by Larry Fisher

The Kelowna Rockets are B.C. Division champions - and Tyrell Goulbourne is looking more and more like Jarome Iginla, at times.

Goulbourne scored another goal-scorer's goal, and it stood up as the winner as the Rockets edged the visiting Kamloops Blazers 2-1 in WHL action on Saturday night to clinch the division title and nail down the Western Conference's second playoff seed in front of 6,023 fans at Prospera Place. The victory also completed a weekend sweep over the rival Blazers, who had beat the Rockets four straight times since the Jan. 10 trade deadline prior to Kelowna's 3-2 come-from-behind triumph on Friday night in Kamloops to start this home-and-home set.

"It was a big four points," said Goulbourne, who was named Saturday's first star. "We had a good game against them (Friday) night, and we just wanted to come out with the same mentality. We knew we could beat this team, and we knew we were just as good, if not better than these guys. All we needed was a full 60 (minutes) from all 20 of our guys, and I think we did that this weekend."

The Blazers (45-20-2-3) will finish second in B.C. Division standings and settle for the West's third playoff seed despite winning the season series (6-4-0-0) against the Rockets (49-16-3-1), though two of those victories came in overtime.

This weekend's results override past outcomes, however, as the regular-season finales also served as a potential playoff preview. The Rockets and Blazers remain on a collision course for a second-round showdown, providing they both prevail in their first-round matchups, which get underway two weekends from now.

"This was a weekend that we wanted to kind of show them that, 'yeah, we can play with you a little bit,'" said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska, whose side led 1-0 and 2-0 at the period breaks on Saturday after rallying from a 2-0 deficit just six minutes into Friday's opener. "It puts us in the right mindset moving forward. There was a lot of questions around us, if we could beat the good teams, since our games against Portland (on Feb. 8-9). Every team goes through their ups and downs and we've got a group that does believe in themselves, but it was good for our room for sure."

As far as confidence goes, Goulbourne has been brimming with it lately - though he was blushing when informed Saturday's decisive goal drew a flattering comparison from one observer to Iginla, the Calgary Flames' captain and a former Blazer.

"Whenever you get compared to your favourite player and your idol, it's always a good feeling," Goulbourne said.

"Before and after practices, I've been working on my shot, and a little bit on my hands. But, again, it was just kind of a spur-of-the-moment type thing, I just saw an opening and went for it."

With Kelowna ahead 1-0, thanks to captain Colton Sissons, and Kamloops pressing for that all-important second goal, it instead went to the Rockets on Goulbourne's dandy dangle at 15:48 of the second.

On a sequence that started with MacKenzie Johnston making a diving defensive play to deny Kamloops sniper JC Lipon of a clear scoring chance, Goulbourne picked up the puck in transition, gained the offensive zone with speed, undressed Joel Edmundson and fired a perfect shot low glove, just inside the far post, on Cole Cheveldave to make it 2-0.

It was Goulbourne's 14th goal of the season, a total inflated by a four-goal outburst in a 7-1 home win over Lethbridge earlier this month that also featured a top-corner snipe.

"It was a nice move," Huska said. "We see that in practice sometimes . . . he's got the ability to do those sort of things. He finished it off and what a big goal it ended up being.

"Tyrell always has had some offensive upside. But the key thing for guys like him is to never forget what he is and what's kind of got him to where he is right now."

Brendan Ranford replied for Kamloops midway through the third period, but Jordon Cooke shut the door down the stretch, finishing with 31 saves and earning second-star honours. Cheveldave stopped 32 shots and was awarded third star for his efforts in a losing cause.