Kelowna Rockets’ forward Dillon Dube battles Seattle’s Austin Strand in Game 5 of the WHL’s Western Conference final Friday in Kent, Wash. -Image credit: Brian Liesse

Rockets pushed to edge by Thunderbirds

Seattle scores 5-3 win Friday to take 3-2 lead over Kelowna in WHL’s Western Conference final

For the first time in the 2017 Western Hockey League playoffs, the Kelowna Rockets are facing elimination.

The Seattle Thunderbirds scored a pair of power play goals late in the second period to en route to a 5-3 victory over the Rockets in Game 5 Friday in Kent, Wash.

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

A must-win Game 6 for the Rockets goes Sunday at Prospera Place. Face-off is 5:05 p.m.

Despite facing an uphill climb, assistant coach Travis Crickard has complete confidence in the Rockets’ ability to rebound and force a Game 7.

“We have a lot of experience in that room,” Crickard told AM 1150’s Regan Bartel. “I for one don’t doubt them, I don’t think they doubt themselves. Championship teams need the ability to exercise resilience and I think there’s a lot of that in that room.”

Tied 2-2 late in the second period, Alexander True and Ryan Gropp connected 80 seconds apart with the man advantage to put the Thunderbirds ahead to stay.

Seattle jumped out to a 2-0 lead on breakaway goals by Scott Eansor—a shorthanded marker at 3:15 of the first period—and Sami Moilanen, who beat Michael Herringer seven minutes later.

Calvin Thurkauf, at 12:07 of the opening period, before Nick Merkley tied the game 2-2 midway through the second period.

Down 5-2, Dillon Dube rounded out the scoring with a power play goal with just 35 seconds remaining.

Discipline was a problem for both teams, from start to finish, as the Rockets went 3-for-10 on the power play, while Seattle was 3-for-8.

Thunderbirds’ Rookie Cal Stankowksi was again a factor, making 37 saves in the Seattle net. Herringer made 19 saves for Kelowna.

Game 7, if needed, will go Tuesday night in Kent, Wash.

For the game summary, click here.

Kelowna Rockets

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