Rockets: David vs Goliath
The general manager of the Tri-City Americans painted a dire picture of his teams chances in their best-of-seven first round playoff series with the Kelowna Rockets.
The number one ranked Rockets won the Western Hockey League regular season title with a franchise record 118 points, 50 more than the underdog Americans.
Bob Tory says his club will show up and play with a lot of passion and a lot of pride but...
"Make no mistake this is David vs. Goliath and we are having trouble finding 20 slingshots so if anyone knows of a hardware store that has some, let me know where we are," deadpanned Tory during Thursday's playoff kickoff press conference at the Delta Grand Hotel.
The Americans are making their 11th straight playoff appearance but finished short of a team goal of an eighth straight 40 win season.
They limped into the playoffs going 4-11-2-3 over the final 20 games edging out the Prince George Cougars by six points.
"Certainly the odds are stacked against us. They dominated the series," says Tory.
"Let's not make any mistake it's the top team in Canada versus a team that limped into the playoffs. We're proud of the fact we made the playoffs, we're not happy with the type of season we had."
Tory made a few moves during the season to get younger and agrees this series will be a great learning experience.
"To be put under the fire against the top team in Canada right off the bat...we'll take those lessons...whatever the outcome is we're going to learn a lot about playing hockey in Kelowna."
The ace up Tory's sleeve, as it seems to be year in and year out, is goaltending.
The Americans feature one of the top young goaltenders in the league in 18-year-old Eric Comrie.
While his win/loss record was a pedestrian 26-25 on a mediocre team, his goals against average (2.57 - 6th) and save percentage (.925 - 2nd) earned him a Western Conference second team all-star nod.
Against the Rockets, Comrie is 3-1-0-1 lifetime with a 2.6 goals against average.
This season, he faced the Rockets just once, a 4-3 shootout loss in Tri-City back on February 26.
Without Comrie in goal, the Rockets won the other three games quite handily by scores of 4-1, 5-1 and 7-0.
"He's our leader, we go as he goes. We're looking forward to the playoffs as I know Eric is because it's his first experience in the playoffs," says Tory.
Comrie was shutdown for the season after Christmas a year ago due to hip injuries and the previous year watched from the bench as Ty Rimmer went the distance in goal.
"Eric is going to go start to finish. He's our guy, he's our most valuable player."
The opening two games of the series will be played at Prospera Place Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (5 p.m.).
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