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Rockets, Blazers Round 1

The Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers will meet in the opening round of the Western Hockey League playoffs for the second yer in a row.

The Rockets finished the regular season Saturday night with a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Giants in Langley. And, despite winning nine of their last 10 down the stretch, were unable to reel in the BC Division champion Prince George Cougars.

Saturday's win gives the Rockets 95 points, one back of the Cougars, who fell 2-1 in a shootout to Kamloops Saturday.

Kole Lind, who snapped a nine game scoreless drought Friday, led the Rockets with a goal and a helper Saturday. He was named the game's first star.

Nolan Foote, Leif Mattson, Devante Stephens and Reid Gardiner also scored for the Rockets.

Carsen Twarynski added a pair of assists.

Michael Herringer, who turned away 29 shots to earn the win, also picked up his first point of the season, an assist on Stephens' insurance goal.

The Giants scored first Saturday, and held a 2-1 lead until Foote on a power play and Mattson scored a little more than two minutes apart later in the first to put the Rockets up for good.

Goals from Stephens and Gardiner 11 seconds apart in the final minute of the second sealed the victory.

Neither team was able to score in the third.

The Rockets and Blazers will open up the best-of- seven first round series, likely Friday and Saturday at Prospera Place.

Last season's series between the two teams went to a seventh game before Tomas Soustal scored in overtime to give Kelowna the 4-3 series win.

For the Cougars, it is their first division title since the franchise relocated from Victoria in 1994. It is also the first time they have finished higher than third since the BC Division was created in the 2001-2002 season.



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