Underdogs but clearly not pushovers.
The Seattle Thunderbirds, who finished 50 points behind Kelowna during the WHL regular season, upset the heavily-favoured Rockets 5-4 in overtime Friday at Prospera Place in the opening game of the Western Conference quarterfinal playoff series.
Luke Lockhart’s second goal of the night at 19:10 of the extra period from a scramble in front of the Rockets’ net proved to be the winner.
Lockhart also scored at 13:30 of the third period to tie the game 4-4 and force overtime.
Damon Severson, Dylen McKinlay, Tyson Baillie and Myles Bell scored for the Rockets who were outshot 50-39 and, according to head coach Ryan Huska, were also outplayed and outworked.
“As the game went on I just think they wanted it a little bit more than we did,” Huska said. “I thought a lot of the puck battles they came out with, I didn’t see us with the forecheck we wanted to establish. I thought they played well and we didn’t match their effort.”
Game 2 goes Saturday night at Prospera Place. Games 3 and 4 will be played Tuesday and Wednesday in Seattle, with a fifth game, if needed, back in Kelowna on Saturday, March 30.