Home ice a happy place for Rockets

Make it nine straight - and counting.

The Kelowna Rockets won their ninth straight at Prospera Place Wednesday edging the visiting Tri-City Americans 3-2 before nearly 4,800 happy fans.

Myles Bell put the Rockets up 2-0 before the game was eight minutes old and it looked like it would be a carbon copy of three games over the weekend in which the Rockets got up early and cruised home with a lopsided victory.

Tri-City had other ideas. Connor Rankin on a power-play and Drydn Dow in the last minute got the Americans on even terms before the end of the opening period.

"After the weekend we got up again and maybe thought it was going to be easy again and definitely took our foot off the gas pedal," says forward Dylan McKinley.

"Cookie (Jordon Cooke) kept us in it for a bit and we found our feet again in the second and going into the third."

It was McKinley, who hadn't scored through the entire month of November, a stretch of nine games, who would pot the game winner midway through the middle frame.

"I came off the bench and was playing with (Colton) Heffley and (Tyson) Baillie. They worked hard and I fanned on a shot - it came Heff and I think he fanned on a shot again and it bounced right to me," says McKinley of the game winner.

"I just tried to put it five-hole."

Cooke shut the door the rest of the way turning aside 25 of 27 shots he faced.

Bell continues to hold the hot hand offensively.

His two first period goals gives the defenceman turned forward five goals and five assists over the last four games.

But, it was Bell's linemate Dylan McKinley who drew the praises of the head coach.

McKinley had a hand in all three goals picking up assists on both of Bell's first period goals.

"I thought he was our best player on the ice. I thought he worked hard all night long," says head coach Ryan Huska.

"I thought he created the turnovers that allowed us to get scoring chances and he found a way to get the game winning goal for us."

The Rockets are now 10-2 on home ice - their last loss coming way back in October 10 when they fell 6-4 to the Spokane Chiefs.

They are also tied with the Americans for fourth in the conference with 34 points, eight back of BC Division leading Kamloops.

The Rockets have been more consistent this season that in the past few seasons and have been getting contributions most nights from the older players on the roster.

"I think it starts with Colton. Colton Sissons I think this year feel comfortable wearing the "C"," says Huska.

"I think he had a year where he learned a lot last year as to how to be a captain and I think this year he has a good supporting cast around him of older guys that are actually believing in him and what his message is in the dressing room.  I think that's one of the reasons why we've been better."

The Rockets will try to make it 10 straight on home ice Friday when they entertain the Moose Jaw Warriors.

They'll follow that up with a game in Seattle Saturday before closing out their pre-Christmas home schedule against Swift Current and Prince George next week.

More WHL articles