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Rockets blank Blazers, lead series 2-1

Home team unable to score in old barn
March 30, 2016 12:54 A.M.

Fans were lined up for blocks before the doors opened to Memorial Arena for Tuesday night’s WHL playoff game between the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers.
Yes, you can bet there were a lot of relived memories on a night that was made for nostalgia.
The last WHL game played in the old barn was in the spring of 1992 and it finished with the Blazers beating the Saskatoon Blades, 8-0, in Game 7 of the league final.
Last night’s game ended in a shutout, too, but this time the Blazers were on the wrong side of the score as the Rockets posted a 1-0 victory to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series.
Game 3 was forced to Memorial Arena because the IIHF Women’s World Championship has taken over the Sandman Centre. However, there is a gap in the women’s schedule today, so Game 4 in the WHL series will be played in the big arena tonight. The series will return to Kelowna for Game 5 on Friday. A sixth game, if necessary, would be played at the Sandman Centre on Saturday.
Last night, Kelowna forward Justin Kirkland scored the game’s only goal, unassisted, at 1:45 of the second period. Kirkland’s goal, which went off a post and in, came just 20 seconds after the Rockets had killed off a tripping minor to forward Riley Stadel.
After Kirkland scored, Kelowna goaltender Michael Herringer did the rest, finishing with 40 saves. He had given up five goals, two in the last 30.5 seconds of the third period, as the Blazers won Game 2, 5-4, in Kelowna on Saturday.
Kamloops goaltender Connor Ingram did his part, too, with 36 stops.
The Blazers held a 12-9 edge in first-period shots and led 15-13 in the second. The Rockets reversed that in the third period as the Blazers took the period’s only three minor penalties.
Kamloops finished the game on the penalty kill after Jermaine Loewen went off for kneeing at 18:35.
In the end, the two teams played their 10th one-goal game in 11 meetings this season. Kelowna now holds a 7-3-1 edge, while the Blazers are 4-6-1.
JUST NOTES: The announced attendance was 3,400. . . . The Blazers were 0-for-4 on the PP; the Rockets were 0-for-5. . . . Kelowna’s PP unit now is 0-for-15 in the three games. . . . Neither team has made a lineup change in this series. . . . The Blazers scratched G Cole Kehler, D Luke Zazula, F Jackson Shepard, F Erik Miller, F Spencer Bast and D Conner McDonald. . . . The Rockets went without G Jackson Whistle (hip), F Nick Merkley (knee), F Tate Coughlin, F Conner Bruggen-Cate and D Braydyn Chizen.
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