Rockets’ Kaedan Korczak looks to block a shot against the Kamloops Blazers. Photo Marissa Baecker/Kelowna Rockets Images

Rockets’ tiebreaker for playoff berth a franchise first

The Rockets travel to Kamloops for a do-or-die match against the Blazers

For the first time in the franchise’s history, the Kelowna Rockets will play a tiebreaker game to decide if they will advance to the 2019 WHL playoffs.

In Tuesday night’s match against the Kamloops Blazers, only the winning team of the tiebreaker will advance to the playoffs. The two teams tied for the third and final playoff spot in the B.C. divisional standings after both teams earned a win in their last game of the regular season March 16.

READ MORE: Rockets to face Blazers in tiebreaker game for playoff berth

Rockets’ coach Adam Foote said he’s told the team how to approach the do-or-die game.

“Each guy just has to worry about what they do well,” said Foote. “Every guy has one or two things that they do well that we’ve talked about all year. If their nerves come into play, to just skate. The good thing to remember is to skate faster and move the puck harder.”

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This will be only the seventh time in the WHL’s history that there has been a tiebreaker game to decide which of two teams will advance to the playoffs. The first time was in the 1980-81 season, and the last time was in the 2015-16 season.

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After a challenging start to the season, and a coaching change with the addition of Foote, it’s all to fitting for the Rockets’ season to come down to a final match-up with their biggest rivals.

Defenceman Dalton Gally, who’s played dozens of games against the Blazers, said that they have to treat the game like any other.

“We know what’s on the line,” said Gally. “It’s the first true playoff game that a lot of our team will experience, and I guess for myself as well when it comes to a tiebreaker game. It’s elimination, you either move on or go home. We have to go into this game (and) wipe our mind clean.”

Rockets fans can watch Tuesday night’s game for free.

The winner of the tiebreaker game will advance to a first-round series against the Victoria Royals scheduled to start sometime this upcoming weekend.

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