The Kelowna Rockets fell 5-3 on Saturday night to the Kamloops Blazers at Prospera Place to close out the preseason.
Kamloops jumped out to an early 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Daylan Kuefler and Carson Denomie. With under five minutes to play in the period Rockets new Finnish defenceman Lassi Thomson took a slap shot from the point that beat Blazers netminder Dylan Garand over the shoulder to get Kelowna on the board.
Just over a minute later Nolan Foote scored for the third time in three preseason games to even the game at 2-2. Only 35 seconds after that Dallon Wilton accepted a pass from Ted Brennan on the rush and snapped it past Garand as the Rockets scored three unanswered goals in 1:38 to carry a 3-2 lead into the middle frame.
In the second period both teams traded chances but the goaltenders stood tall. Midway through the frame both teams switched goalies. Roman Basran was relieved by James Porter for Kelowna as Rayce Ramsay took over for Dylan Garand at the other end. Through 40 minutes the score remained 3-2 Kelowna.
In the final stanza Martin Lang brought the game back to even at 13:21. Blazers forward Luc Smith regained the Kamloops lead with under two minutes to play before Zane Franklin added an empty netter for a 5-3 Kamloops final.
Roman Basran stopped 15 of the 17 shots he faced before James Porter took over stopping 12 of the 10 shots he faced. Kelowna outshot Kamloops 30-25.
Saturday was Kelowna’s final preseason game before they head into the 2018-2019 regular season. They open the regular season in Kamloops against the Blazers on Friday, Sept. 21 at the Sandman Centre. The puck drops on the Rockets regular season at 7 p.m. The Rockets home opener is the following night Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:05 p.m. at Prospera Place.
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