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WHL: Kessy's winner sends Blazers to Conference Final

The Canadian Press

4/11/2013 2:23:32 AM

Kale Kessy scored twice, including the winner, as the Kamloops Blazers edged the visiting Kelowna Rockets 4-3 in overtime on Wednesday in Western Hockey League playoff action.

The 20-year-old scored his league-leading 11th goal of the playoffs 2:44 into extra time while Kelowna's Madison Bowey was in the box serving a two-minute minor for flipping the puck over the glass.

The Blazers head to the Western Conference final after sweeping the Rockets 4-0 in the second-round matchup.

Marek Hrbas and Matt Needham also scored for Kamloops, which hasn't been to a conference final since the 1998-99 season, while Brendan Ranford had three assists.

JC Lipon set up two goals for the Blazers and leads the playoff scoring race with five goals and 21 points in 10 contests. Ranford's three points give him five goals and 19 points in 10 games, which is good for a tie for second in WHL post-season scoring with Ty Rattie of the Portland Winterhawks.

Tyson Baillie and Cole Linaker each had a goal and an assist for Kelowna, which trailed 3-1 heading into the third period, and JT Barnett scored once.

Cole Cheveldave made 22 saves for the win as Jordon Cooke stopped 41-of-45 shots in defeat.

The Blazers went 3 for 11 on the power play while the Rockets failed to score on their only chance with the man advantage.

Kelowna, which also found itself down 3-0 in its first-round matchup with the Seattle Thunderbirds before pulling off four wins in a row to meet Kamloops, lost for the fifth time in overtime this post-season, including a Game 3 defeat to the Blazers.

Kamloops will face Rattie and the Winterhawks in the West final. Combined, the Blazers and Winterhawks have the top five league scorers after three rounds of playoff hockey.

Elsewhere in the WHL, it was: Portland 5, Spokane 0 and Edmonton 4, Medicine Hat 2.

At Kamloops, B.C., Kessy opened the scoring on the power play at 15:04 of the first period to give the Blazers a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

Baillie tied the game for Kelowna at 12:38 of the second period, but Hrbas and Needham scored 2:27 apart to put Kamloops ahead two goals heading into the second intermission.

Barnett brought the game within a goal at 5:03 of the third period and Linaker forced extra time at 9:24.

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Winterhawks 5 Chiefs 0

At Spokane, Wash., Mac Carruth stopped 30 shots for his second shutout of the series and Taylor Peters had a goal and an assist as the Winterhawks blanked the Chiefs to take the second-round matchup 4-0.

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Oil Kings 4 Tigers 2

At Medicine Hat, Alta., Henrik Samuelsson scored twice and added an assist while Dylan Wruck had three assists as the Oil Kings doubled up the Tigers to sweep the second-round matchup and move onto the Eastern Conference final for the second year in a row. Edmonton will face either the Calgary Hitmen or Red Deer Rebels.