Goalie the difference in handcuffing snipers

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

The pain of a war wound is determined by your situation.

Take Mark Guggenberger, for example.

The Kelowna Rockets netminder had to play last night's WHL championship series game with his nose plugged and stitches inside the nostril.

"It hurt a little bit at the time, but after taking our second win here, it's feeling pretty good," Guggenberger said with a smile.

After backstopping his team to a 5-2 victory that has the Rockets up by a pair of games to start the best-of-seven series for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, Guggenberger will happily take the punishment.

His injury actually happened in Friday night's opener, the result of a collision in which it appeared he was clipped by a teammate.

It didn't seem to affect him last night. As funny as it sounds in a 5-2 game, Guggenberger was the difference.

In the second period alone, he stopped 15 shots and kept his team within striking distance. Among his great saves came when Brandon Kozun had a golden rebound chance, and he stopped Joel Broda on a breakaway.

So after the Rockets hit the board, they then took over in the third period.

"We have to thank our goalie for us hanging around the first portion of the game," said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska.

Probably no bigger save was the one on Broda. The WHL's leading trigger man in the regular season was denied and is just one of many Hitmen who have suddenly gone cold.

And just think, Guggenberger was a back-up in Swift Current when the Rockets swung the trade.

"I didn't have too bad of numbers as a backup, so I didn't think of myself that way," said the 20-year-old Guggenberger.

"They put me right in, and it was my job for the taking, so I got in there and ran with it.

"And here I am in the league finals."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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