KELOWNA, April 23, 2016 – The hustle of Scott Eansor won Game 2 of the Western Conference Championship for the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Eansor dumped the puck into the Kelowna zone with under four minutes left in the game. Kelowna goalie Michael Herringer stopped the puck at the left post and was going to backhand the puck into the corner. Eansor split two Kelowna defensemen after the dump in and got a stick on the puck before Herringer could clear it. The puck slid across the goal line hit the right post and went into the net to give the T-Birds a 3-2 lead at 16:54 of the third period.
Kelowna pulled Herringer for an extra attacker with just over a minute and a half left in the game. Seattle goalie Landon Bow made several saves to hold the lead and preserve a 3-2 Game 2 victory for the T-Birds at Prospera Place.
Bow ended the night making 28 saves on 30 shots to get his 10th win of the playoffs.
The T-Birds have a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference Championship.
The T-Birds will host Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Championship on Tuesday, April 26, and Wednesday, April 27. Both games start at 7:05pm at ShoWare Center. Game 3 will be a Director’s Mortgage 2-for-Tuesday game.
Single game playoff tickets for the Western Conference Championship against Kelowna are currently on sale on sale 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.
It was a case of déjà vu Saturday night at Prospera Place in Kelowna. Seattle took a 2-0 lead with two goals 33 seconds apart in the first period by Mathew Barzal and Scott Eansor.
In Game 1 Friday Barzal and Eansor scored goals 36 seconds apart late in the second period to give the T-Birds a 2-0 lead.
The T-Birds went in front 1-0 on a power-play goal by Barzal from the left circle at 12:50 of the first. Barzal, like in Game 1, wired a wrist shot over Kelowna goalie Michael Herringer’s glove. Ethan Bear and Keegan Kolesar had the assists on the goal. Barzal’s goal in Game 1 was also on the power play.
On the next shift Eansor had the puck on the left boards and passed it low to Donovan Neuls who skated left to right behind the Kelowna net. Neuls wrapped the puck at the right post and it slid through the crease. Eansor was all alone on top of the crease at the left post to push the puck into the net for his sixth goal of the playoffs.
The Rockets cut the T-Birds lead to one goal at 17:52 of the first on a goal from Cole Linaker. Tanner Wishnowski had the only assist.
Kelowna outshot Seattle 12-11 in the first period.
The Rockets tied the game 2-2 at 15:42 of the second period on Rourke Chartier’s seventh goal of the playoffs. Tomas Soustal and Cal Foote had the assists.
Kelowna outshot Seattle 11-10 in the second period and both teams had 22 shots on goal after 40 minutes of play.
Herringer stopped 25 of 28 shots in the loss.
WHL Western Conference Championship Schedule
Game 1 Seattle 2, at Kelowna 1
Game 2 Seattle 3, at Kelowna 2
Game 3 Kelowna at Seattle, Tuesday, April 26, 7:05pm
Game 4 Kelowna at Seattle, Wednesday, April 27, 7:05pm
Game 5 Seattle at Kelowna, Friday, April 29, 7:05pm*
Game 6 Kelowna at Seattle, Sunday, May 1, 5:05pm*
Game 7 Seattle at Kelowna, Tuesday, May 3, 7:05pm*
* if necessary
First period – 1, Seattle, Barzal 4 (Bear, Kolesar), 12:50 (pp). 2, Seattle, Eansor 6 (Neuls), 13:23. 3, Kelowna, Linaker 2 (Wishnowski), 17:52. Penalties – Bear, Sea (checking from behind), 10:24. Lind, Kel (slashing), 10:24. Thurkauf, Kel (cross checking) 12:40. Gropp, Sea (high-sticking), 14:31. Ottenbreit, Sea (tripping), 19:19.
Second period – 4, Kelowna, Chartier 7 (Soustal, Foote), 15:42. Penalties – Kolesar, Sea (unsportsmanlike conduct), 0:00. Baillie, Kel (unsportsmanlike conduct), 0:00. Baillie, Kel (high-sticking), 4:23. True, Sea (tripping), 4:44.
Third period – 5, Seattle, Eansor 7, 16:54. Penalties – No penalties.
Shots on goal – Seattle 12-10-5 27, Kelowna 11-11-8 30. Goalies – Seattle, Bow 30 shots-28 saves (10-1); Kelowna, Herringer 27-24 (8-8). Power plays – Seattle 1-2; Kelowna 0-3. A – 6,003. Referees – Reid Anderson, Reagan Vetter. Linesmen – Mike Roberts, Dustin Minty.