Rockets ride Stadel's trick past Canes
Oct 16, 2013 / 10:30 pm
Life is good if you're Riley Stadel - you could say he's living 'The Life of Riley!'
The sophomore defenceman registered his first career Western Hockey League hat-trick and added an assist leading the Kelowna Rockets to a 6-0 thumping of the struggling Lethbridge Hurricanes before just over 4,500 fans at Prospera Place Wednesday.
Stadel scored the only two goals of the opening period, a seeing eye slap shot from just inside the blueline and a one-timer from the right faceoff circle on a Rockets power-play.
After assisting on Ryan Olsen's power-play goal in the second Stadel completed the hat-trick when he cruised to the top of the crease and lifted home his seventh of the season off a nifty cross -crease feed from Nick Merkley.
"He can keep doing it," says Rockets head coach Ryan Huska.
"It's a thrill for a young man when he's able to get three and defencemen don't often do it. Riley's had the touch so far this year and hopefully it will continue."
Merkley continued his hot start picking up four assists while Olsen had a goal and three helpers.
Tyson Baillie and Tyrell Goulbourne with his first of the season also scored for the Rockets.
Jordon Cooke turned aside 25 shots for his first, and possibly easiest, shutout of the season.
Corbin Boes was the busier of the two netminders by far, facing 62 Rockets shots including 23 in the second and 24 more in the third when the Rockets had nine power-play opportunities including two lengthy two-man advantages.
The Rockets power-play, which finished the night just 3 for 12 got the Rockets going early when the game was still in doubt.
Kelowna clicked on three of its first five chances with the man advantage but Huska says it was more than just the power-play that got the team going.
"Madison Bowey I thought early was hard to play against and Damon Severson was more physical that he's been all year," says Huska.
"We had contributions from a lot of different people and I thought it was a good bounce back game and one that we needed."
Wednesday's win snapped the Rockets two game losing streak.
Stadel's hat-trick moves him into the club lead in goals while Merkley's four assists leaves the rookie tied with Tyson Baillie for the club lead with 13 points.
"I've been pretty lucky," says Merkley of his hot start to the season.
"The guys I'm playing with have been great, they're setting me up all the time. Today I got some lucky bounces I guess."
The Rockets four game homestand continues Saturday when they host the Prince George Cougars.
After a slow start to the season the Cougars won four and suffered a shootout loss in a six game stretch before dropping back-to-back games in Victoria earlier this week.
Prince George will come into Prospera Place after playing the night before in Seattle.
The Rockets will finish up their four game homestand next Tuesday against Calgary before hitting the road for back-to-back games in Victoria and Prince George.
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