(1090 The Fan) — Kelowna broke open a 2-2 game with three second-period goals en route to a 6-3 Game 2 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds, Saturday night.
The Rockets, as per their custom, once again utilized a balanced-scoring effort in their victory. After scoring six goals in the Game 1 win, the Rockets duplicated the effort with another six against Seattle goaltender Taran Kozun. They did so with six different goal scorers.
Center Nick Merkley finished with a goal and two assists as did defenseman Damon Severson. Also scoring for the Rockets were Riley Stadel, Cole Linaker, Rourke Chartier and Tyrell Goulbourne.
This was a game the T-Birds needed to have, to avoid falling down in the series two games to zero, but the team again struggled to contain the potent Kelowna offense.
Kelowna jumped out to a 2-0 advantage midway through the first period when Stadel took a Carter Rigby feed on a 2-on-1 break and beat Kozun at the 8:00 mark. That goal was followed up by one from Merkley who was stationed on the left goal post at 11:46. Madison Bowey pump faked a slap shot and instead slid a pretty pass through defenders to Merkley that Kozun could not recover to defend.
Seattle showed a lot of poise as it fought back to tie the game at 2-2 before the period came to an end.
A nice tic-tac-toe passing effort at 14:03 found Roberts Lipsbergs cutting to the crease to put the T-Birds on the board. Another strong forecheck by the T-Birds, this time led by Keegan Kolesar and Mitch Elliot, kept the puck in the Rockets’ zone and led to Scott Eansor’s fourth goal of the playoffs when he cleaned up a rebound in front of Rockets’ goalie Jordon Cooke at 16:12.
The goals capped a first period in which the T-Birds out shot Kelowna 18-7. In the second period, Kelowna got on its power play and Seattle never recovered.
It all started when T-Birds’ defenseman Evan Wardley went to the penalty box at 1:39 for roughing. A few moments later Seattle forward Mathew Barzal gave Kelowna a 5-on-3 advantage by taking a hooking penalty at 2:52. That led to Severson’s power-play goal at 3:12 to allow Kelowna to reclaim the lead. It never looked back.
The Rockets would follow with goals from Linaker and Chartier at 4:46 and 14:01 respectively. Neither came on the power play, but the amount of time Seattle spent on the penalty kill allowed Kelowna to take a 17-8 advantage in shots and wear down the T-Birds’ defense.
Kelowna took a 5-2 lead into the final period, and despite an Alexander Delnov goal at 2:49, the team coasted to its second win of the series. Cooke finished with 36 saves on 39 shots and the team held the Thunderbirds to 0-for-2 on their power play.
The series now shifts to Kent for games three and four on Tuesday and Wednesday.
1. KEL Riley Stadel (1) (Rigby, Linaker), 8:00
2. KEL Nick Merkley (1) (Bowey, Tvrdon), 11:46
3. SEA Roberts Lipsbergs (2) (Troock, Maxwell), 14:03
4. SEA Scott Eansor (4) (Elliot, Kolesar), 16:12
5. KEL Damon Severson (3) (Bowey, Merkley), 3:12 (PP)
6. KEL Cole Linaker (3) (Rigby, Severson), 4:46
7. KEL Rourke Chartier (5) (Merkley, Severson), 14:01
8. SEA Alexander Delnov (3) (Theodore, Barzal), 2:49
9. KEL Tyrell Goulbourne (1) (Heffley), 18:03 (EN)
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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