL star Nick Merkley’s if the puck didn’t hop off his stick on a late game breakaway.

It would have been enough to have the additions of Morrissey and Draisaitl but in that deal the Rockets also received underrated winger Gage Quinney. Stealing is the wrong word here, Hamilton made out like a bandit. Oh but Brucey wasn’t done there. 

With room for one more 20 year old after sending away over-ager Carter Rigby at the beginning of the year, Hamilton looked north to Prince George and landed veteran gritty forward Chance Braid. He hits, he fights and believe it or not, he scores too!

Quinney and Braid took it to another level in Quebec and I think even for Rockets fans they realized Gage Quinney might be the teams next star. He was slightly overshadowed in coverage by Draisaitl, Merkley and Chartier which was fine by him.

Quinney’s four goals and an assist were right behind the big German and occasional linemate Merkley. The big games came and Gage stepped up. Next season is going to be bright for him. Merkley and Quinney could do a lot more damage when they play full time together.

Kelowna took a bit to jel all their new additions but things were still going as planned. WIns came easy and when the challenges came, they passed with flying colors. The fans started to notice, they started to get excited.

The playoffs for the Rockets basically started in the second round after sweeeping the Tri City Americans quicker than it takes to change the channel when Caillou comes on (Im a dad, if you know…you know). Victoria’s Royals put up a bit of a challenge but again, Kelowna only needed 5 games and some anger after losing one they shouldn’t have.

If you follow the Rockets closely, you know the Portland Winter Hawks have been Kelowna’s kryptonite. Facing the Hawks 3 of the last 4 years, it was going to be THE test everyone was waiting for. Back and forth both teams went but it wasn’t until game 4 that Kelowna made their statement (VIDEO). Kelowna never looked back.

Going into the WHL Final, the stars came alive. Josh Morrissey, Nick Merkley, Leon Draisaitl and Gage Quinney all had their way with the Brandon Wheat Kings and what looked like a 6 or 7 game series quickly turned into an unlikely sweep by the Rockets.

Could they be that good?

Aside from a few hiccups, the Rockets were as advertised even though they finished the round robin 1-2 at the Memorial Cup. Scoring 7 goals against the Rimouski Oceanic put them in the semi final and embarrassing the Quebec Ramparts in that game 9-3 had all but assured Kelowna the title.

Oshawa ended up with the OT winner to become the 2015 Champs but in all the Kelowna’s fans eyes, their team had reminded the rest of Canada they were for real. It could have gone either way but no one in Kelowna is blaming anyone. 

This team brought a city together even if only for a few months and it may take awhile before Kelowna gets back to the big dance but we won’t forget. These were our heroes.

The Rockets marketing team came up with the slogan and hashtag #thismomentweownit for this season, you’ll be hard pressed to find someone that says they didn’t.

Its all done for another year but something tells me Canada will want to see more next season. At the very least, this little girl sure does:

  
Thanks Merks!  Next stop – the NHL Draft.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Rockets Too Much For Ramparts; Generals Await

Safe to say the province of Quebec are not Rockets fans after this week. Kelowna amassed 16 goals combined against the Rimouski Oceanic and Quebec Ramparts in just over 3 days. Everything seems to have gone right for the Rockets and their final test comes Sunday.

One more game. One more team.

The Kelowna Rockets needed a big game out of their stars and it was the supporting cast that did most of the damage on Friday night. The media and fans alike no doubt would have expected Nick Merkley, Leon Draisaitl and Gage Quinney to be the ones leading the attack, would Chance Braid and Justin Kirkland do?

Braid and Rodney Southam both got an opportunity to drop the mitts against Ramparts Yanick Turcotte and it only seemed to fire up the Rockets, to the tune of 9-3. Sure the big guns had a good game but it was the secondary scoring that did Quebec in.

Justin Kirkland seems to be fine after coming back from injury. He picked a great game to get back in the groove. With 2G and 2A and a +3, what a way to stun the Quebec crowd! He wasn’t the only one. Chance Braid added to his big fight by completing the Gordie Howe Hat Trick with a goal and an assist.

Up and down the lineup, the Rockets were having statement games. Even though Rourke Chartier was the team’s leading scorer, he has been under the weather and hasn’t produced at his normal clip. I guess all he needed was a big game to get his scoring touch back.

2 goals and a +4 got Chartier right back to where he needed to be. The German sniper Leon Draisaitl made quick work of Zach Fucale putting up a pedestrian 1G and 2A. He continues to amaze and now, he doesn’t even celebrate his goals.

We could keep talking about all the guys that got points for Kelowna but how about the ones that kept the puck out? Cole Martin is beyond underrated. He played the ultimate shutdown role against Quebec stealing pucks and driving guys to the outside.

