WHL Playoffs: Thunderbirds beat Rockets 5-4 to take Game 1


If Mathew Barzal is back with the Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL coaches expect him to dominate. (Marissa Baecker/Getty)

KENT, Wash. – Ethan Bear scored the winner at 19:48 of the third period as the Seattle Thunderbirds beat the Kelowna Rockets 5-4 on Friday in Western Hockey League playoff action.

Seattle leads the Western Conference final 1-0 and host Game 2 on Saturday.

Sami Moilanen scored once and set up two more for the Thunderbirds, who also got goals form Ryan Gropp, Alexander True and Turner Ottenbreit.

Carl Stankowski made 29 saves as Seattle improved to 9-0 in the post-season.

Reid Gardiner had a goal and two helpers while Kole Lind, Tomas Soustal and Calvin Thurkauf added the others for the Rockets.

Michael Herringer stopped 20-of-25 shots in defeat.


REGINA — Jordy Bellerive scored the go-ahead goal on a power play early in the third period as Lethbridge beat the Pats in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.

Giorgio Estephan scored the other two goals, including the last into an empty net with 1:22 to play. Igor Merezhko had two assists.

Austin Wagner scored for Regina.


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