The Okanagan Rockets use a late goal from Lucas Cullen to advance to the BCMML semi finals with a sweep of the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds and a 3-2 win on Saturday night.
The Thunderbirds, with their season on the line, would come out with a strong push and get the games first goal. A crazy end wall kareem would find the stick of Jake Mulder in front, who beat Rockets net minder Cole Demers to the glove side for a 1-0 lead just 1:48 into the game.
The Rockets would find their legs and tie the game late in the frame, with 2:01 left in the period to be exact, on a scramble on the blocker side of Thunderbird goaltender Jordan Naylor. Danny Gatenby would throw the puck into a crowd and Chase Stevenson got the last whack on it for his 2nd goal of the playoffs and a 1-1 tie after one period. The Rockets would end up outshooting the T-Birds by a 20-7 count after the opening 20 minutes.
The Thunderbirds would get the only goal of the 2nd frame and it came early as just 14 seconds into the 2nd period, Zac McKee’s point shot banked off of something in front to push the T-Birds back ahead by a 2-1 score. The Rockets, again, would pressure the T-Birds but Fraser Valley net minder Jordan Naylor stood tall, making 16 saves in the 2nd frame.
The Rockets would come out with gusto in the 3rd period and get the tying goal at the 10:09 mark of the frame. Another scramble in front resulted in a loose puck being whacked in by Zach Erhardt from the slot for his 3rd of the playoffs and a 2-2 tie.
Then came the late heroics.
After some sustained pressure in the T-Bird zone, Ben Dietrich-Scammell pushed the puck over to Lucas Cullen, who made non mistake and buried a shot over the glove side of Naylor to for his 2nd of the playoffs and the Rockets first lead of the game at 3-2 with just 1:43 left in the 3rd period.
Though it was their only lead of the game, it was the one that mattered as the Rockets held on to a 3-2 win and finish off the first round sweep of the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds.
Cole Demers started for the Rockets and finished with 20 saves on 22 shots while Jordan Naylor opposed him in goal for the T-Birds, making 46 saves on 49 shots.
The Rockets will be heading to the BCMML semi finals and will not know their opponent until either Sunday or Monday night. Make sure to check the Rockets Twitter (@OkanaganRockets) and Facebook page (OkanaganRockets) for more info.