Kelowna, B.C. – The Kelowna Rockets (54-10-0-4, 112pts.) went a perfect four-for-four on the power play, jumping ahead of the Tri-City Americans (29-32-3-5, 64 pts.) early and never looking back, handing Tri-City a 7-0 loss at Prospera Place on Saturday night.
The Spokane Chiefs (38-24-3-3, 82 pts.) helped the Americans cause for the second consecutive night, defeating the Prince George Cougars (26-26-3-5, 60 pts.) 8-0 on Saturday. Tri-City’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth is now just one point with four games remaining in the regular season.
Jordan Cooke recorded his fourth shutout of the season, turning aside all 20 Americans’ shots. Evan Sarthou got the start for Tri-City, making 39 saves on the night.
Nick Merkely got the Rockets on the board at 9:23 of the first period, taking the centering feed from Ryan Olsen and chipping it over Sarthou’s shoulder, giving his team a 1-0 lead.
Tri-City held tough with the CHL’s top ranked team in the first period, trailing by just one goal. But, with 1:24 left in the opening frame, Olsen would give Kelowna a 2-0 lead, carrying the puck from the blue line and snapping a wrist shot off the far post and in.
The Rockets took control in the second period, tallying on all three of its power play opportunities. Rourke Chartier, Madison Bowey and Marek Tvrdon all tallied power play goals, helping their team jump out to a big lead in the middle frame.
Kris Schmidli added the lone even strength goal for the Rockets during the second period, as Kelowna led 6-0 after 40 minutes of play.
The Americans pressed in the third period, looking to break Cooke’s shutout out bid in the final 20 minutes, but it was not to be.
Damon Severson added one last goal for the Rockets at 10:34 of the third period, skating alone on Sarthou and sliding the puck just past the rookie’s out stretched skate.
The Americans will continue its final road trip of the season, with a meeting against the U.S. Division rival Portland Winterhawks (50-13-2-3, 102 pts.) on Tuesday night for a 7:00 p.m. faceoff at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Fans can catch the action live, via WHL Live, at the Americans’ official home away from home, Kimo’s in Richland.
Jack In Box Three Stars
1) Rorke Chartier, Kelowna
2) Nick Merkely, Kelowna
3) Jordan Cooke, Kelowna