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Thunderbirds surprise Rockets in overtime for second time to take 2-0 series lead @NHL

The Kelowna Rockets were supposed to cruise through the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs, but the Seattle Thunderbirds refuse to let that happen.

Seattle defeated Kelowna on Saturday 2-1 in overtime to take a 2-0 series lead, despite being the heavy underdog.

The Thunderbirds, who entered the playoffs as the seventh seed in the Western Conference, finished the regular season with 28 fewer wins and 50 less points than the second-seeded Rockets. Kelowna also had a league-best record on home ice of 31-5-0, while Seattle's .333 win percentage on the road was third last in the WHL.

Rookie Alexander Delnov scored his first-career playoff goal 2:41 into extra time to give Seattle their second victory of the series by way of sudden death.

The Thunderbirds were victorious in Game 1 on Friday after downing the Rockets 5-4 on a Luke Lockhart overtime goal.

Third-year defenceman Jared Hauf also recorded his first post-season goal for the Thunderbirds while Brandon Glover stopped 21 shots for the victory

Cole Linaker responded for the Rockets, who dropped back-to-back home games only once all season.

Jordon Cooke made 17 saves in defeat and has now allowed seven goals on 69 shots in the series.

Both clubs went 0 for 3 on the power play.

Game 3 is set for Tuesday when Seattle hosts Kelowna at the ShoWare Center.

Elsewhere in the WHL, it was: Red Deer 3, Prince Albert 2; Portland 4, Everett 1; Kamloops 6, Victoria 4 and Spokane 6, Tri-City 4.

At Kelowna, B.C., the two clubs combined for only six shots in what turned out to be a scoreless first period.

Action picked up in the second period and Linaker opened the scoring at 13:28 to give Kelowna a 1-0 lead.

Hauf responded for Seattle midway through the third period, which forced overtime.


Rebels 3 Raiders 2

At Red Deer, Alta., Patrik Bartosak made 36 saves and Mathew Dumba had a goal and an assist as the Rebels opened up a 2-0 series lead over Prince Albert.


Winterhawks 4 Silvertips 1

At Portland, Ore., Troy Rutkowski scored once and set up two more and Ty Rattie had a goal and an assist as the Winterhawks beat Everett to even the first-round matchup at one win apiece.


Blazers 6 Royals 4

At Kamloops, B.C., Joel Edmunson and Tim Bozon each scored twice as the Blazers defeated Victoria to take a two games to none lead in the opening-round series.


Chiefs 6 Americans 4

At Spokane, Wash., Blake Gal scored twice and Mike Aviani had a goal and an assist as the Chiefs beat Tri-City, which will host Game 3 down two games to none.

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