After dropping both games in a home-and-home series against the Kamloops Blazers two weekends ago, the Kelowna Rockets started this home-and-home with a vengeance on Friday night.
As the puck dropped at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops on Feb. 9, it was all Rockets as they scored four first period goals, leading them to a 6-3 win.
Just 3:44, it was the hot hand of Hiroki Gojsic, who scored his 15th goal of the season, and fifth goal in the last three games to make it 1-0. The powerplay marker was assisted by Ethan Mittelsteadt and Marek Rocak.
Kelowna scored in also every way on Friday night as less than three minutes later, Max Graham found the back of the net shorthanded to double the lead. Dylan Wightman collected the assist.
Max Graham said giddy-up and turned on the jets to put away the short-handed goal for his tenth of the year. pic.twitter.com/jpa4CUi9oQ— Kelowna Rockets (@Kelowna_Rockets) February 10, 2024
Just over halfway through the frame, captain Gabriel Szturc added his 26th goal of the year, making it 3-0. Rocak and Tij Iginla added the helpers on the goal.
Czechmate! 🇨🇿— Kelowna Rockets (@Kelowna_Rockets) February 10, 2024
Marek Rocak drives in, setting up Gabriel Szturc. pic.twitter.com/XoLV6myahX
Late in the period, Luke Schelter scored what would be the eventual game-winning goal, also assisted by Rocak and Iginla. It was his ninth of the campaign.
It certainly was Luke Schleter 💥 pic.twitter.com/a17bxWUEkd— Kelowna Rockets (@Kelowna_Rockets) February 10, 2024
It was much of the same in the second period as defenceman and Seattle Kraken prospect Caden Price scored a shorthanded goal, making it 5-0. His eighth goal of the season was also his 100th career point in the WHL.
Is there any better way to hit 100 career @TheWHL points? @SeattleKraken prospect Caden Price hits 100 @TheWHL points with a short-handed tally set up by Andrew Cristall.#ALLCAPS | #seakraken pic.twitter.com/H3ql4FulXp— Kelowna Rockets (@Kelowna_Rockets) February 10, 2024
In a game like this, it’s hard not to think Andrew Cristall would be held off the scoresheet. At the 12:27 mark of the second period, the Washington Capitals prospect scored his 29th goal of the season, helped by Rocak and Mittelsteadt.
Rocak was the first star of the game with his four-assist night.
The Blazers tried to get back in the game, scoring three goals, including two from Emmitt Fennie but it wasn’t enough as the Rockets got back to .500 on the season with the win: 24-24-3-0.
The lose for Kamloops wasn’t for a lack of trying as they peppered 48 shots at Rockets goaltender Jari Kykkanen, who made 45 saves in the win.
On Saturday night, the two teams will do it all again at Kelowna’s Prospera Place. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. as the Rockets host the Rockets Hockey Gives Blood/Canadian Blood Services game, to try and make a positive impact in the community through plasma donation awareness. The event is to encourage fans to book an appointment to give blood, and plasma, or join the stem cell registry to help patients in need.