WHL FIRST ROUND -- WESTERN CONFERENCE
Game 5: (5) Kelowna Rockets 2 @ (4) Seattle Thunderbirds 6
Seattle leads Best of 7 series 3-2
G Torrie Jung, KEL:
Game: No decision, 17 saves on 20 shots in relief
Series: 1 GP, 0-0, 3.82 GAA, .850 sv%
G Riku Helenius, SEA:
Game: Win, 25 saves on 27 shots
Series: 4 GP, 2-2, 3.01 GAA, .900 sv%
Helenius reclaimed the No.1 spot for Seattle and though he gave up a goal 22 seconds into the game on the Rockets' first shot, he shut down Kelowna the rest of the way to give the T-Birds a 3-2 lead in the series. As for Jung, he came into the game mid-way through the first period after Kristofer Westblom, who had a shaky Game 4, gave up 3 goals on 8 shots. Jung may be the favorite to start Game 6 for the Rockets Saturday night in Kelowna. Seattle has won 3 in a row in the series.
The game ended on an ugly note when Kelownaâ€™s James McEwan, a former T-Bird, blatantly tackled Helenius after the final horn resulting in both teams getting involved in a shoving match.
According to the Seattle Times, Helenius, who was uninjured, tried to laugh it off.
"Their guys were chirping at me all series," Helenius told the newspaper. "So it was a little surprising, but I don't care that much."
Kelownaâ€™s coach, Ryan Huska, responded to he incident by praising McEwanâ€™s fiery nature: â€œThatâ€™s why heâ€™s our leader.â€
Ah, the WHL.
Just in case the McEwan tackle wasnâ€™t dirty enough, Doyle Potenteau of the Kelowna Daily Courier reports seeing this sign in the stands in Seattle regarding one of Kelownaâ€™s defensemen:
Colin Joe illegally downloads.
Now that's just cold.
Oh brother! What a way to give up that second point.
Karri Ramo allowed 4 goals on 32 shots for the overtime loss. Key play of the game: Dan Boyle gets clipped in the face (UPDATE: Erik Erlendsson blogs Boyle took a skate in the lower throat that left a flesh wound on the play) and stops playing with the play behind his net. While Boyle is not paying attention a centering feed squirts off his skate to Ramo's left. Ramo aggresively dives out to try and cover the puck (probably shouldn't have), misses, and while down and out the Caps score the winner.
You know, the fact these two young netminders are athletic and can handle the puck is a good thing, but they don't necessarily have the maturity in their decision making yet. I am all for investing in a post and a chain to keep Ramo and Smith tethered to their cage until they develop that maturity, because it seems like these two must've given up a half dozen bad goals between them straying from their cages. Mind you, I thought Ramo played well again with the exception of that play, so it's not an indictment of Karri's overall play. But jeez. These kind of goals take years off a coach's life.
Matt Smaby was even in 12:48 with 2 blocked shots. He would've been +1, but was on the ice for the Semin goal which was a clean faceoff win by Fedorov and a bang-bang shot. I like the minutes. I think Matt needs to get the coaches comfortable enough to be up around 14-15 minutes by the end of the season to have a realistic shot of making the team next season. Earning that trust is the biggest hurdle.
Results from Lewiston, Everett, Lethbridge and a quick look around the CHL, including a Stamkos update.
Admirals had no answers in the third period.
Jonathan Boutin allowed 4 goals on 35 shots for the loss.
HER Wilson, (24) (Gordon, Bourque), 4:53 (PP)
NOR Smolenak, (14) (Kearns), 16:30
HER Joudrey, (10) (Pinizzotto, Robitaille), 17:09
HER Wilson, (25) (Lepisto, Gordon), 8:17 (PP)
HER Paiement, (4) , 9:57 (PP)
Radek Smolenak keeps chugging away.
Box score from TheAHL.com.
Results posted for Lewiston, Lethbridge (another star for Fadden), and Kelowna/Seattle (Helenius back in net).