Martin gets praise at home but on such a big stage like the Memorial Cup, he has elevated his game to the point the scouts should be taking notice. He isn’t flashy and isn’t one for the stats but if you need someone to breakup a huge play, odds are Martin is there.

Can’t forget to mention Jackson Whistle who allowed only 3 goals. In a format like the Memorial Cup, every team is good enough to score a boatload of goals. He never allowed more than 3 goals in a game and in the losses he suffered he was far from the reason they fell.

Whistle has been able to surpass his predecessor Jordan Cooke with less than stellar numbers, but the big numbers that mattered were the W’s he produced. The goal scoring in front of him sure helps keep a calm hand when opponents are bearing down on his net.

So now the Rockets get to play the Generals for the Memorial Cup. Two teams that are equal in almost every way. If you read my post from just over a week ago you know I’m not shocked to see them both here.

The two best teams are right where they should be and the way the Rockets are playing, the loss they suffered the first time they played Oshawa will serve as a good reminder of what they’ll have to do to win. Scoring 9 times in the semi final is a pretty good sign they’re ready.

Sunday can’t come soon enough.

Follow me on twitter for more hot takes: @always90four


Rockets Hoping For Generals Admission

While the Oshawa Generals wait to see who they will face on Sunday for the Memorial Cup Final, the Kelowna Rockets waited to see who THEY would be playing in the semi final on Friday. We now know the host Quebec Ramparts will be the Rockets opponent. I’m awaiting this game as much as the movie premiere of Entourage next week.

The Rockets are looking for a summer blockbuster too, one with Generals admission on Sunday.

Before we get all wide eyed and dreamy, theres a hockey game to play. Kelowna didn’t finish on the right side of the score sheet the first time they played Quebec; maybe nerves got to them or too much line matching. This time, they know what they have to do to win.

Zach Fucale will be one of the reasons the Rockets dream of lifting the trophy ends on Friday or the reason they move on. Fucale has been the best goalie in the tournament. Statistically, he hasn’t done much but his confidence and stone cold demeanor when danger strikes is unmatched.

He has a bit of Roberto Luongo and Patrick Roy all wrapped up in one.  A hot goalie at the right time corrects any problems the team in front of him has. Fucale is last in GAA, SA % and GA; but if you are looking for a game breaking save, he’ll probably be your guy.

At the same time, if you can beat him early and maybe put up 2 quick; that confidence can be broken. The Rockets stars have proven they can do serious damage when things are rolling and they have chased a few goalies this post season.

Coach Dan Lambert has the big guns on his side. Leon Draisaitl and Nick Merkley are right up there in points with 4 and 5 respectively. The game will be put in their hands Friday night and they will be ready. Losing to Oshawa was tough, especially because a failed 5 on 3 power play cost them the game.

Don’t forget up and comer Gage Quinney though; after the horses run on the first line, over the boards comes Quinney, Tyson Baillie and Dillon Dube. Quinney has been johnny on the spot this week and his linemates are due. Tyson Baillie has been known to score the big goal, it’d be nice to see him cash in.

Scoring from the blue line would give the forwards a break and Josh Morrissey can make that happen. The big additions will need to make the difference against Quebec or the big push GM Bruce Hamilton made will be over.

No more line matching or holding the fort; load up the top line early and often, let Merkley and Draisaitl control the puck and for pete sakes SHOOT THE PUCK MADISON BOWEY!! His shot is accurate and heavy, rebounds are tough to hold on to and this might be his last hurrah.

It’s time to get back to Kelowna Rockets hockey. Control the play, cycle that puck and score, score, score.

There is only one ticket left for the big show on Sunday and the Rockets have all the tools they need to advance. Even if the Memorial Cup Final sells out, the Rockets are just trying to get a Generals admission.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Photo credit: kelownanow.com

Rockets FINALLY Play Themselves; Lose Round 1

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.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Photo – lfpress.com

Kelowna Rockets Need Calm, Not Calamity To Advance

It might only be one loss, but the Kelowna Rockets can’t afford to lose again. In their opening matchup Friday against the host Quebec Ramparts, the Rockets were downed 4-3 in what ended up being a nailbiter. Kelowna looked reactive and uncomfortable until late in the game; that will need to be remedied immediately for the Okanagan crew to move on.

The Mastercard Memorial Cup tournament is a quick gauntlet of the best teams in the CHL and when you only play each team once (1 vs. OHL Champions, 1 vs. QMJHL Champions and host team) every loss can be devastating and at the same time each win monumental.

The Rockets once again started the first period with a goal against and nerves seemed to be a big factor. As good as they are, there aren’t very many chances to bounce back in a week long tourny. Goaltender Jackson Whistle had another on again off again outing but still maintained his all star play for a good chunk of the game.

Whistle wasn’t the main reason for the loss though, failure to keep a consistent pace with Quebec and lack of discipline had Kelowna in the box too often and the individual efforts overshadowed what they did well as a team.

