Kelowna Rockets forward Dillon Dube goes on the attack against Jerret Smith and the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 1 of the WHL's Western Conference final Friday at Prospera Place.

‘Birds ground Rockets in series opener

Landon Bow stops 23 shots to lead Seattle to Game 1 victory over Kelowna in WHL's Western Conference final

A 36-second span was the Kelowna Rockets’ undoing in the opening game of the WHL’s Western Conference final.

Matthew Barzal and Scott Eansor scored goals late in the second period to lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 2-1 victory Friday at Prospera Place in Game 1 of the best-of-seven series.

Landon Bow made 23 saves in the Seattle net, allowing only Rourke Chartier’s power play goal with 22 seconds remaining in the third period.

With the game scoreless late in the second period, Rockets’ centre Tyson Baillie took an interference penalty after crashing into Bow on a partial breakaway chance.

Thirty-eight seconds later, at 18:54, Barzal connected on the power play, rifling a shot over Michael Herringer’s left shoulder for his third goal of the playoffs.

Eansor then banked a wrist shot off Cal Foote’s skate at 19:10 to give the Thunderbirds a 2-0 lead and all the scoring they would need to claim Game 1.

“I thought we started well, I liked our first period, but we had the sequence right at the end of the second period that seemed to seal our fate,” said Rockets head coach Brad Ralph. “I thought in the third period, we didn’t seem to have a lot of pushback, whether that’s emotional or our energy level.

“Certainly we can play with these guys,” Ralph said, “if we make some better decisions at key moments in the game, then we give ourselves a chance.”

Thunderbirds’ head coach Steve Konowalchuk said his team turned in a workmanlike effort against the defending WHL champs.

“The guys battled hard, you’ve gotta fight for every inch and I thought we did that,” said Konowalchuk. “We were fortunate. That’s a good team over there, we gotta make sure we get real focused for tomorrow.”

Rockets’ captain Rodney Southam was penalized with a five-minute major and game misconduct for a check to the head of Seattle’s Cavin Leth midway through the third period. Leth was helped off the ice and didn’t return.

Game 2 goes Saturday night at Prospera Place. Games 3 and 4 will be played Tuesday and Wednesday in Kent, WA.



Just Posted

Witnesses for Westside Road crash sought

The RCMP appeal for witnesses to come forward as they continue to investigate.

Kelowna pot dispensary lawyer advising client to shut down

Lawyer says dispensaries are currently ‘100 per cent illegal’

Kelowna cop finds stolen tires

Officer stumbles across tires while searching for a suspect in unrelated case

New development in missing plane near Revelstoke

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Kelowna thieves steal Crime Stoppers donations

This week’s unsolved crimes for Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers hits close to home

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

UPDATE: Two people die in ATV accident south of Campbell River

Third person survived attempt to cross a creek

Letter: Peachland is a beautiful town but it needs to grow

Upcoming public hearing surrounding Peachland’s OCP is drawing attention

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

$130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

UK’s Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, engaged

Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, will marry Jack Brooksbank in Autumn 2018

Most Read