Rockets lose heartbreaker

The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Kelowna Rockets 5-4 on Friday night in game one of the Western Conference Championship of the 2017 WHL Playoffs.

Seattle opened the scoring in game one. Ryan Gropp(2) tipped a point shot that slipped behind Michael Herringer. After a video review it was ruled a goal. Seattle took a 1-0 lead exactly halfway through the opening frame. The Rockets responded with seven seconds remaining in the period as Kole Lind(4) redirected a Reid Gardiner pass on the power play to knot things up heading into the first intermission.

The Rockets pulled ahead 1:09 into the middle stanza as Reid Gardiner whacked home his 13th of the post season to give the Rockets a 2-1 advantage. It took until the 19:58 mark of the period but Alexander True(5) made it a 2-2 game.

52 seconds into the final period Turner Ottenbreit(1) made it 3-2 Seattle. Sami Moilanen(3) made it 4-2 at 3:52. The Rockets then responded at 5:53 on the power play as Tomas Soustal(3) slid one past Thunderbirds netminder Carl Stankowski to make it a one goal game once again. Then at 15:00 of the final frame Calvin Thurkauf(6) tipped a Reid Gardiner point shot once again on the power play and the game was tied at 4-4. With exactly two minutes remaining Dillon Dube was given a delay of game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass. Ethan Bear(4) capitalized on the man advantage on a point blast with just 12 seconds remaining to edge the Rockets 5-4.

Gardiner led the Rockets with a goal and two assists.

Michael Herringer stopped 20 of 25 shots faced. The Rockets outshot the T-Birds 33-25.

Kelowna was 3-for-6 on the power play, while Seattle was 1-for-2.

Seattle takes a 1-0 series lead in the Western Conference Championship.

Game two is tomorrow evening, Saturday, April 22nd, again in the ShoWare Center in Kent, this time with puck drop going at 7:05pm.

The series shifts back to Kelowna for games three and four starting on Tuesday, April 25th, at 7:05pm at Prospera Place.