Coach Dan Lambert has iced a team that much of the season has shown composure and because of this they tend to overpower teams with their four line attack. Forwards Nick Merkley and Leon Draisaitl can control shifts and even periods with their eye for how a play will develop. Having a cool head translates into goals for these guys.

Cole Linaker showed his patience on the penalty kill last game when he read the Rampart defenders and found an open Nick Merkley in the slot to get back into the game. Its unlikely nerves will play a factor in Monday’s game against the Rimouski Oceanic. There isn’t time anymore.

Its no secret that the line of Draisaitl, Merkley and Rourke Chartier will be the force that decides how far this team goes. When they’re on, they’re lethal. Tyson Baillie will need to provide some clutch minutes as well with Dillon Dube and Gage Quinney.

Kelowna has the firepower to get the job done in Quebec and if they get back to their team assault, the rest of Canada will see why they are so good. 

Capitalizing on thoughtless penalties will help the Rockets even things out a bit more. World Junior Gold Medallists defensemen Madison Bowey and Josh Morrissey will also be on high alert. These guys will make the difference when just one more shot or one more battle to hold the line is crucial.

The Rockets made quick work of the WHL in this year’s post season because they didn’t panic when they were up against a challenge, they adapted and prevailed. This will be no different.

Progress. Not perfection.
Follow me on twitter: @always90four

Photo credit: torontosun.com

Kelowna Rockets, Oshawa Generals: Destined For Memorial Cup Final

The Kelowna Rockets dressing room still reeks of victory (and just plain stench) after beating the Brandon Wheat Kings four straight to clinch the WHL Championship. Dan Lambert’s boys looked like they almost cruised through most of the playoffs without much of a sweat.

Knocking off Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters in five games gave the Oshawa Generals a similar berth into the Memorial Cup tournament. These two teams are very similar and on Championship Sunday they’ll likely battle for junior hockey’s top prize.

Kelowna played all of 19 games this post season and faced adversity arguably only twice against the Portland Winterhawks. Once the Rockets took charge they never let up and put the Hawks away with ease. The Brandon Wheat Kings looked like they would challenge Kelowna but by the time they did, it was too late.

When the OHL playoffs started, many believed it would be the Erie Otters representing their league in Quebec City. Connor McDavid alone made quick work of his opponents, scoring effortlessly and often. But once they ran into the Oshawa Generals, their luck changed.

The Generals hit everything that moved. Cole Cassels (2013 Canucks 3rd rounder) didn’t completely contain McDavid but his overall game could not be matched. Oshawa in a lot of ways is the eastern version of the Kelowna Rockets.

Up front, the Rockets can score at will with their top two lines of Rourke Chartier/Leon Draisaitl/Nick Merkley and Tyson Baillie/Dillon Dube/Gage Quinney. in 19 games those 6 players combined for 49 of the Rockets 81 goals. They proved to be too much for three rounds and against Brandon they perfected their craft.

Oshawa liked the sound of the goal horn themselves. 78 goals in 21 games while only playing in 6 games with 2 goals or less. Pretty impressive. Cole Cassels and Matt Mistele combined for 23 goals and 12 power play markers, three others had 8 goals or more. The Generals were presented with opportunities and capitalized frequently.

Puck possession will be key in this tournament so look for the Draisaitl line to see a lot of Cassels. Even though both of these teams score in bunches, they way they control the play will keep the score quite low most likely. Of course, if I’m wrong that wouldn’t be the worst thing.

When it comes to goaltending its a deadlock. Jackson Whistle of the Rockets has proven he is indeed their #1 but has shown he is human as well. Whistle was the difference against Portland and benefited from some puck luck along the way as well.

He was guilty of giving up the first goal numerous times but hunkered down and slammed the door shut right after. If backup Michael Herringer is needed, he’s equally stingy and coach Lambert won’t hesitate if things get dicey.

Out east, Ken Appelby backstopped the Generals all the way. Posting 2 shutouts and a healthy .922 SA %, he even had time for a few game breaking saves against a certain future Edmonton Oiler. Highly debateable if the tenders are the main story; I have a feeling they won’t be.

Sure, there are 2 other teams in this tourny but Rimouski and Quebec will have beaten each other senseless by then and have rotated goalies on the regular. The Rockets and Generals have the early edge especially with a week of rest to recharge.

Having watched Kelowna develop the last three years into what they are now, its tough to bet against them. They aren’t just defense anymore. What Oshawa brings to the table is the equal compete level and ability to matchup almost line for line.

I’m playing my homer card and picking the Rockets to win it all but they’ve been here a few times looking like the favourite and come up short. 

Thankfully we will be watching these guys play for a second time if it gets that far and by then we’ll know who truly should be crowned the 2015 Mastercard Memorial Cup Champions.

I just want the cool hat.

Follow me on twitter: @always90four