Mar 8, 2013 / 10:00 pm
The Kelowna Rockets picked up, arguably their most important win of this Western Hockey League season and slayed some demons at the same time.
The Rockets, who have been unable to beat any upper echelon teams over the past several weeks earned a crucial 3-2 victory Friday night in Kamloops.
The win snapped a four game losing streak in Kamloops and was their first against one of the top three Western Conference teams since back-to-back wins over the Spokane Chiefs in mid January.
Between then and now the Rockets had gone 0-7 against the Chiefs, Blazers and Portland Winterhawks.
"This game was about believing in each other and our team," assistant coach Dan Lambert stated on the post game radio broadcast.
"Some doubt had crept into our team that we couldn't beat good teams."
Rookie Cole Linaker snapped a 2-2 tie with what proved to be the game winner 9:15 into the third period.
Jordon Cooke slammed the door the rest of the way.
The Blazers threatened to run away and hide as they did five days earlier when Brendan Ranford and JC Lipon staked Kamloops to a 2-0 lead before the game was seven minutes old.
The Rockets called a time out after the second goal and, unlike last Sunday the Rockets held the fort and chipped away.
"We felt good about the energy on the bench. We had a good feeling," says Lambert.
Myles Bell, who suffered a lower leg injury last Sunday in Kamloops returned to the line-up and got the Rockets rolling in the middle frame with his 37th of the season.
Tyson Baillie got his 24th 11:06 of the second to tie it.
The game remained tied until Linaker's second of the season proved to be the game winner.
It was a relatively tame hockey game with only eight minor penalties handed out. Three of those were called after the final whistle blew.
The Rockets were 0-4 with the man advantage while Kamloops was 0-1 on their lone opportunity late in regulation time.
Friday's win gives the Rockets a five point cushion atop the BC Division standings and lowered their magic number for clinching the division title to one.
They can wrap up first place in the division Saturday night when they host the Blazers to close out the home-and-home set.
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