March 26, 2013, (ISN) – The Seattle Thunderbirds defeated the Kelowna Rockets 3-2 in overtime in Kent, WA on Tuesday night, taking a 3-0 lead in the team’s best-of-seven WHL Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Evan Wardley scored the overtime winner at 4:55 of extra time as Seattle took a stranglehold on the series with its third straight OT victory.
The Rockets jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Zach Franko and Cody Fowlie before Seattle made it 2-1 before the end of the first period as Kelowna outshot Seattle 16-9.
But Seattle gained momentum in the second, outshooting Kelowna 9-3 and tying the game 2-2- with just 25 seconds left in the second period.
“I thought we had a great start,” said Rockets assistant coach Dan Lambert on the AM1150 post game show. “We had the start we were looking for. The problem was when they started pushing back we didn’t have a response. We were caught on our heels.”
After a scoreless third period, Kelowna had a power play chance in overtime but couldn’t convert before Wardley scored the winner on a screened shot from the point.
“It was another point shot that we can’t seem to block,” said Lambert. “There was a lot of traffic in front and it found its way through.”
Now down 3-0 in the series, Kelowna will look to stave off elimination and send the series back to Kelowna in game four on Wednesday night in Seattle.
“We need to get back to the drawing board,” said Lambert. “Now there is no pressure. We just have to come out and play one period at a time and see where it takes us. If we want to have success we are going to have to pay a bigger price than we have in the first three hockey games.”
Game four at at ShoWare Centre in Kent, WA is a 7:05 p.m. start Wednesday