Calgary Hitmen force Game 6 in WHL final
Joel Broda scored twice and had an assist as the Calgary Hitmen beat the Kelowna Rockets 6-1 Thursday to stave off elimination for the second straight night in the Western Hockey League final.
The Hitmen also won 6-2 on Wednesday night on the road and now trail the Rockets 3-2 in the battle for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, with Game 6 slated to take place at Kelowna's Prospera Place on Saturday.
If necessary, the teams will return to Calgary for a seventh and deciding game on Monday.
Alex Plante had a goal and an assist for the Hitmen, who reeled off 12 straight victories to start their playoff run before losing the first three games of the WHL final to the Rockets.
Kris Foucault, Brett Sonne and Rigby Burgart also scored, while Brandon Kozun, Jason MacDonald and Cody Sylvester chipped in with two assists each.
Calgary goalie Martin Jones made 18 saves to improve his post-season record to 14-3.
Cody Almond counted the lone goal of the game for the Rockets, while netminder Mark Guggenberger stopped 44 of 50 shots in his second loss in as many nights.
Just one night after an impressive offensive performance in Kelowna, the Hitmen continued their strong play in the first period. At one point in the opening frame, the Hitmen held a 9-1 advantage on the shot counter.
Their hard work paid off when Foucault scored his team-leading 11th goal of the playoffs. Kelowna's Ryley Grantham ran into Guggenberger in the crease and the puck squirted loose to Foucault, who banked it into the net off Grantham's leg.
The Hitmen took a 2-0 lead in the second period when Broda roofed a rebound past Guggenberger during a Calgary power play. After stopping a point blast by Keith Seabrook, Guggenberger also blocked Broda's initial shot before the Hitmen forward cashed in his ninth goal of the post-season.
The Rockets pulled to within a goal at 11:10 of the second when Almond took a nice feed from Ian Duval and backhanded a shot into the top corner behind Jones.
Just 89 seconds later, Sonne swatted a rebound from a bad angle past Guggenberger, who made the initial pad save on a shot by Kyle Bortis.
Broda then scored his second of the game when Plante's point shot careened off the boards and out front. With Guggenberger out of position, all Broda had to do was tap the puck into the empty net to put the Hitmen up 4-1.
Plante added a power-play goal for Calgary in the third period before Burgart fought hard to swat a rebound past Guggenberger for his first-ever WHL playoff goal with 2:30 to play in the contest.
The WHL winner will take on host Rimouski Oceanic to begin the Memorial Cup in Quebec on May 15.