Friday, April 15, 2011

WHL Playoffs: Rockets Strike Back

The Portland Winterhawks may have outshot their opponent 55-38 but it was the Kelowna Rockets who scored the winner in extra time to force a 6th game in their second round WHL playoff series. Jessey Astles had 4 goals after two seasons in the WHL but he's got 3 in just 9 playoff games this Spring, the biggest one coming on Friday night.

Kelowna scored the game's first marker in the second period. Mitch Callahan pumped home the power play goal at 4:38 but the Rockets couldn't hold onto the lead for the entire period.

Nino Niederreiter's unassisted goal, also on the power play, tied things up and that's the way they would stay through the third period forcing overtime.

Astles is a 6'1 and 185 lb winger from Coquitlam, BC who is eligible for the NHL Entry Draft for the first time this June. He's appeared in 115 regular season WHL games and has just 9 points to show for it but clearly Astles has taken to the playoffs this year. HIs goal at 7:08 of the first overtime session ended Friday's game and will send the series back to the friendly confines of Prospera Place on Sunday.

Undrafted Adam Brown stopped 54 of 55 shots for the Rockets in the win. He's faced 360 shots so far in the 2011 playoffs, second only to Steven Stanford of the eliminated Saskatoon Blades.

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