Rockets’ forward Carsen Twarynski goes on the attack in second period action against the Thunderbirds in WHL playoff action Tuesday at Prospera Place. -Image credit: Warren Henderson/Capital News

Late goal grounds Rockets in Game 3 of conference final

Keegan Kolesar scores game winner with 20 seconds left to lead Seattle to Game 3 win in WHL series

Keegan Kolesar scored with just 20 seconds remaining in the third period to lift the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 2-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in WHL playoff action Tuesday night at Prospera Place.

The Thunderbirds now lead the best-of-seven Western Conference championship two games to one.

After Calvin Thurkauf scored at 13:53 of the third period to tie the game 1-1, it looked like the game was headed for overtime.

But Kolesar’s second of the night, a wrist shot from the right face-off circle, beat Michael Herringer at 19:40 for the game winner.

The Rockets controlled play much of the night, outshooting Seattle 35-14 but were stymied time and again by 17-year-old rookie goaltender Cal Stankowski.

On their seventh power play of the night, a 5-on-3, the Rockets finally broke through when Thurkauf batted a puck out of the air past Stankowksi for his seventh of the playoffs.

The play was reviewed for a possible high-stick by Thurkauf but, after a four-minute delay, the goal was allowed to stand.

Still, in the end, Rockets head coach Jason Smith said club’s effort wasn’t good enough.

“It’s frustrating,” Smith said. “We created opportunities around the net and didn’t capitlize, but we’ve gotta be better at the end of those periods and the end of the game.

“It’s a little bit deflating, but we have to be bouncing back and ready to go for (Game 4).”

Game 4 is set for Wednesday night at Prospera Place. Face-off is 7:05 p.m.

Game 5 goes Friday night in Kent, Wash.

Kelowna Rockets

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Kelowna forward Kole Lind screens Thunderbirds goaltender Cal Stankowski Tuesday in Game 3. -Image credit: Warren Henderson/Capital News

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