Kyle Topping and the Kelowna Rockets will battle Riley Sawchuk and the Tri-City Americans in WHL playoff action Wednesday and Thursday in Kennewick, Wash. -Image: Cindy Rogers/Nyasa Photography

Rockets look for bounce back vs Americans

Down 2-0, Rockets are in Kennewick, WA this week for Games 3 and 4 of their WHL playoff series

It’s the position the Kelowna Rockets least wanted to find themselves in less than a week into the Western Hockey League playoffs.

Now Jason Smith’s club faces the task of having to mount a first-round comeback in hostile territory.

Trailing two games to none in the best-of-seven, the Rockets face a near must-win Wednesday night when they battle the Tri-City Americans in Game 3 in Kennewick, WA.

“We’re just taking the approach that nothing else matters except Game 3,” said Smith, in his second season as Rockets’ head coach. “We have to take those first two games, flush them away and not dwell on anything that happened before.

“It takes four games to win a playoff series, it doesn’t matter how you get them,” Smith added, “so we just need to start with the first step on Wednesday night.”

After a 5-0 setback against the Ams in the series opener Thursday night at Prospera Place, the Rockets came out on the short end of a wild, run-and-gun, very non-playoff like 9-7 score on Saturday.

Smith said his club played well in stretches in the first two games, but will need more complete efforts this week south of the border.

“There were positives from both games, we did some good things but we didn’t execute at the level we needed to and didn’t get the results,” said Smith. “We made some errors, and when you spend as much time as we did defending against the offensively-gifted players that they have, it’s tough to be successful.

“We wiped the slate clean at practise on Monday,” added Smith, “and focused on the things that allowed us to have success during the regular season.”

Game 4 goes Thursday at the Toyota Center, with Game 5 set for Saturday, 7:05 p.m. at Prospera Place.

Game 6, if needed, will go in Kennewick on Sunday night.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


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