Kelowna to meet Brandon in 2015 WHL Championship.
PORTLAND, OR – The Kelowna Rockets will play in the 2015 WHL Championship after the Club won its fourth WHL Western Conference Championship on Sunday night.
The Rockets defeated the Portland Winterhawks in the 2015 WHL Western Conference Championship Series in six games after an 8-4 victory Sunday. Portland was seeking its fifth consecutive WHL Western Conference title this year.
Kelowna will now face the Eastern Conference Champion Brandon Wheat Kings in the 2015 WHL Championship. The series will be a 2-3-2 format and begins Friday night in Brandon, MB.
The Winterhawks opened up a 3-0 lead in Game 6, but the Rockets responded with four straight to take a 4-3 edge in the early stages of the third period. Layne Viveiros evened the score for Portland shortly after Kelowna took the lead, but Justin Kirkland and Cole Linaker put the game out of reach before a pair of empty-netters sealed the win for the Rockets. In total, 12 Kelowna skaters recorded points including a three-point effort (2g-1a) from rookie Dillon Dube.
Tyson Baillie (2g-6a) and Nick Merkley (0g-8a) each had eight points on the series for Kelowna. Winnipeg Jets prospect Nic Petan finished his 2015 WHL Playoffs run with a league-leading 28 points (10g-18a) for Portland as well as a 17-game point streak that did not see him held off the score sheet in any game. Columbus Blue Jackets prospect and 2015 Western Conference Player of the Year Oliver Bjorkstrand finished the series with seven points (3g-4a) and amassed 25 (13g-12a) in his 17 total post-season games with the Winterhawks.
By playing in his 88th career WHL Playoff game on Sunday, Petan also set the all-time WHL record for post-season games played. Petan passed Shay Stevenson for the record, who played 87 WHL Playoff games with the Red Deer Rebels from 2000-04.
Kelowna last won the WHL Western Conference Championship in 2009. Prior to that, the Rockets advanced to the WHL Championship in 2005 when they met the Brandon Wheat Kings and went on to win that series in five games. In all three of Kelowna’s previous WHL Championship appearances the Rockets have gone on to be crowned WHL Champions.