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HomeNewsWe've got the Funk: Cougars second period barrage sends Kelowna packing

We’ve got the Funk: Cougars second period barrage sends Kelowna packing

Just when it looked like the Prince George Cougars were on the ropes, Mark Lamb settled down the troops and flicked the switch.

A five-goal explosion in the second period paced the Cougars to a 6-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in front of another standing room only crowd of 6,014 fans at CN Centre Friday night.

“It was a tough series all around, it wasn’t easy they challenged us in Game 3 and we got the win there and we didn’t get the win in Game 4. It was a big test coming home and I think we responded very well. They got a couple of quick ones on us in the second.”

“It was a smart choice by our coach in the second to call the time out to regroup, say some words and turned it on right after,” said Heidt to post game.

PG clinches the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals 4-1.

After giving up two goals in 15 seconds to Rockets forward Tij Iginla and Andrew Cristall, Jett Lajoie turned the tide for the Cats, re-directing a Chase Pauls point shot by Jari Kykkanen.

“That is exactly what you out ask out of that line. For them to go out there and do that is massive and that was the game right there to see them go out and get a hard working goal is huge to see and it got Funker going the next shift,” added Heidt.

The offensive floodgates continued to open as Zac Funk’s perfectly-timed re-direct off a strong blast from Viliam Kmec changed direction and fooled Kykkanen.

“That is my job here and that is what I want to do. Guys are helping me out there as it is pretty easy to play with Bechs and Vally – we have a lot of line chemistry so they make it pretty easy on me,” said Funk postgame.

Three minutes later, Riley Heidt accepted a soft chip pass from Aiden Foster and did an around-the-world spin-o-rama that once again leaked through the Kelowna netminder.

“Yeah, we were laughing about that. It was funny but it all started with our forecheck and that is how we got that goal,” said Heidt.

The Minnesota Wild top prospect banged home another off a rebound at the side of the Rockets net past a sprawled out Kykkanen, who made the initial point blank save on Carlin Dezainde.

Funk completed the middle period barrage by whacking away at a loose puck following a cross-ice feed giving the Cougars a 6-2 edge after 40 minutes.

The 20-year-old from Coldstream BC added a single towards the end of the first period to round out his hat-trick after he had a goal called back due to a high-stick.

Gabriel Szturc scored in the third capitalizing on a sharp angle shot that beat Josh Ravensbergen.

Once the final buzzer sounded, PG outshot the Rockets 39-31. The Cougars went 2-for-3 on the powerplay while Kelowna failed to score on both opportunities.

Ravensbergen improved his playoff record to 7-0 after making 28 saves. Kykkanen stopped 33 opposition shots in defeat.

PG advances to its first Western Conference Final since 2007 and will play the Portland Winterhawks who swept their semi-final series Friday night after a 5-0 victory over the Everett Silvertips.

Games One and Two are set for next Friday and Saturday from CN Centre.

In the East, the Conference Final has also been decided as the Saskatoon Blades will lock horns against the Moose Jaw Warriors.

Moose Jaw dispatched the Swift Current Broncos in five games while the Blades completed a four-game sweep against the Red Deer Rebels.

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