KENT, April 22, 2017 — The Kelowna Rockets defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-3 in overtime Saturday night at ShoWare Center in Game 2 of the WHL Western Conference Championship. The series is now tied 1-1.
Reid Gardiner scored at 5:04 overtime to get the Rockets the win. Calvin Thurkauf passed the puck to Gardiner alone in the left circle and he beat Seattle goalie Carl Stankowski high.
Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Championship are in Kelowna. Game 3 is Tuesday at 7:05pm and Game 4 is Wednesday at 7:05pm.
Game 5 is Friday, April 28, at 7:35pm at ShoWare Center. Single game tickets for Game 5 of the Western Conference Championship are now on sale online on the T-Birds website and at the ShoWare Center box office. The ShoWare Center box office is open Monday through Friday 10am to 5pm.
For Game 5 fans can purchase 10 tickets at $22 each for just $220 and they will get an additional 2 FREE tickets plus $10 worth of Chuck-A-Pucks.
This Game 5 Group Ticket Special is available online and by contacting the T-Birds at 253-239-PUCK (7825). This Group Ticket Special is NOT AVAILABLE ON GAME DAY. They are advance purchase only.
Stankowski was excellent in the third period with the Rockets pressing for a go-ahead goal. He stopped Dillon Dube on a clear chance from the slot, robbed Rodney Southam with a glove save on a backhand shot and made several sprawling saves on scrambles in front of his net. Stankowski finished with 28 saves on 32 shots and his playoff record is now 9-1.
The Rockets took a 1-0 lead at 12:52 on a goal from Nick Merkley. Thurkauf had the only assist.
Kelowna extended the lead to 2-0 with a shorthanded goal with one second left in the first. Thurkauf had the assist in the goal.
Seattle outshot Kelowna 12-9 in the first period.
The T-Birds cut the Rockets lead to one at 3:12 of the second period on a power-play goal by Ethan Bear. Mathew Barzal passed the puck from the left boards to Scott Eansor in the left corner. Eansor came out of the corner and put a shot on goal that rebounded to the left of Kelowna goalie Michael Herringer. Bear pinched down from the right point and put the rebound past the goalie.
The Rockets took a 3-1 lead into the second intermission after Kole Lind scored a power-play goal at 19:34 of the second. Thurkauf and Dillon Dube had the assists.
The T-Birds outshot the Rockets 8-5 in the second period and led 20-14 in shots after two periods.
Seattle cut the Kelowna lead to one goal at 1:43 of the third period on a power-play goal by Keegan Kolesar. Bear had the puck at the right point and fed Donovan Neuls in the high slot. Neuls skated at Herringer and took a shot. Neuls’ shot deflected off a Kelowna defenseman to Kolesar low in the left circle. Kolesar snapped the puck past Herringer as the goalie tried to get over.
The T-Birds tied the game 3-3 at 9:06 of the third period on Neuls sixth goal of the playoffs. Mathew Barzal moved the puck up the ice to Kolesar who carried it into the Kelowna zone. Kolesar took a shot as Barzal skated hard towards Herringer. Kolesar’s shot rebounded off the goalie to Neuls in the left circle. Neuls put the rebound into the Kelowna net to tie the game.
Kelowna outshot Seattle 14-11 in the third period. The T-Birds had a 31-28 advantage in shots after three periods.
Herringer stopped 30 of 33 shots and his playoff record is now 9-4-0-0.
Western Conference Championship
Game 1 At Seattle 5, Kelowna 4
Game 2 Kelowna 4, at Seattle 3, OT
Game 3 Seattle @ Kelowna Tuesday, April 25 7:05pm
Game 4 Seattle @ Kelowna Wednesday, April 26 7:05pm
Game 5 Kelowna @ Seattle Friday, April 28 7:35pm
Game 6 Seattle @ Kelowna Sunday, April 30 5:05pm*
Game 7 Kelowna @ Seattle Tuesday, May 2 7:05pm*
First period – 1, Kelowna, Merkley 4 (Thurkauf), 12:52. 2, Kelowna, R. Gardiner 14 (Thurkauf), 19:59 (sh). Penalties – Lind, Kel (cross checking), 15:33. Dube, Kel (roughing), 18:44.
Second period – 3, Seattle, Bear 5 (Eansor, Barzal), 3:12 (pp). 4, Kelowna, Lind 5 (Thurkauf, Dube), 19:34 (pp). Penalties – Soustal, Kel (hooking), 1:37. Moilanen, Sea (hooking), 6:19. Ottenbreit, Sea (elbowing), 19:34. N. Foote, Kel (roughing), 19:34. Gropp, Sea (roughing), 19:34. Herringer, Kel (roughing-served by Topping), 19:46.
Third period – 5, Seattle, Kolesar 7 (Neuls, Bear), 1:43 (pp). 6, Seattle, Neuls 6 (Kolesar, Barzal), 9:06. Penalties – Gropp, Sea (high-sticking), 3:31. Merkley, Kel (roughing), 9:27. Eansor, Sea (cross checking), 11:03. Moilanen, Sea (double minor-high sticking), 14:54. Merkley, Kel (goaltender interference), 16:38.
Overtime – 7, Kelowna, R. Gardiner 15 (Thurkauf), 5:04. Penalties – No penalties.
Shots on goal – Seattle 12-8-11-2 33, Kelowna 9-5-14-4 32. Goalies – Seattle, Stankowski 32 shots-28 saves (9-1); Kelowna, Herringer 33-30 (9-4). Power plays – Seattle 2-5; Kelowna 1-6. A – 5,050. Referees – Steve Papp, Regan Vetter. Linesmen – Nick Bilko, Ron Dietterle.