The Kelowna Rockets are half way to a berth in the WHL’s Western Conference final.
Nick Merkley scored twice and added an assist to lead the Rockets to a 5-2 victory over the Portland Winterhawks Saturday in Game 2 of the conference semifinal at Prospera Place.
The Rockets now lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, with Game 3 set for Tuesday in Portland.
Both of Merkley’s goals were scored into an empty net as the Winterhawks tried to battle back from 3-1 and 4-2 deficits lare in the third period.
Kole Lind, Tomas Soustal and James Hilsendager also scored for Kelowna, while Michael Herringer stopped 23 shots for his sixth win of the playoffs.
Cole Kehler made 38 saves in the Portland goal.
Game 4 goes Wednesday in Portland, with a fifth game, if nececssary, back in Kelowna on Friday, April 14.