By Annie Fowler | Tri-City Herald
When you poke the bear, it tends to bite back.
After dropping a game to Tri-City the previous night, the Kelowna Rockets roared back Wednesday with a 5-3 victory before a Toyota Center crowd of 2,189, putting the Americans on the brink of elimination.
Tyson Baillie had a goal and two assists as the top-ranked Rockets took a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference first-round series.
“For the first half, I liked the way we played,” said Kelowna coach Ryan Huska, whose team won its first playoff game at Toyota Center since April 3, 2010. “It was important for us to get this win.”
The series heads back to Kelowna on Friday for Game 5. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet in Canada with a 7:30 p.m. start time, though it will not be available on TV in Kennewick.
“We have been meeting challenges all year,” said Tri-City coach Jim Hiller. “We needed a point in Portland to make the playoffs, and we got it. We need to get a win up there to bring it back here Saturday night. There’s nothing better than Saturday night hockey in Tri-City.”
Americans goalie Eric Comrie, who finished with 52 saves on 55 shots in Tuesday’s 4-3 win, didn’t have the same sterling performance Wednesday. He finished with 27 saves as Kelowna outshot Tri-City 32-28.