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WHL  

Rockets dominate opener

Kole Lind showed why the Vancouver Canucks have high hopes for him.

Lind, selected by the Canucks in the second round of the June entry draft, was a force in all areas of the game, leading the Rockets past the Kamloops Blazers 6-2 Friday in the season opener for both teams.

"Kole has an opportunity to be a real good player. His mind set is in a good place after coming back from (NHL) camp," said head coach Jason Smith.

"When you go to your first pro camp as a young player it's a learning curve. You get to see the work they put in, and the attention to detail at that level."

Lind had a goal and two assists, all in the second period when the Rockets exploded for four goals and a 6-0 lead.

He could have easily had three or four more points.

"I feel good at the beginning of the season, I think you always do. But, I am going to try and stay at a good pace the whole year," said Lind.

"Stay disciplined with my workouts and stay strong the whole year."

Kyle Topping had two goals and an assist while newly minted captain Cal Foote chipped in with three assists.

Tomas Soustal, Liam Kindree with his first career WHL goal and Jack Cowell also scored. Nolan Foote had a pair of helpers in the win.

The Rockets jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. Topping got the opening goal of the season tuck home a rebound off the end boards just two seconds after a power play had expired.

Midway through the period, Soustal tapped home a pretty pass from Cowell just before a power play expired.

"We started the game pretty well. I think we played a simple game and played the game fast," said Smith.

"We created opportunities around the net and capitalized on our chances. I think it was a pretty positive starting point, and a good start for us to build on."

The Rockets exploded for four goals in the middle frame, three of those coming from players hoping to make a bigger contribution after having limited roles during their rookie seasons.

"You want your players that may have moved up in the lineup, and are getting more opportunities to create offence and fulfill the role of some of the players we've lost," added Smith.

Broden Salmond, who was tested 35 times, lost his shutout bid late in the third when Justin Sigrist and Nolan Kneen beat him from almost identical spots in the mid slot.

Cal Foote didn't finish the night after getting involved with Blazers tough guy Jermaine Loewen late in the game. Loewen didn't make any fans in Kelowna as he continually tried to mix things up with his team down in the second and third periods.

"It was the time and place. He was messing around a little bit and he went after some young guys," said Foote.

"I was just trying to stick up for my teammates."

The Rockets and Blazers will meet for the fifth time in a span of a few weeks when they faceoff again tomorrow night in the Blazers home opener.



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