To say this game had it all would be a massive understatement. The Okanagan Rockets held off a relentless Valley West Hawks squad with a heart stopping, drama filled 7-6 win that sends the Okanagan Rockets to the BCMML Championship final for the 2nd straight year.
The Rockets had a dream start as they chased the Hawks starting goalie Cole Forbes with 4 goals in the game’s first 16 minutes. As one might expect, the Hawks refused to go away and earned a pair of goal at 16:25 and 17:16 to end the 1st down 4-2.
The 2nd period saw the Hawks close to within one before the Rockets banged a pair of quick ones past Kyle Cheema to push their lead to 6-3. Once more the Hawks refused to have their season go quietly and mounted another feverish comeback and closing the gap to 6-5 after 40 minutes.
In the 3rd period the Hawks would complete the comeback and shock a crammed Capital News Centre with a power play goal with just 7:45 to go in the game. The goal came off the stick of Matt Bradley who finished the day with goals.
With 4:34 remaining, the Rockets thought they had a go ahead goal, however it was waived off. The officiating crew however ruled that a Valley West defenceman cover the puck in the crease and the Rockets were awarded a penalty shot. Jake Kryski calmly walked in made a move and then ripped it post and in behind Kyle Cheema to give the Rockets a 7-6 lead.
That dramatic goal proved to be the winner as the Rockets held on down the stretch to earn the game and series clinching victory.
"What a series" proclaimed head coach Mack O'Rourke. "We knew this was going to be a 3 game war and that is exactly what happened. Out hats go off to the Valley West Hawks, that is a very good hockey team."
Tyson Jost had his 2nd playoff hat trick in the game and now has 8 goals and 15 points in 5 playoff games. Also scoring for the Rockets on Sunday were Kryski (4 and 5), Liam Finlay (9th) and Tanner Campbell (4th).
The Rockets will now face the Vancouver NW Giants in the BCMML Championship Final for the 2nd consecutive year. Game 1 will go Friday night at the Burnaby Winter Club. The full championship schedule will be announced shortly.