The Kelowna Rockets are down to their last chance.
Evan Wardley scored in overtime as the Seattle Thunderbirds knocked off the Rockets 3-2 Tuesday night in Kent, Wash., to take a 3-0 lead over Kelowna in the WHL Western Conference quarterfinal series.
The T’Birds have won all three games of the series in overtime.
Kelowna jumped out to a quick 2-0 first period lead on goals by Zach Franko and Cody Fowlie.
The Thunderbirds answered with goals by Roberts Lipsbergs at 15:25 of the first period, and Jesse Forsberg, who evened the score with just 25 seconds remaining in the second frame.
After a scoreless third period, Wardley’s point shot at 4:55 of the extra period beat Rockets netminder Jordon Cooke for the game winner.
The Rockets, who set a franchise record with 52 regular season wins and finished 50 points ahead of Seattle, failed to match the Thunderbirds hunger or work ethic, according to assistant coach Dan Lambert.
“They’re hungrier than we are, they’re paying the price and we’re not,” Lambert told AM 1150’s Regan Bartel following the game. “We got the 2-0 lead, and when they started pushing back, we didn’t have a response.”
It was the Rockets’ eighth straight playoff loss dating back to the 2010-11 season.
Kelowna will try avert a swift exit from the playoffs as Game 4 of the series goes Wednesday night in Kent.
“We gotta believe,” said Lambert. “We need guys to step up.’
A fifth game, if needed, will be played Saturday, March 30 at Prospera Place.