Rockets sweep ‘Birds to advance to conference final

Kelowna downs Seattle 5-2 to win WHL second-round playoff series 4-0

For the first time in five seasons, the Kelowna Rockets are into the Western Hockey League’s final four.

The Canadian Hockey League’s No. 1 team completed a four-game sweep of the Seattle Thunderbirds with a 5-2 win Wednesday night in Kent, Wash., to advance to the Western Conference final.

Damon Severson, Nick Merkley and Marek Tvrdon each scored once and added an assist as the Rockets made short work of the T’Birds in their second round series.

The clubs split four meetings during the 2013-14 regular season, but the Rockets removed all doubt in the postseason, outscoring Seattle 22-11.

“I am extremely proud of the guys, the way they played, not only the first two games at home, but coming into this building is never easy as we during the season and last season in the playoffs,” said Rockets assistant coach Dan Lambert. “The guys really played a composed game. The special teams were outstanding the whole series, which ultimately was probably the difference.”

Cole Linaker and Tyson Baillie also scored for Kelowna in Game 4, while captain Madison Bowey added a pair of assists. Jordon Cooke stopped 42 shots as he and the Rockets pushed their 2014 postseason record to 8-1.

The Rockets will face either the Portland Winterhawks or Victoria Royals in the Western Conference final. The Winterhawks lead that best-of-seven series 3-1, with Game 5 slated for Thursday night in Portland.

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