Rockets edge Hawks in conference final thriller

The Rockets came back from a 3-0 deficit to edge the Winterhawks 5-4 in game one of the WHL Western Conference final Friday, April 19, 2014.
Image Credit: Marissa Baecker


KELOWNA - The Kelowna Rockets defeated the Portland Winterhawks 5-4 in a thrilling opening game of the WHL Western Conference final, coming back from a 3-0 deficit to earn the win in front of a sold-out crowd at Prospera Place in Kelowna.

Tyson Baillie scored a goal and added two assists for the Rockets, who got better as the game went on including a third period that saw Kelowna outshoot the Winterhawks 14-4 and score twice to complete the comeback victory.

"Our team has had belief all year," Rockets head coach Ryan Huska said."I thought it was important that we continued to have patience. Our older players did a good job of staying positive tonight and guys found a way to chip away and score some timely goals."

After falling behind 3-0 midway through the first period, Baillie opened the scoring on a quick wrist shot, before captain Madison Bowey made it 3-2 with a short-handed marker, with under a minute to play in the first period.

The team's exchanged goals in the second period as Portland jumped ahead 4-2 before Rourke Chartier cut the lead to 4-3.

In the third the Rockets took over, taking the game to Portland and scoring twice to earn the win. Justin Kirkland tied the game with a tip-in of a Bowey shot, setting the stage for Jesse Lees to score the game-winning-goal, banging home a rebound six minutes into the third.

Attendance at Prospera Place was 6,218.

The series continues on Saturday night with game two at Prospera Place in Kelowna.

Tickets are available through, at the box office or by phone at  250-762-5050.

Meanwhile, Cody Corbett had a pair of goals and Curtis Lazar added a goal and an assist as the Oil Kings pumped Medicine Hat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.

Griffin Reinhart, Luke Bertolucci, Brandon Baddock, Dysin Mayo and Brett Pollock also scored for Edmonton, which used a five-goal second period to pull away.

Curtis Valk extended his point streak to nine games for the Tigers by scoring twice and Alex Mowbray had the other.

Tristan Jarry made 28 saves for the Oil Kings. Marek Langhamer allowed five goals on 22 shots for Medicine Hat while Nick Schneider let in three goals on eight shots in 6:22 of relief.

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