Seattle takes opening game of Western Conference quarter-final, 3-2 over visiting Rockets

Rockets drop heartbreaker

The Kelowna Rockets got the start they were looking for in game one of their first round quarter-final series with the heavily favoured Seattle Thunderbirds.

The finish - not so much.

The T-Birds, one of the favourites to represent the Western Hockey League at the Memorial Cup, spotted the Rockets a 2-0 lead then roared back over the final 21 minutes to steal a 3-2 victory and game one of the best-of-seven series.

The backbreaker, a goal with 28 seconds left in the second period from Dylan Guenther that got the T-Birds on the board.

Guenther also got the equalizer 3:32 into the third before Reid Schaefer took a pass from Guenther down low and swept the puck past Jari Kykkanen on a Seattle power play.

Tomas Milic who has already had big game experience this season backstopping Canada to a gold medal at the world juniors, preserved the one goal win with an all-world stop, denying Adam Kydd's one-timer from down low at the back post on a Kelowna power play midway through the third.

It was Kelowna's best chance to equalize.

The Rockets got on the board first on a very innocent play. Grady Lenton intercepted an attempted clear around the boards and slid the puck to Jackson DeSouza at the right point.

What looked to be a harmless wrist shot alluded Milic just past the midway point of the first.

They doubled the lead eight minutes into the second on the power play.

Caden Price fired a wrist shot from the mid slot as Kydd was cutting in front of Milic.

It stood up until Guenther, one of five first round NHL draft picks got the home side on the board late in the period.

The series continues in Seattle Saturday before shifting to Prospera Place for games three and four next Tuesday and Wednesday.

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