Rockets' captain Rodney Southam beats Kamloops goaltender Connor Ingram for his third goal of the night in WHL playoff action Friday night at Prospera Place.

Southam nets three to pace Rockets to Game 5 win

Kelowna captain scores hat-trick and Michael Herringer earns shutout Friday as Rockets take 3-2 series lead on Kamloops

When the Kelowna Rockets needed a boost, their captain didn’t hesitate to step up.

Rodney Southam scored his first career WHL hat-trick, and Michael Herringer stopped 41 shots as the Rockets downed the Kamloops Blazers 4-0 Friday to take Game 5 of their best-of-seven opening round playoff series.

The Rockets, who rebounded from a 5-1 defeat two nights earlier in Kamloops, now lead the series three games to two.

Southam said the Rockets responded well after a disappointing result in Game 4.

“We knew that wasn’t good enough, especially for playoff hockey,” Southam said. “We had to take it upon ourselves, and it was 20-man (effort), pushing as hard as we can, taking it shift-by-shift, period by period, just playing in the moment.”

“There’s a reason he’s wearing the ‘C’,” Rockets head coach Brad Ralph said of his 19-year-old captain. “He’s our hardest worker and I thought it was great to see him rewarded for all the penalty kills that he’s been killing as of late.”

Like the rest of the Rockets, Herringer bounced back with a 42-save effort for his second shutout of the series.

Herringer was pulled in Game 4 after giving up four goals on 28 shots.

“Mike was good, a calming presence, he handled the rebounds well,” Ralph said. “It was a team effort tonight, but Herri was good. He had a lot more work than we’d like but it was a good bounce back for him.”

The Rockets also halted their frustrations on the power play, scoring twice on six chances.

In the first four games of the series, Kelowna went 0-for-17 with the man advantage.

“I think it was the difference in tonight’s game, it got us off to a good start,” Ralph said of his team’s power play. “We’ve had our chances, but I thought we were a little more tenacious around the net. We had a lot of good things going on with the power play and we need that consistency right now.”

Southam opened the scoring in the first period with a power play goal, then pushed the Rockets to a two-goal lead at 2:35 of the second with his second of the game against Connor Ingram.

Rourke Chartier redirected a Lucas Johansen shot for another power play goal just past the seven minute mark, before Southam completed his hat-trick four minutes later on a setup from Tomas Soustal.

Game 6 is set for Saturday night in Kamloops.

Game 7, if necessary, will be played Monday night at Prospera Place.