WHL Roundup: Rockets' playoff chances take hit with loss to Giants
LANGLEY, B.C. - The Kelowna Rockets will try one more time to clinch the final playoff spot in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference.
Dylan Plouffe scored the winner at 16:50 of the third period as the Vancouver Giants beat Kelowna 2-1 on Friday, forcing the Rockets to pick up at least a point in their final game of the season just to have a chance at the post-season.
Alex Kannok Leipert also scored for the Giants (48-15-4). Trent Miner made 17 saves for the victory.
Kyle Crosbie found the back of the net for the Rockets (27-32-8), who have lost four in a row to find themselves tied in the standings with the Kamloops Blazers going into the final game of the season.
Roman Basran turned away 29 shots for Kelowna.
Kelowna and Kamloops both have 62 points with one game each to play, however the Blazers currently hold the tiebreaker for third and final seed out of the B.C. Division.
COUGARS 5 BLAZERS 4 (OT)
KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Vladislav Mikhalchuk scored his second goal of the night at 3:46 of overtime and also had two assists as Prince George edged the Blazers.
Rhett Rhinehart, Josh Curtis and Mike MacLean also scored for the Cougars (19-40-8), who got 26 saves from Taylor Gauthier.
Kobe Mohr, Ryley Appelt, Kyrell Sopotyk and Connor Zary had goals to keep Kamloops' (27-32-8) season alive one more day. Dylan Garand made 24 saves in defeat.
HURRICANES 4 REBELS 3
RED DEER, Alta. — Jake Leschyshyn had a hat trick as Lethbridge edged the Rebels.
Dylan Cozens also scored as Carl Tetachuk turned away 27 shots for the Hurricanes (39-18-10).
Reese Johnson had all three goals for Red Deer (33-28-6), which clinched the final playoff spot in the East thanks to Brandon's loss against Regina. Ethan Anders made 29 saves in defeat.
PATS 5 WHEAT KINGS 4
REGINA — Sergei Alkhimov scored twice as the Pats ended Brandon's chance at making the playoffs.
Cole Dubinsky, Liam Schioler and Brett Clayton also scored as Dean McNabb turned aside 34 shots for Regina (19-45-3).
Luka Burzan struck twice while Cole Reinhardt and Braydyn Chizen had the others for the Wheat Kings (30-29-8). Jiri Patera made 39 saves in defeat.
ROYALS 3 SILVERTIPS 2 (SO)
VICTORIA — Ralph Jarratt and Igor Martynov scored in the shootout to lead the Royals over Everett.
Brandon Cutler scored twice in regulation and Griffen Outhouse turned aside 35 shots for Victoria (34-29-4).
Connor Dewar and Martin Fasko-Rudas replied for the Silvertips (46-16-5). Dustin Wolf made 28 saves in defeat.
CHIEFS 5 AMERICANS 3
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Jake McGrew had a hat trick as Spokane got by Tri-City.
Luke Toporowski and Filip Kral also scored and Reece Klassen had 25 saves for the Chiefs (39-21-7).
Parker AuCoin scored once and set up goals from Krystof Hrabik and Roman Kalinichenko for the Americans (34-27-6). Talyn Boyko stopped 39-of-43shots in defeat.
WARRIORS 6 BRONCOS 1
SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. — Justin Almeida had two goals and two assists and Adam Evanoff made 23 saves to lift Moose Jaw over the Broncos.
Carson Denomie, Keenan Taphorn, Daniil Stepanov and Josh Brook also scored for the Warriors (39-20-8).
Connor Horning had the lone Swift Current (11-50-6) goal. Riley Lamb turned aside 21 shots in defeat.
TIGERS 5 ICE 2
CRANBROOK, B.C. — Ryan Jevne had a goal and two helpers as Medicine Hat toppled Kootenay.
Ryan Chyzowski, Tyler Preziuso, Linus Nassen and Brett Kemp also scored for the Tigers (35-26-6). Mads Sogaard made 29 saves for the win.
Marco Creta and Holden Kodak found the back of the net for the Ice (12-45-10). Jesse Makaj stopped 51-of-55 shots in a losing cause.
BLADES 3 RAIDERS 2
SASKATOON — Max Gerlach scored the winner at 7:17 of the third as the Blades edged Prince Albert.
Brandon Schuldhaus and Ryan Hughes also scored while Nolan Maier turned away 28 shots for Saskatoon (45-14-8).
Parker Kelly and Noah Gregor had goals for the Raiders (53-10-4), who got 29 saves from Ian Scott.