For the first time in the 2017 Western Hockey League playoffs, the Kelowna Rockets are facing elimination.
The Seattle Thunderbirds scored a pair of power play goals late in the second period to en route to a 5-3 victory over the Rockets in Game 5 Friday in Kent, Wash.
The Thunderbirds now lead the best-of-seven Western Conference championship series three games to two.
A must-win Game 6 for the Rockets goes Sunday at Prospera Place. Face-off is 5:05 p.m.
Despite facing an uphill climb, assistant coach Travis Crickard has complete confidence in the Rockets’ ability to rebound and force a Game 7.
“We have a lot of experience in that room,” Crickard told AM 1150’s Regan Bartel. “I for one don’t doubt them, I don’t think they doubt themselves. Championship teams need the ability to exercise resilience and I think there’s a lot of that in that room.”
Tied 2-2 late in the second period, Alexander True and Ryan Gropp connected 80 seconds apart with the man advantage to put the Thunderbirds ahead to stay.
Seattle jumped out to a 2-0 lead on breakaway goals by Scott Eansor—a shorthanded marker at 3:15 of the first period—and Sami Moilanen, who beat Michael Herringer seven minutes later.
Calvin Thurkauf, at 12:07 of the opening period, before Nick Merkley tied the game 2-2 midway through the second period.
Down 5-2, Dillon Dube rounded out the scoring with a power play goal with just 35 seconds remaining.
Discipline was a problem for both teams, from start to finish, as the Rockets went 3-for-10 on the power play, while Seattle was 3-for-8.
Thunderbirds’ Rookie Cal Stankowksi was again a factor, making 37 saves in the Seattle net. Herringer made 19 saves for Kelowna.
Game 7, if needed, will go Tuesday night in Kent, Wash.
For the game summary, click here.