Rockets take 3-0 lead in WHL final

Kelowna 2 Calgary 0 KELOWNA, B.C. — The Kelowna Rockets are one victory away from claiming the Western Hockey League championship and finishing an amazing four-game sweep of the Calgary Hitmen.

Kelowna 2 Calgary 0

KELOWNA, B.C. — The Kelowna Rockets are one victory away from claiming the Western Hockey League championship and finishing an amazing four-game sweep of the Calgary Hitmen.

Mark Guggenberger made 21 saves for Kelowna, and Cody Almond sealed the win by scoring into an empty net, as the Rockets defeated the visiting Hitmen 2-0 Monday in Game 3 of the league championship series.

The Rockets now lead the best-of-seven series 3-0, with Game 4 set for Wednesday night in Kelowna.

Ryley Grantham also scored for the Rockets, which held a 1-0 lead late in the first period, then survived intense Hitmen pressure for most of the third.

Almond closed out the scoring with 5.7 seconds left with a slow-rolling backhand from centre ice into an empty net.

Martin Jones made 22 saves for Calgary, which entered the playoffs with the league’s best regular-season record and won 16 straight playoff games en route to the WHL final.

Guggenberger recorded his third post-season shutout in his first playoffs as a starting goaltender.

The Rockets were without leading scorer and left winger Jamie Benn, who suffered an undisclosed injury in Kelowna’s 5-2 victory in Game 2 on Saturday.

After shooting at Calgary’s net along the goal-line midway through the first period, Benn was levelled by Hitmen defenceman Keith Seabrook and was knocked out of the game.

It’s believed he suffered a concussion or a neck injury after falling hard into the endboards, then onto the ice without his helmet.

In the game’s opening minute, Seabrook touched the puck four times, and each time he was heartily jeered by the standing-room only crowd of 6,329.

And when Rockets forward Evan Bloodoff hit him into Calgary’s end boards at 55 seconds, a loud cheer ensued.

Seabrook, however, ignored the jeers and had a good game for the Hitmen, though the Rockets seemed to target the six-foot rearguard from Delta, B.C. And with three minutes left, Almond laid a hard hit on Seabrook near Kelowna’s blue-line, hard enough to knock off Seabrook’s helmet. Seabrook seemed dazed, but skated off to Calgary’s bench.

Kelowna opened the scoring late in the first period when Grantham converted a rebound off a Mitchell Callahan shot at 15:15.

Grantham began the play by leading a three-on-two rush down the right side, where the tried firing a snap shot on net, but had it blocked by a sliding Paul Postma.

The puck popped out to Calgary’s blue-line, where Callahan quickly put a shot on net.

Jones made the save but couldn’t corral the rebound, and Grantham rushed in to slide his fourth of the playoffs under Calgary’s netminder.

Almond closed out the scoring in the final minute following a scrum along Calgary’s endboards that popped out to the neutral zone.

From just beyond the centre line, Almond lofted home a soft shot that brought the crowd to its feet as it slowly rolled into Calgary’s goal.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Economy and health care expected to be hot election topics

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Cruel and sadistic: Central Alberta dog rescuers believe there are dog fighting rings in province

With the increased number of stolen dogs, some central Alberta rescuers are… Continue reading

Red Deer hospital expansion recognized in throne speech

Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta calls for more details

Mixed Nuts revue presented Saturday to kick off first Carole Forhan Theatrical Scholarship

Broadway songs, comedy skits are part of the Red Deer Players production

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Andreescu rockets to No. 24 in WTA Tour rankings after Indian Wells title

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has rocketed to No. 24 in the WTA Tour… Continue reading

Canadian figure skaters looking to reach new heights at world championships

Nam Nguyen, Alaine Chartrand and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro all have… Continue reading

Man linked to largest art heist in history freed from prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed Connecticut mobster who federal authorities believe is… Continue reading

Most Read