Feb 16, 2013 / 10:00 pm
Rockets vs Blazers Feb 16, 2013
What looked like a Kelowna Rockets coronation just a week ago is now anything but.
The Rockets lead atop the BC Division of the Western Hockey League has shrunk to just three points after the Kamloops Blazers eked out a 3-1 victory Saturday night at Prospera Place.
The win completed a home-and-home sweep by the Blazers who were 4-2 winners over Kelowna Friday night in Kamloops.
The game started badly for the Rockets and didn't get much better after the Blazers opened the scoring just 10 seconds into the contest.
Brendan Ranford intercepted an errant pass from defenceman Jesse Lees and muscled a shot past Jordon Cooke from a near impossible angle.
"I thought we responded well after that goal. There was a chance for it to go the other way but I thought our guys responded well after that," says Rockets head coach Ryan Huska.
"I thought both Jordon and our team rebounded well after that."
Myles Bell got that one back six minutes later when he grabbed his own rebound off the end boards and squeezed the puck between Cole Cheveldave and the post.
Joel Edmundson notched what proved to be the game winner six minutes into the second converting a two-on-one with the Rockets on the power-play.
Marek Hrbas ended any thoughts of a Rockets comeback with a blast from the left point in the dying minutes of regulation time.
The goal came seconds after Cooke robbed Blazers leading scorer Colin Smith from in close.
Despite the soft opening goal Cooke gave his club a chance to climb back into the game in the third with a pair of spectacular saves early in the third period, however, the team was unable to respond.
The Rockets managed a season low 17 shots on goal.
Saturday's game ended a brutal stretch in which the Rockets played 14 games over a stretch of just 24 days.
The long stretch showed Saturday although Huska says his charges played hard.
"They tried out there and there wasn't a lot of jump or push from us. That's the way it goes," says Huska.
"I thought we played and competed right to the end. They were a team that skated and I thought our guys gave it what they had."
Huska wouldn't go so far as to say the team was tired.
"They've come through a very challenging stretch."
The Rockets get a few days to rest - at least from game action - they don't play again until Friday when they play the first of back-to-back games in Victoria.
"They'll get their rest that's for sure, but then we have to make sure we're prepared for some good practices as well."
The Rockets will head into the weekend series in Victoria losers of two in a row and five of their last seven.
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