Kelowna’s Alex Swetlikoff celebrates a second period goal against the Seattle Thunderbirds as the Rockets clinch a spot in the 2020 WHL playoffs. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Kelowna Rockets Images)

Rockets clinch playoff berth after 6-0 shut-out win over T-Birds

Kelowna returns to action with Saturday match-up against Lethbridge Hurricanes

It’s been a bumpy ride, but the Kelowna Rockets have officially booked a spot in the 2020 WHL playoffs.

After picking up two wins over the weekend, the Rockets have confirmed a spot in the postseason with a wildcard position, but now sit only six points back of third place in the B.C. division.

“We’re still not done, it’s one step in the right direction,” said head coach Kris Mallette after a 6-0 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds on March 6.

“Some of the guys were here last season obviously didn’t get to see that. Playoffs, it’s a different beast, so anytime you can make them is a great feat for our players.”

After the resounding victory over the T-Birds to start the double-header weekend, the Rockets hosted the Lethbridge Hurricanes for the first and only time this year.

The Rockets’ led 5-1 to start the final frame and weathered the Hurricanes’ third-period storm to hold onto a 5-4 win.

With the four points added over the weekend, Kelowna will head into a pivotal match-up against Victoria Wednesday night to potentially close the gap with the third-place Royals to just four points.

And with six games remaining, pushing the winning streak to three games will be a big part in how the team will be playing come playoffs at the end of the month.

“We want to catch (Victoria),” said Mallette.

“That’s the way we’re looking at things right now. All we’re worried about right now is how we’re doing, and right now we’re taking care of our end of the business.”

The Rockets were led over the two-game weekend set by Matthew Wedman’s three goals and two assists, Pavel Novak’s three goals and two assists, Kyle Topping’s five assists and goalie Roman Basran’s 56 saves including a 19-save shut-out over the T-Birds.

Kelowna hosts the Royals Wednesday night before a double-header weekend with rivals Kamloops Blazers.

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