Rockets rally for Rimouski; Myers nabs MVP

Tyler Myers and the Kelowna Rockets are heading to the Memorial Cup thanks to a 3-2 OT victory over Calgary in Game Six of the WHL Final. Myers, even for the game despite two miscues that led to both Hitmen goals, was named the MVP of the championship series. Calgary got on the board in the first period when Myers coughed the puck up in the offensive zone to allow a breakout pass to Bostjan Golicic. Golicic, who had just stepped out of the box, streaked down for short-handed tally to put the visitors up 1-0. Just :41 later, a Myers shot appeared to tie the game, but was ruled no goal after video review revealed that the net became dislodged before the puck crossed the plane. The paced picked up in the second twenty minutes, and Kelowna capitalized. Colin Long buried a power play goal at 11:43 to get the Rockets in the game. Nearly two minutes later, Lucas Bloodoff had a puck go off his skate to give the Rockets a 2-1 lead after 40:00. Calgary would battle back with 7:00 to play in regulation when a Myers fumble of what-looked-to-be an intercept of a Brett Sonne pass created an opportunity for 53-goal man Joel Broda to force overtime with his 11th of the playoffs. Kelowna controlled the extra session, outshooting the Hitmen 5-1 before a Tyson Barrie ('09) power play marker sealed victory, set Prospera Place into a frenzy, and punched the Rockets ticket to Rimouski. Leading playoff point man Jamie Benn (DAL) ignited the Rockets with a pair of assists, including one on the game winning goal, after missing the previous three games due to injury. Myers was active at both ends throughout, especially in the offensive zone where he was apt to attack from his point position. If the past two series have revealed anything negative about his game, it's that he needs stronger hands on the puck, both controlling it tight and also when clearing the zone. His handling has improved, but too many weak clears have come off his stick. The puck needs more umph behind it, and we're confident he'll be slinging it around in no time. But before Sabres strength and conditioning coach Doug McKenney can get his hands on the 6'7-3/4 project, Myers and his mates will play for junior hockey's top prize. The Rockets will open the 2009 Mastercard Memorial Cup on Friday at 7:00 against the host Oceanic. The Windsor Spirfires will represent the OHL, while the winner of the QMJHL President's Cup series between Drummondville and Shawinigan will round out the field. High octane Drummondville currently holds a 3-2 series lead. The 2009 gathering will mark the ninth straight year that a Sabres property has skated for the Cup. Last season, Paul Byron and his 21-goal playoff tear helped carry the Gatineau Olympiques to Kitchener. The year before his draft eligible season, 17-year old Tyler Ennis was a member of 2006-07 WHL playoff champion Medicine Hat. In the 2006, Patrick Kaleta scored eight goals and 10 assists in 19 playoff games as Peterborough earned a spot in Moncton. Ottawa 67's forward Mark Mancari was a bull down the stretch in 2004-05, scoring 14 goals in the OHL playoffs before skating against Sidney Crosby of Rimouski, Shea Weber of Kelowna, and Corey Perry of the host London Knights. Defenseman Mike Card also participated in the tournament for a third time as a member of the Rockets blueline. In 2004, Card's Rockets won the Memorial Cup over a field that included Daniel Paille of the Guelph Storm and Clarke MacArthur of the Medicine Hat Tigers. Speedy forward Derek Roy cemented his place in CHL history when the tourney MVP captained the Kitchener Rangers to a 2003 Cup title in Quebec City. In 2002, Paille was a center for the host Guelph Storm, while 2000 2nd round draft pick Gerard Dicaire was a member of the cup winning Kootenay Ice. Dicaire went unsigned and was re-drafted by Tampa later that summer. The 2001 series saw Sabres scouts watching Regina forward Karel Mosovsky, a 4th round pick in 1999 who scored three goals and three assists for the host Pats before crapping out after three seasons in Rochester.
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