Kelowna Rockets forward Kole Lind (right) battles Seattle's Turner Ottenbrieit in WHL playoff action Wednesday night in Kent

T-Birds sweep Rockets out of WHL playoffs

Michael Herringer stops 71 shots only to see Seattle win in overtime and win Western Conference final in straight games

Michael Herringer did everything humanly possible to prolong the Kelowna Rockets’ 2015-16 Western Hockey League season.

But 71 saves still wasn’t enough, as the Seattle Thunderbirds completed a sweep of the defending champs in the Western Conference final with a 5-4 victory in double overtime Wednesday night in Kent, Wash.

Rookie Matthew Wedman beat Herringer at 7:52 of the second extra period to send the ‘Birds on to their first WHL final since 1999.

Seattle will now face either Brandon or Red Deer for the Ed Chynoweth Cup.

Three times on Wednesday, the Rockets led by two goals—2-0, 3-1 and 4-2—but couldn’t hold the lead on any occasion.

With their net empty, the T’Birds scored twice in the final two minutes of the third period, including Keegan Kolesar’s game tying goal with just 2.7 seconds to go in regulation time.

Justin Kirkland scored twice for Kelowna, while Tyson Baillie and Rodney Southam also scored for the Rockets who were playing their 18th game in 33 days and were battling fatigue throughout the series.

After surviving a pair of intense seven-game battles with Kamloops and Victoria, assistant coach Travis Crickard said the Rockets didn’t have much left to give against the Thunderbirds, who outshot Kelowna 76-32.

“Nothing left,” Crickard told AM 1150’s Regan Bartel. “It seemed like Seattle was playing 5-on-0 in overtime.

“I think our play throughout the course of this game was a product of two game sevens for the first two rounds.”

As for Herringer, Crickard said the 20-year-old stopper from Comox did everything that was asked of him—and more.

“I told him in the room I was so proud of him, the amount of fight that guy has in him, to try and carry this team and give us an opportunity to win hockey games is outstanding,” Crickard said of Herringer, who took over for an injured Jackson Whistle early in 2016 .

“I feel like everyone was doubting him throughout the playoffs and regular season. Goaltending was not our problem. He was outstanding.”

It was the Rockets third straight appearance in the WHL’s Western Conference final.







Just Posted

Accident at busy Kelowna intersection

There are reports of a two vehicle accident on Highway 97 leading through Kelowna

Inquiry underway in Kelowna murder case

A preliminary inquiry is taking place for the man accused in the 2014 death of Christopher Ausman

Dine Around Thompson Okanagan set to kick off

Popular event kicks off in Kelowna with a sold out launch party

Kelowna’s Capri-Landmark plan could carry big price-tag

City council told the ‘preferred’ concept plan could cost as much as $100 million over next 22 years

Okanagan nurse assists Rohingya refugees

Crystal Grymaloski volunteers with Samaritan’s Purse disaster response mission in Bangladesh

Kelowna artist creates fundraiser for a friend

Artist Laurie Koss was inspired by her friend’s cancer battle to help her keep fighting

Vying for pro deal, Twarynski steps up game

Flyers 2016 draft pick has scored 17 goals in the Kelowna Rockets’ last 21 games

Penticton bookkeeper nets 90 days for $60k embezzlement

Judith Kendrick pleaded guilty to fraud late last year, and was up for sentencing Tuesday morning

Kamloops Mounties investigate reported home invasion in Dallas home

Kamloops Mounties were called to the home just after midnight after reports of people yelling and kicking in a door

Poetry collection preserves Indigenous knowledge

B.C. author collaborates with Shuswap students, First Nations elders

Sunwing vacation passengers left at Abbotsford airport

YXX staffers receive praise for help to passengers; airline criticized

Salmon Arm council approves rainbow crosswalk

Location near Blackburn Park chosen

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

Most Read