Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The 50-50 Night

The best thing about watching playoff hockey is that every night can tell you a different story or as was the case of Tuesday night 2 different stories.

In Brampton Evgeny Grachev and his Brampton Battalion did what Michael Del Zotto's London Knights could not do which was finish off a comeback for a win. Trailing 2-0 in Game 4 against the Belleville Bulls, the Battalion reeled off 4 unanswered goals and earned a 4-3 win.

Grachev had an assist on Brampton's 3rd goal to give extend his scoring streak to 7 straight while improving his totals to 9-12-21. Quietly Grachev has climbed up to 7th in the OHL Playoff scoring race and also has the 2nd longest active scoring streak in the OHL.

It is going to be interesting come Thursday night when the Battalion look to finish off the series and earn a trip to the OHL finals for the first time. Even better for us will be to see how Grachev reacts to Bull defenseman PK Suppan after Suppan threw a punch at Grachev at the end of Game 4.

Grachev despite his size has never shown any interest in dropping his gloves which while we are not knocking at the same time we do want see him stand up for himself if need be. Of course the best response from Grachev would also be show the Bulls the door with his offense.

One last Grachev note to ponder, Grachev has points in 11 of 14 OHL playoff games.

Tysen Dowzak and his Kelowna Rockets are not smiling now after a heart wrenching 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Giants in Game 3 of their WHL Western Conference series. The Giants scored the game winning goal with just 68 seconds remaining in regulation and have regained home ice advantage leading 2-1 in the series.

The Rockets can only ask themselves "what if" when they look back at this loss because they had chance after chance to win this game but just did not get the job done.

The Rockets out shot the Giants 35-24, the problem was that it was one shot and done as the Rockets could not any rebounds or second chances because the Giants did a great job protecting their goalie. The Rockets could not score on the power play either going just 1 for 6 and that alone could be where the defeat can be traced to.

When we said that the Rockets would regret not playing their best hockey in Game 2 of this series then the result of Game 3 is what we were talking about. Instead of leading in this series the Rockets are now trailing a Giant team that has not played well during this series.

The Rockets have kept the Giant's best scorers in check so far but it will not take much to get them going. If there ever was a corny cliche about must win then it will be Game 4 on Thursday.

If the Rockets do not win and head back to Vancouver trailing 3-1 in this series then sorry Rocket fails this series will be over. The Giants are way too good a team to allow the Rockets to get off the ground and back into this series.

(Grachev courtesy of Aaron Bell, Dowzak courtesy of Tim Swanky)

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