Originally written on Oregon Sports News  |  Last updated 11/19/14

Tuesday night in Kelowna, the Rockets played their best hockey of the series. It still was not enough.

Sven Bartschi and Ty Rattie each scored twice and added two assists, Marcel Noebels had three assists, and the Portland WinterHawks beat the Rockets 6-3 to take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the first round of the WHL Western Conference Playoffs.

Rattie started the scoring early, beating Rockets goaltender Adam Brown off a rebound from a shot by Derrick Pouliot five minutes in for a 1-0 lead. Rockets defenseman Damon Severson tied the game up on the power-play given due to a costly too many men on the ice penalty. Bartschi retaliated off the feed from Rattie for a 2-1 lead after one period.

 

Colten Martin scored early in the second to tie the game, firing a shot from the point that somehow found its way through the maze of players. The Rockets put an unusually large amount of pressure on the Hawks in the second, keeping the puck pinned in the Hawks zone. However, an errant pass in the Rockets zone by Cody Chikie was stolen by Rattie, resulting in a 3-on-1, and the Hawks capitalized with Rattie’s second of the night, and sixth of the series off a one-timer feed from Bartschi.

The Rockets outshot the Hawks in the second period, the first time all series that has happened, and the Hawks were not about to let that happen again. The first line of Rattie, Noebels and Bartschi put pressure on early in the third, and it paid off. Rattie took a pass Noebels, faked a shot on the stick side of Adam Brown. When Brown moved out of position to stop him, Rattie fed Bartschi next to the net for the goal.

The Rockets would not be denied, and started a frantic pace for the remainder of the third. Mac Carruth was called upon to make several tough saves. During a late power-play, Myles Bell and Colten Martin both put lasers on net, but Carruth turned them both away. Carruth’s biggest save of the night came on a feed to Shane McColgan in front from Zach Franko that Carruth somehow managed to get a pad on.

Controversy reigned with under two minutes to play, when Severson scored while Carruth was being knocked to the ice by McColgan. The referees ruled that Cam Reid had knocked McColgan into Carruth, and the goal stood, making it 4-3. The Rockets stepped up their attack even further, but Joe Morrow dodged three checks, and scored an empty-net goal to seal the game, with Taylor Leier adding a second empty-netter with less than ten seconds to play.

The goaltending of Mac Carruth cannot be understated in this game. The Rockets put their heaviest amount of pressure on him today, and Carruth weathered it all, stopping 23 of 26 shots. The penalty killing team of William Wrenn, Tyler Wotherspoon and Troy Rutkowski was also outstanding, repeatedly harassing the Rockets shooters and blocking shots.

GAME NOTES:

  • Colton Sissons of the Rockets and Brendan Leipsic of the WinterHawks both played in Game Three after missing time with injuries.

  • Oliver Gabriel of the WinterHawks and Brett Bulmer of the Rockets were both suspended for their actions in Game Two. Gabriel will return in Game Four, while the length of Bulmer’s suspension has not been determined.

  • The Rockets outshot the WinterHawks 16-10 in the second, the first time in the series the WinterHawks have been outshot in a period.

  • Game Four is Thursday night in Kelowna.

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