A two-goal lead with 10 minutes remaining wasn’t enough to propel the Kelowna Rockets into the WHL’s Western Conference final.
The Victoria Royals tallied twice in the third period to tie the game, then prevailed 5-4 in overtime to avoid a sweep and force a fifth game in the best-of-seven second round series.
Greg Chase netted the winner at 5:30 of the extra period, beating Jackson Whistle after a mad scramble in front of the Kelowna goal.
The Rockets led 4-2 after 40 minutes, but couldn’t hold off a desperate Royals’ team.
“When you’re 10 minutes away from ending someone’s season, you know they’re going to throw everything at you,” Rockets’ assistant coach Kris Mallette told AM 1150. “It was in our grasp, but no one said it was going to be easy. Nobody envisioned before we started playoffs that we were going to breeze through this.
“This is going to be a learning curve for our group.”
Trailing by two goals, Jack Walker and Brandon Macgee scored 24 seconds apart midway in the third period to force overtime.
Rourke Chartier, Tyson Baillie, Lucas Johansen and Tomas Soustal scored for the Rockets who had won seven straight games to start the WHL post-season.
The Rockets, who now lead the series 3-1, outshot the Royals 40-32.
Game 5 will go Friday night at Prospera Place. Face off is 7:05 p.m.