Visions of a long and prosperous Western Hockey League playoff run came to an abrupt end for the Kelowna Rockets Thursday night in Kennewick, Wash.
Morgan Geekie scored a hat trick to lead the Tri-City Americans to a 5-3 win over the B.C. Division champs, sweeping the Rockets from the WHL postseason in four straight games.
It was first opening-round loss for the Rockets since being swept by the Portland Winterhawks in the 2011-2012 season.
Dillon Dube, with two, and Kyle Topping scored for the Rockets who went into the final minute of the game in a 3-3 tie with Tri-City.
But two goals by Geekie, just 17 seconds apart—at 19:05 and 19:22 of the third—sealed the Rockets’ fate and sent the Ams onto the second round of the playoffs.
The Americans, who outscored Kelowna 24-13 in the series, outshot the Rockets 41-28.
James Porter stopped 36 shots in the Rockets net, while Patrick Dea turned aside 25 shots for the Americans.
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