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04-04-2013, 12:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: San Diego
Kelowna was apparently down to 4 D for that game 7:
Perhaps Kelowna coming back from a 3-0 series deficit to oust the Seattle Thunderbirds doesn't seem so big, since the Rockets finished 50 points ahead in the standings. Considering Kelowna's injuries — it essentially played with only four defencemen in Game 7 after playing an overtime game one night earlier in Seattle — it is significant. It also affirms about how junior hockey is always about a new hope emerging, in this case Baillie, the 17-year-old who scored all three Rockets goals in the >3-2 win, including the winner 5:10 into overtime.
It's not as big as the championship-winning goal Barrie scored in 2009, but it is only the second time in WHL history a team has fought off the final strike four times in a row to win a series. It's only the ninth time it's happened in the the Canadian Hockey League. The Rockets' final two wins came in overtime on back-to-back nights.
"I was screaming for the puck and [Kelowna defenceman] Madison [Bowey] with his great vision hit me backdoor and I just one-timed it along the ice because I knew [Seattle goalie Brandon] Glover was down and out," Baillie told Kelowna's AM 1050. "Words can't describe it. I was just going crazy. I just kind of blacked out."
With captain Colton Sissons among the injured in suits and ties, Baillie had a huge series. The Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., native who is up for the 2014 NHL draft had seven goals and 12 points across the run of seven games. He was in position to have his second game-winner of the series before Seattle's overage captain Luke Lockhart jammed in the tying goal with 7.3 seconds left.
"It was heartbreaking because we thought we had the game," Baillie said. "Our motto for the past four games has been 'believe.' Someone said 'let's believe' and we went out and did it."
The win sets up an all-B.C. second-round series between the Rockets and the more rested Kamloops Blazers, beginning Saturday in Kelowna. How coach Ryan Huska's Rockets manage to refocus and replenish themselves should factor heavily into how the series unfolds. Bowey, New Jersey Devils second-rounder Damon Severson, MacKenzie Johnston and rookie Riley Stadel were the only regular defencemen Kelowna had available, although centre Colton Heffley took a few shifts on D.
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