Hosts drop first at midget tourney

The host Kelowna Fripp Warehousing Jr. Rockets looked like a team playing its third game in 24 hours.

The Jr. Rockets looked sluggish and, at times, disinterested in falling 5-2 to the Waterloo Wolves on day two of the 35th Kelowna International Elite Midget Hockey Tournament going on in Kelowna.

The hosts opened the scoring on their second of 13 power-plays on the night when Braden Eliuk slammed home his first of two on the night on a beautiful one-timer from the left faceoff dot.

It went downhill quickly from there.

"They (Waterloo) came out fast and hard, big and strong. I thought we played a really good game this morning but tonight we didn't capitalize when we had our chances," says Jr. Rockets head coach Eric Blais.

"They were beating us to pucks and out working us. It didn't look like we were too interested there for a while."

Waterloo grabbed control of the game late in the first when a shot from the left point deflected off a Kelowna stick in front and past netminder Sam Bobyn.

Waterloo grabbed a 3-1 lead early in the second again on goals that deflected in off Kelowna sticks.

The Jr. Rockets had a chance to get back into the game midway through the second when Waterloo has handed four straight penalties giving the home side two lengthy five-on-three advantages.

They were unable to mount any sustained pressure and, soon after Waterloo slammed the door with a goal making it 4-1 before the end of the second.

"That's usually our bread and butter. We've had a very good power-play this year and usually five-on-three we capitalize," says Blais.

"They were pressuring us and we didn't know how to handle it."

Eliuk got one of those back late in the third at the tail end of a third five-on-three to make the final few minutes interesting, however, the hosts were unable to mount much of an offensive with Bobyn on the bench for an extra attacker.

The Wolves now lead the six team pool with two wins and an overtime loss in three games.

Kelowna, Burnaby Winter Club and Pursuit of Excellence are all next at 2-1.

The Jr. Rockets will close out the round robin against POE Friday night and Burnaby Saturday morning.

A pair of wins would send them into Saturday night's semi-final.

Earlier in the day the Jr. Rockets dumped Delta 5-2 as Brandon Barnes led the way with two goals and an assist.

As expected the major midget Okanagan Rockets are running away with the other pool.

The AAAA Rockets dumped Vernon Jr. Vipers 8-1 Thursday night after earlier handling the Prince George Cougars 6-0.

Tyson Jost had the hat-trick and a pair of assists in the opening game while Brendan Berry picked up the shutout.

In the late game Tanner Campbell had two goals and an assist while Linden Hora chipped in with three assists.

The Okanagan Rockets will close out round robin play against the defending champion Thunder Bay Kings Friday night and Okanagan Academy Saturday.

Thunder Bay and Okanagan Academy are tied for second in the pool with a win, a loss and an overtime win each.

The Kings hold the tie-breaker over Okanagan Academy should the teams finish tied by virtue of a 6-2 win during round robin play.


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