Reid Gardiner celebrates his overtime winner in Game 2 of the WHL’s Western Conference final Saturday in Kent, Wash.                                -Image credit: Brian Liesse

Reid Gardiner celebrates his overtime winner in Game 2 of the WHL’s Western Conference final Saturday in Kent, Wash. -Image credit: Brian Liesse

Gardiner draws Rockets even with Thunderbirds

Reid Gardiner scores in overtime to send Kelowna to victory in Game 2 of Western Conference final

Reid Gardiner is making the most of his return to junior hockey. And the Kelowna Rockets are reaping the benefits.

The 21-year-old forward scored twice, including the game winner at 4:56 of overtime, to lead the Kelowna Rockets to a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds in WHL playoff action Saturday in Kent, Wash.

Gardiner, who started the season with the American Hockey League’s Scranton Wilkes-Barre Penguins, leads the league in playoff scoring with a team-record 15 goals and 27 points in just 13 games.

Kelowna acquired the Humboldt, Sask. native from the Prince Albert Raiders prior to the WHL’s trade deadline in January.

Calvin Thurkauf assisted on all four Rockets goals, while Kole Lind and Nick Merkley also scored for the Rockets who evened the best of seven series up at one game each.

Games 3 and 4 go Tuesday and Wednesday nights at Prospera Place.

Kelowna Rockets