Hitmen stay alive in WHL final

Calgary 6 Kelowna 2 KELOWNA, B.C. — Brett Sonne had two goals and two assists, Martin Jones made 35 saves, as the Calgary Hitmen defeated Kelowna 6-2 in Game 4 of the Western Hockey League championship Wednesday, preventing the Rockets from earning a four-game series sweep.

Calgary 6 Kelowna 2

KELOWNA, B.C. — Brett Sonne had two goals and two assists, Martin Jones made 35 saves, as the Calgary Hitmen defeated Kelowna 6-2 in Game 4 of the Western Hockey League championship Wednesday, preventing the Rockets from earning a four-game series sweep.

The best-of-seven series, which Kelowna leads 3-1, resumes Thursday with Game 5 in Calgary.

Alex Plante, Bostjan Golicic, Brandon Kozun and Carson McMillan also scored for Calgary, which trailed 2-1 at one point but closed out the game with five unanswered goals.

Mikael Backlund, with two, replied for the Rockets, who will play host to Game 6 on Saturday if needed. Mark Guggenberger made 28 saves for Kelowna.

Calgary opened the scoring early in the first period. With Rockets captain Colin Long in the penalty box for hooking, Plante took a hard shot from the left blue-line boards, and the puck beat Guggenberger high glove side.

Seven minutes later, the Rockets thought they countered when Jones misplayed a Mitchell Callahan shot and the puck squeezed through his pads.

However, the goal was called off as Sonne and Kelowna’s Ryley Grantham were in a wrestling match at the time. The play was not reviewable because the whistle went before the puck crossed Calgary’s goal-line.

In the second, the Rockets struck back with two quick goals from Backlund. His first of the night came 35 seconds after the opening faceoff, as he stripped Calgary centre Kyle Bortis of the puck just inside of the Hitmen blue-line, then ripped a shot that beat Jones glove-side.

Backlund’s second came five minutes later after he started the play by feeding a long pass to Ian Duval up the right side. From there, Duval raced into Calgary’s end, hit the brakes, then put a shot on goal and Backlund sped in for the rebound.

Kelowna’s 2-1 lead wound up having a short life span as Calgary scored three times in the second half of the second period. Golicic, at the right post, levelled the score, redirecting a behind-the-net pass.

Sonne put Calgary in the lead at 3-2, stuffing in a power-play rebound following a slapshot from the left side.

Kozun then put the visitors up 4-2 at with a controversial goal after scoring from the low slot. Kozun’s goal, his seventh of the playoffs, came just seconds after all four officials missed a too many men call on Calgary when the puck bounced out to the Hitmen bench and touched a player during a change.

When the period ended, the standing-room only crowd of 6,526 — the second-largest crowd in Prospera Place history — yelled their displeasure at the four officials.

In the third, Sonne made it 5-2 Hitmen when he buried a rebound following a Keith Seabrook shot from the blue-line. McMillan closed out the scoring with Calgary’s third power-play goal of the night.

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