Junior hockey: Kelowna, Kamloops to play tie-breaker
The playoffs were beckoning and Mark Liwiski answered the call.
Now, can the Kelowna Rockets answer the invitation again?
In what was a crazy ending to the regular season for Kelowna, Liwiski scored in overtime as the Rockets scored a must-win scenario over Vancouver.
Entering Saturday night action, Kelowna and Kamloops were tied for the league’s final playoff spot with 62 points each.
While Kelowna was playing in overtime, the Kamloops Blazers beat the Prince George Cougars 4-2 in what was also a must-win scenario for the Blazers.
That win pushed Kamloops to 64 points and then Kelowna won, giving the Rockets 64 points as well. Now the two teams will meet in a playoff tiebreaker on Tuesday in Kamloops.
That game will be hard-pressed to match the craziness that happened Saturday night.
Kamloops 4, Prince George 2
In Prince George, in the dying minutes of the third period, the host Cougars took a 2-1 lead at 14:39. Prince George bested Kamloops 5-4 in overtime on Friday and was searching for a second consecutive upset. The Blazers, though, rallied, scoring at 14:54, 17:15 and 19:11 to win 4-2.
Jermaine Loewen, with two goals, Kobe Mohr and Connor Zary scored for Kamloops (28-32-6-2). Vladislav Mikhalchuk and Cole Moberg replied for Prince George (19-41-5-3).
Dylan Garand stopped 29 of 31 shots for the Blazers, with Taylor Gauthier turning aside 21 of 24 shots for the Cougars.
Both teams were 0-for-3 on the power play. The attendance was 5,178.
Kelowna 3, Vancouver 2 (OT)
In Kelowna, the Rockets were up 2-1 after two periods — a lead that held until 19:27 of the third, when the Giants scored to force overtime.
By going to overtime, Kelowna was assured at least a point, which temporarily put them in the driver’s seat. And then the Blazers rallied to win while the Rockets were in overtime, which put the pressure on Kelowna to win.
Had the Rockets lost in overtime, or in the shootout, their season would have ended. Instead, Liwiski scored a power-play goal at 3:40 to end the game.
WATCH: Kelowna Rockets fall 2-1 to Vancouver Giants
Cayde Augustine and Alex Swetlikoff also scored for Kelowna (28-32-6-2). Justin Sourdif and Jadon Joseph, with the game-tying marker, scored for Vancouver (48-15-3-2).
David Tendeck stopped 32 of 35 shots for the Giants, with Roman Basran turning aside 19 of 21 shots for the Rockets.
Vancouver was 1-for-1 on the power play while Kelowna was 0-for-2. The attendance was 5,856.
For Tuesday’s playoff tie-breaker, Kamloops will host because the Blazers won the head-to-head season series with the Rockets. It’s believed this will be the seventh tie-breaking game in WHL history, and that the last three tie-breakers were won by road teams.
The winner of Tuesday’s game will play Victoria (34-30-2-2) in the first round of the playoffs.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.