Tvrdon’s deuce dials in Rockets
Rockets and WHL website
The Kelowna Rockets defeated the Tri-City Americans 4-1 Friday night in Kelowna, winning the best-of-seven first round Western Hockey League playoff series in five games.
Marek Tvrdon scored twice while Rourke Chartier and Carter Rigby also scored as the Rockets held off the Americans before 4,875 fans at Prospera Place.
“It definitely was a tough series, we knew coming in they were going to push us and they did,” said Rockets’ captain Madison Bowey. “They had great goaltending on their side. I think it was an exciting series and we’re happy that we won.”
Rigby opened the scoring in the first period with his first WHL playoff goal before Tvrdon made it 2-0 in the second period.
“We can enjoy this victory now but we are going to have to put it behind us, re-adjust and re-focus,” said Bowey.
With the score 2-1 in the middle of the third, goals by Tvrdon and Chartier in 1:16 put the game away. Tvrdon’s highlight reel goal on a power play saw the big Slovakian undress a couple of players on the way to the net before putting a back-hand into the top corner. Chartier added the insurance marker and the Rockets were celebrating a first round victory.
“They are a real solid team,” said Rockets’ assistant coach Dan Lambert. “We knew coming in, with the goaltending they have, it was going to be a tight series. I thought our guys pushed through. You have to give Tri-City credit because they played us hard. But we pushed through and got the four wins.”
The Rockets move on to the second round but don’t yet know their opponent. Kelowna will play the winner of the Seattle-Everett series, which Seattle leads 3-1.
The Rockets will open the second round at home but the playoff dates will not be determined until the end of the Seattle Thunderbirds-Everett Silvertips series.
Everett blasted the visiting Thunderbirds 6-1 in Game 4 of their Western Conference opening-round series.
Jujhar Khaira scored three goals and added one assist as theSilvertips avoided being swept.
Brayden Low and Josh Winquist each scored and set up another for the Silvertips.
Taran Kozun made his fourth start of the series for Seattle and stopped 23 of 29 shots before being replaced by Danny Mumaugh, who stopped all five shots he faced. Kozun took the loss, his first of the playoffs.
Austin Lotz was in goal for Everett and stopped 17 of 18 shots, getting his first win.
John Quenneville scored and set up two more while Jayce Hawryluk and Jesse Gabrielle each netted a goal and an assist as the Brandon Wheat Kings downed the visiting Regina Pats 5-1 to sweep their Eastern Conference first-round series before 4,705 fans at Westman Place.