The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Kelowna Rockets 2-1 on Saturday night at Prospera Place in Kelowna, its second straight OT win, to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven WHL Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Alexander Delnov scored the game winning goal 2:41 into overtime to give Seattle the win in a grinding effort that put the Thunderbirds up in the series, heading for games three and four in Seattle.
“We played into their game again tonight its a tough one to swallow in OT again,” said Rockets forward Dylen McKinlay on the AM 1150 post game show. “We have to get back to our game, start hitting and scoring on our chances.”
After a scoreless first period, Rockets rookie Cole Linaker opened the scoring in the second period, with his first of the playoffs. But Seattle defenceman Jared Hauf tied the game midway through the third period, forcing overtime.
“I think we’ve been playing with a lot of tentativeness and it shows in our play,” said Linaker. “After losing two games at home we have to get back to our game plan and stealing the game from them on Tuesday.”
Kelowna outshot Seattle on the night 22-19 and started overtime with three straight shots. But the winning goal came off a defensive zone faceoff.
“If we only have with a handful of guys going we are not going to win hockey games and that’s been the case these two games,” said Rockets coach Ryan Huska. “Seattle played very well for two road games whereas we haven’t played the way we are capable of playing. We have to be more competitive.”
The series now shifts to Seattle for games three and four on Tuesday and Wednesday.
A potential game five in the series would be next Saturday in Kelowna.