Josh Morrissey

Josh Morrissey

Rockets launch into WHL final

Kelowna defeats Portland in six games in Western Conference final, will meet Brandon for league championship

The demons have been exorcised.

After losing to the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL playoffs in three of the last four seasons, the Kelowna Rockets finally got the better of their U.S. division foes with an 8-4 win on Sunday night.

Captain Madison Bowey and rookie Dillon Dube scored twice each as Kelowna closed out the Western Conference final in six games at the Moda Center.

The Rockets, who overcame a 3-0 deficit Sunday, will now face the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL championship series, beginning Friday in Brandon.

It’s the Rockets first conference title since 2009.

“I’m tremendously proud of the guys,” said Bowey. “It’s been four years and it’s been our goal ever since I came here, and to finally get it done and especially to have the (Winterhawks) beat us in our home barn last year, it hurt.

“To get it done here in six games, and the way we did it was amazing. I’m so proud of the guys.”

Portland roared out to a three-goal lead just 13 minutes into the opening period, chasing Rockets’ starting goaltender Jackson Whistle.

But the Rockets responded with two goals from Bowey—including a shorthanded marker at 12:18 of the second period—and another from Dube to tie the game.

With Michael Herringer in goal, the Rockets then scored five of the last six goals—including two into the empty net—as Kelowna won its first Western Conference title in six seasons.

Tyson Baillie, with his ninth of the playoffs, Cole Linaker and Chance Braid also scored for the Rockets who outshot the ‘Hawks 41-39.

The Rockets found a way to win without leading goal scorer Rourke Chartier and 21-year-old forward Tyrell Goulbourne who are both sidelined indefinitely with injuries.

Games 1 and 2 of the WHL championship series against the Eastern Conference champion Wheat Kings go Friday and Saturday night in Brandon.

 

 

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