KELOWNA, BC, February 13, 2017 – The Kelowna Rockets defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds 6-3 Monday afternoon at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia.
The T-Birds return to ShoWare Center for a Directors Mortgage 2-for-Tuesday game on Tuesday, February 14, against the Red Deer Rebels at 7:05pm.
The T-Birds are in first place in the US Division, one point ahead of the Everett Silvertips. They are three points behind the Prince George Cougars for first place in the Western Conference with two games in hand.
Cody Savey made his T-Bird debut in the game against the Rockets. Savey, from Gold River, British Columbia, signed a WHL Standard Player Agreement in the morning prior to the game.
Kelowna (33-20-4-0) went in front 1-0 on a goal from Calvin Thurkauf at 2:36 of the first period. Nick Merkley and Reid Gardiner had the assists.
Seattle (35-16-3-2) tied the game 1-1 at 12:08 of the first on a delayed penalty call. The Rockets were called for a penalty with the T-Birds having control of puck. Mathew Barzal came on the ice for goalie Matt Berlin. Turner Ottenbreit passed the puck to Barzal in the right circle. Barzal held the puck then crossed it to Ethan Bear in the left circle. Bear, a right-handed shot, went to one knee and took a slap shot that beat Kelowna goalie Michael Herringer over the blocker.
The Rockets took the lead back at 13:35 of the first on a goal from Leif Mattson. Erik Gardiner and Jack Cowell were credited with the assists.
The T-Birds tied the game 2-2 at 15:44 of the first. Ryan Gropp skated the puck up the left boards and passed it to Bear at center ice. Bear moved the puck to Kolesar in the right circle. Kolesar took a wrist shot with traffic in front of Herringer that beat the goalie on the stick side. Gropp extended his team high point streak to 13 games with the assist.
Seattle outshot Kelowna 9-7 in the first period.
Gropp make it a 3-2 Seattle lead at 5:10 of the second period. Barzal set up Bear for a slap shot on a power play. Bear’s shot hit the glass behind Herringer and bounced off the ice right to Gropp to the goalie’s left. Gropp knocked the puck past Herringer as the puck came off the ice.
Along with the 13-game point streak Gropp has a seven-game goal streak.
The T-Birds outshot the Rockets 16-9 in the second period and led 25-14 in total shots after two.
The Rockets scored four goals in the third period to get the win. The first two came 24 seconds apart while the teams were playing four-on-four. Thurkauf got his second of the game at 12:04 and Reid Gardiner scored at 12:28.
The second two Rockets goals came 27 seconds apart late in the period. Carsen Twarynski scored from the slot at 17:52 of the third to make it a 5-2 Rockets lead and then Merkley scored unassisted at 18:19.
The Rockets outshot the T-Birds 18-9 in the third period. The T-Birds finished with a 34-32 advantage in shots.
Berlin stopped 26 shots and his record is now 5-1-2-0.
Herringer made 31 saves and his record is now 24-13-3-0.
First period – 1, Kelowna, Thurkauf 26 (Merkley, R. Gardiner), 2:16. 2, Seattle, Bear 22 (Barzal, Ottenbreit), 12:08. 3, Kelowna, Mattson 6 (E. Gardiner, Cowell), 13:35. 4, Seattle, Kolesar 17 (Bear, Gropp), 15:44. Penalties – Strand, Sea (interference), 17:10.
Second period – 5, Seattle, Gropp 23 (Bear, Barzal), 5:10 (pp). Penalties – Thurkauf, Kel (holding), 4:13. C. Foote, Kel (slashing), 4:13. True, Sea (roughing), 16:15. Southam, Kel (roughing), 16:15. Ottenbreit, Sea (hooking), 16:20.
Third period – 6, Kelowna, Thurkauf 27 (Merkley), 12:04. 7, Kelowna, R. Gardiner 7 (Stephens, Johansen), 12:28. 8, Kelowna, Twarynski 11 (Lind, Stephens), 17:52. 9, Kelowna, Merkley 17, 18:19. Penalties – Adams, Sea (tripping), 6:44. Ottenbreit, Sea (roughing), 11:56. Lind, Kel (roughing), 11:56.
Shots on goal – Seattle 9-16-9 34, Kelowna 7-7-18 32. Goalies – Seattle, Berlin 32 shots-26 saves (5-1-2-0); Kelowna, Herringer 34-31 (24-13-3-0). Power plays – Seattle 1-2; Kelowna 0-3. A – 5,563. Referees – Clayton Hall, Kevin Webinger. Linesmen – Tim Plamondon, Cody Wanner.