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WHL: Thunderbirds beat Rockets 3-2 to take 3-0 series lead

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The Canadian Press
3/27/2013 2:17:38 AM
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KENT, Wash. -- Three straight overtime victories and the Seattle Thunderbirds are on the brink of pulling off a major upset.

Evan Wardley scored 4:55 into overtime as the Thunderbirds won 3-2 on Tuesday to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven WHL series against the favoured Kelowna Rockets.

Seattle, the seventh seed, have a chance to sweep the series against No. 2 seed Kelowna on Wednesday at home.

The Rockets, who had 52 wins in the regular season, came into the series a heavy favourite against Seattle, which has only 24 victories in the regular season.

The Thunderbirds took Game 1 with a 5-4 overtime win and Game 2 2-1 in overtime.

On Tuesday it was Wardley's first goal of the playoffs after scoring only two in 60 games in the regular season.

Kelowna had nine of the first 10 shots in the game and took a 2-0 lead on goals by Zach Franko and Cody Fowlie.

Seattle narrowed the margin to 2-1 on the second goal of the playoffs for Roberts Lipsbergs at 15:25 of the opening period.

Jesse Forsberg tied it with 25 seconds remaining in the second period. It was the second goal of the playoffs for Forsberg, who scored only five goals in 66 regular season games.

Elsewhere in WHL playoff action, it was: Kootenay 2 Edmonton 1 (OT); Medicine Hat 5 Saskatoon 2; Calgary 1 Swift Current 0 (OT); Red Deer 3 Prince Albert 1; Tri-City 5 Spokane 4 (OT); and Victoria 2 Kamloops 1.

Royals 2 Blazers 1

At Victoria, Patrik Polivka stopped 39 shots as the Royals edged Kamloops to trim the Blazers lead in their WHL playoff series to 2-1.

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Rebels 3 Raiders 1

At Prince Albert, Sask., Turner Elson scored twice and Patrik Bartosak made 29 saves on 30 shots as the Red Deer Rebels defeated the Raiders to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven WHL first-round series.

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Hitmen 1 Broncos 0 (OT)

At Swift Current, Sask., Victor Rask scored 37 seconds into overtime and Chris Driedger stopped all 28 shots he faced to lift the Calgary Hitmen over the Broncos. The win gives Calgary a commanding 3-1 lead with the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-final.

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Tigers 5 Blades 2

At Medicine Hat, Alta., the Tigers built a 5-0 lead and held on to take a stranglehold 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, and can eliminate Saskatoon in Game 4 on Wednesday.

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Oil Kings 7 Ice 1

At Cranbrook, B.C., Michael St. Croix scored two goals for Edmonton in the opening period in the Oil Kings' win over the Kootenay Ice, to take a 2-1 lead in their WHL first round playoff.

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Americans 5 Chiefs 4

At Kennewick, Wash., Parker Bowles scored his second goal of the game in overtime as Tri-City cut Spokane's lead in their first-round series to 2-1.

Seattle Thunderbirds (Photo: TSN)

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(Photo: TSN)
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