Rockets’ defenceman Gordie Ballhorn defends against Tri-City’s Jordan Topping in WHL playoff action Wednesday in Kennewick, Wash. -Image: Judy Simpson/Tri-City Americans

Americans push Rockets to edge in WHL playoffs

Tri-City downs Kelowna 5-3 Wednesday to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series

The Kelowna Rockets’ season now hangs by a thread.

Morgan Geekie scored twice to lead the hometown Tri-City Americans 5-3 victory over the Rockets Wednesday at the Toyota Center, pushing the Rockets to the brink of elimination from the Western Hockey League playoffs.

The Ams lead the best-of-seven three games to none and will look to close out the first-round series on Thursday night in Kennerwick, Wash.

Morgan Geekie, with two, Michael Rasmussen, Brett Clayton and Juuso Välimäki scored for the Americans who jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway in the opening period and led the rest of the way.

Carsen Twarynski, Kole Lind and Conner Bruggen-Cate scored for Kelowna.

For the second time in the series, Rockets’ forward Dillon Dube was ejected for a hit on a Tri-City player. Midway through the first period, Dube was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing after colliding with Ams defenceman Dylan Coghlan. Coghlan was helped off the ice but was able to return in the second period.

In Game 1 of the series in Kelowna, Dube was tossed from the game after taking a major penalty for charging for crashing into Ams’ goaltender Patrick Dea.

James Porter stopped 20 shots in the Rockets’ net, while Dea made 23 saves for Tri-City.

GAME SUMMARY

Game 4 goes Thursday night in Kennewick , with Game 5, if needed, set for Saturday night at Prospera Place.

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