Alexander True celebrates after scoring one of his two goals in the Thunderbirds’ 5-3 Game 5 win over the Rockets on Friday night. COURTESY PHOTO, Brian Liesse/T-Birds

Thunderbirds power past Rockets to take 3-2 series lead | WHL playoffs

Stankowski has 37 saves; True with 2 goals in 5-3 win over Kelowna

  • Saturday, April 29, 2017 9:52am
  • Sports

Alexander True scored two goals to help lead the Seattle Thunderbirds to a 5-3 win over the Kelowna Rockets in Game 5 of the Western Conference championship series Friday night at the ShoWare Center

The T-Birds lead the best-of-seven series 3-2. Game 6 is 5:05 p.m. Sunday in Kelowna.

Seattle goalie Carl Stankowski made 37 saves in the game and improved his playoff record to 11-2.

Seattle took a 1-0 lead on an unassisted shorthanded goal by Scott Eansor at 3:15 of the first period. Eansor intercepted a pass at the Rockets blue line to create a breakaway. Eansor skated toward Kelowna goalie Michael Herringer, faked left, brought the puck back right and beat the goalie through the legs with a backhand shot.

The T-Birds took a 2-0 lead on a four-on-four breakaway goal by Sami Moilanen. A Rockets pass to the Seattle blue line was fumbled by the defenseman. Moilanen got the loose puck just outside the Seattle zone for a breakaway. Moilanen came down on Herringer, faked left forcing Herringer down and then brought the puck back right and put it into an open net.

The Rockets cut the T-Birds lead to one goal at 12:07 of the first on a four-on-three power-play goal by Calvin Thurkauf.

Kelowna outshot Seattle 17-8 in the first period.

Kelowna tied the game 2-2 at 9:23 of the second period on a power-play goal Nick Merkley. Lucas Johansen and Tomas Soustal had the assists.

The T-Birds took the lead back at 17:35 of the second on a five-on-three power-play goal by Alexander True. Moilanen passed the puck to Mathew Barzal on the left boards. Barzal skated around the top of offensive zone with True parked in front of Herringer. Barzal whipped the puck at the net and True tipped the puck over Herringer for his sixth goal of the playoffs.

The T-Birds stayed on the power play and took a 4-2 lead at 18:54 of the second. Turner Ottenbreit had the puck at the right point. He sent it to Barzal on the right boards. Barzal crossed the puck to Ryan Gropp in the left circle. Gropp beat Herringer over the blocker for the T-Birds fourth goal.

Kelowna outshot Seattle 9-8 in the second period and led 26-16 in shots after two periods.

True gave the T-Birds a 5-2 lead at 6:57 of the third period with his second power-play goal of the game. Barzal held the puck along the left boards for several seconds before passing it to True in the slot. True beat Herringer low on the stick side with a quick snap shot. Ottenbreit had the second assist.

The T-Birds were called for tripping with less than two minutes in the game followed by a delay of game call. The Rockets pulled Herringer for a six-on-three power play. Dillon Dube scored with 35 seconds in the game to get the Rockets third goal.

Kelowna outshot Seattle 14-8 in the third period and 40-24 in the game.

Herringer had 37 saves and his playoff record is now 10-6.


Western Conference championship

Game 1 – At Seattle 5, Kelowna 4

Game 2 – Kelowna 4, at Seattle 3, OT

Game 3 – Seattle 2, at Kelowna 1

Game 4 – At Kelowna 4, Seattle 2

Game 5 – At Seattle 5, Kelowna 3

Game 6 – Seattle at Kelowna, Sunday, April 30, 5:05 p.m.

Game 7 – Kelowna at Seattle, Tuesday, May 2, 7:05 p.m.*

* if necessary


First period – 1, Seattle, Eansor 4, 3:15 (sh). 2, Seattle, Moilanen 4, 10:47. 3, Kelowna, Thurkauf 8 (E. Gardiner, C. Foote), 12:07 (pp). Penalties – Barzal, Sea (holding), 2:17. Twarynski, Kel (hooking), 4:32. Ottenbreit, Sea (interference), 7:17. Barzal, Sea (roughing), 10:49. Merkley, Kel (roughing), 10:49. Strand, Sea (slashing), 11:16. Hyman, Sea (cross checking), 12:36.

Second period – 4, Kelowna, Merkley 6 (Johansen, Soustal), 9:23 (pp). 5, Seattle, True 6 (Barzal, Moilanen), 17:35 (pp). 6, Seattle, Gropp 4 (Barzal, Ottenbreit),18:54 (pp). Penalties – Kolesar, Sea (roughing), 8:28. C. Foote, Kel (roughing), 10:30. Volcan, Sea (hooking), 12:46. Stephens, Kel (roughing), 15:24. Topping, Kel (roughing), 15:24. Barzal, Sea (roughing), 15:24. Kolesar, Kel (double minor-roughing), 15:24. Soustal, Kel (elbowing), 15:35. Johansen, Kel (hooking), 17:25. C. Foote, Kel (hooking), 19:15.

Third period – 7, Seattle, True 7 (Barzal, Ottenbreit), 6:57 (pp). 8, Kelowna, Dube 7 (C. Foote, Lind), 19:24 (pp). Penalties – Stephens, Kel (hooking), 5:30. Thurkauf, Kel (cross checking), 11:11. Thurkauf, Kel (cross checking), 15:04. Barzal, Sea (slashing), 15:48. Kolesar, Sea (tripping), 18:34. Volcan, Sea (delay of game), 18:51.

Shots on goal – Seattle 8-8-8 24, Kelowna 17-9-14 40. Goalies – Seattle, Stankowski 40 shots-37 saves (11-2); Kelowna, Herringer 24-19 (10-6). Power plays – Seattle 3-8; Kelowna 3-10. A – 5,001. Referees – Reid Anderson, Chris Crich. Linesmen – Ron Dietterle, Nathan Van Oosten.

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