Kelowna beat Portland in five games in the second round of the WHL playoffs. - Image: Kelowna Rockets

Rockets advance over ‘Hawks

Kelowna books its ticket to the WHL’s third round, beating Portland in five games to take series

Reid Gardiner had the hot hand on Friday night at Prospera Place.

The Kelowna Rockets forward scored four times and added two assists in a 6-2 win by the Rockets as Kelowna dispatched the ‘Hawks in five games, ending the series at home Friday.

The victory pushes the Rockets into the third round of the WHL playoffs, advancing to the Western Conference Championship series against Seattle.

Seattle swept Everett in four straight games to earn their spot in the Western final.

On Friday night in Kelowna, a large crowd of over 5,800 saw the Rockets jump out to a 3-0 lead on Portland, only to see the ‘Hawks climb back into the game, making it 3-2 in the second.

But two goals from Gardiner and an empty netter from Dillon Dube in the third period salted away the series victory.

Michael Herringer earned the win in net.

The Thunderbirds will hold home ice advantage in the Western final which opens next Friday, April 21 in Seattle with game one, followed by game two on Saturday.

Kelowna will host games three and four on Tuesday and Wednesday April 25 and 26 at Prospera Place.