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OK Rockets open with win

The Okanagan Rockets will have to be more disciplined if they hope to have success at the 38th annual BDO Kelowna Elite Midget Hockey Tournament.

The Rockets opened the tournament Wednesday night with an anxious 4-3 win over Burnaby Winter Club.

The Major Midget League Rockets led 4-1 after two and 4-2 late, when penalty trouble turned the game around.

Burnaby scored on the power play with less than three minutes left, then, in the dying moments, went on another power play and, despite two close-in chances, were unable to get the equalizer.

"The took advantage of the opportunity, but we shouldn't be giving them those opportunities," said Rockets head coach Eric Blais.

"We have to read the way the game is being called, and play smarter hockey.

The Rockets jumped on the visitors early, scoring two goals before the game was four minutes old, but took their foot off the gas and let Burnaby get back into the game.

Early in the second, Burnaby got one back, but seconds later, off the ensuring faceoff, the Rockets restored the two goal lead. They pushed the lead to three before the end of the period.

"When we played five-on-five, I thought we were the better team.

"If we managed the puck well and executed what we asked the boys to do we were fine. But, we made it a free-for-all out there."

Four different players scored on the night for the Rockets, who are looking to win the tournament for the second time in four years.

Blais says it's important to get the first win, but important also not to get complacent over a single victory.

"It's huge, it really is. It makes you feel a lot more comfortable, but that being said, we can't get too comfortable.

"We have a game in the morning against a very talented, and skilled team from Northern Alberta. We have to be ready."

That Northern Alberta team, Extreme, also opened the tournament with a win, shutting out 2015 champion Lethbridge Hurricanes 4-0.

Kaleb Ergang and Josh Prokop each scored twice for Extreme. Ty Grant turned aside 24 shots for the shutout.

The other game in that division saw Saskatoon Contacts edged Okanagan Hockey Academy White 2-1.

In the other division, OHA Red opened with a 5-0 win over the Burlington Eagles. Connor Marritt led the way with three assists for OHA as five different players found the back of the net.

Mackenzie Merriman had two goals and an assist and Matt Mosher scored twice to lead Delta to a 6-0 win over the host Okanagan Fripp Warehousing Jr. Rockets.

In the other game on day one, Yale Academy got goals from six different players in a 6-2 win over the Swift Current Legionaires.

The tournament continues Thursday with games in both Rutland and the Capital News Centre.

It's the busiest day of the tournament as each team is scheduled to play twice.

The semi-finals are set for Saturday night and the finals Sunday afternoon, both at the Rutland Arena.



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