April 11, 2013 - 12:38 PM
It took two overtime wins but the Kamloops Blazers were able to sweep the Kelowna Rockets in the best of seven series to earn a spot in the Western Conference finals against the Portland Winterhawks.
Games one and two in Kelowna saw the Blazers take an early series lead and the team opened the scoring in all but game two, where they came back with five unanswered goals to win 5-1. In games three and four the team capitalized early in both overtimes to win all four games.
For the first time since the 1998-99 season the Blazers have advanced to the conference finals, where they will face the Winterhawks, a team they were only able to beat once during the regular season.
The Blazers finished fourth during the regular season with a record 47-20-2-3 and beat the Victoria Royals 4-2 in the first round of playoffs.
The Winterhawks topped the league with 57 wins this season and took round one against the Everett Silvertips 4-2 before sweeping the Spokane Chiefs 4-0 in round two. Last year the Winterhawks ousted the Blazers in round two and before losing the championship to the Edmonton Oil Kings in seven games.
Currently the top-five scorers in the Western Hockey League playoffs are either Blazers or Winterhawks with JC Lipon of the Blazers leading all players with 21 points in 10 games. Kale Kessy for the Blazers and Ty Rattie of the Winterhawks are both tied for most goals with 11 in 10 games.
The conference final series will start in Portland with games next Friday and Saturday night on April 19 and 20. The Blazers will be home for games three and four on Tuesday, April 23 and Wednesday, April 24.
Tickets for the WHL Western Conference finals home games are on sale through the box office or online through Ticketmaster.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013