Rockets triumphant in return home
The Kelowna Rockets made a triumphant return to Prospera Place - much like a conquering Roman army.
That it seems like the Rockets hadn't played a home game since before the fall of the Roman Empire is purely coincidental.
The Rockets, playing just their third game on home ice since Dec 7, got goals from six different players Wednesday in a 6-3 triumph over the visiting Everett Silvertips before 5,008 fans.
Wednesday's game also marked the home debut of Marek Tvrdon in a Rockets uniform.
Tvrdon, acquired from the Vancouver Giants just prior to the Jan 10 trade deadline, didn't disappoint the home town fans scoring his second goal in as many games.
Despite showing flashes of brilliance, Tvrdon isn't happy with where his game is.
"I don't feel good because I don't play like this," a disappointed Tvrdon stated after the game.
"I don't like my game - that's why I don't feel very good. My last period here I wasn't too happy with because I didn't play great. I play good with the guys but I'm not happy with my play."
Rockets head coach Ryan Huska says it will take time for Tvrdon to get adjusted to the way the Rockets like to play.
"Players always want to come in and be great right off the start but they have to learn a different way of playing and what is expected of them," says Huska.
"They have to find some consistency with the guys they are playing with. I think he is going to be fine but he doesn't need to get frustrated now. Our big thing is if you are working and playing with pace and you are getting scoring chances you are eventually going to score."
Huska says if Tvrdon continues to move his feet and works on his two way game he will continue to get better.
"He wants to be a guy that wants to be the difference for us. He wants to score that goal for us all the time and it's not just one it's two or three but at the same time there are other things that are going on."
Jesse Lees opened the scoring midway through the first period. The converted defenceman grabbed the puck in the left circle, turned and fired a shot that alluded Tips netminder Austin Lotz.
After the Rockets killed a penalty early in the second Tvrdon converted his second as a Rocket.
Nick Merkley did the heavy lifting picking up a loose puck deep inside the Tips end. He circled the net and centered to Tvrdon who waited a moment before firing the puck under a helpless Lotz.
Cole Linaker upped the lead to 3-0 with a similar goal to Tvrdon's beating Lotz on a one-timer after Kris Schmidli had circled behind the Everett net and fed a perfect cross-crease pass.
Tyson Baillie also scored in the second for the Rockets while Ryan Olsen and Tyrell Goulbourne each found the empty net in the dying moments of the game.
With the Rockets leading 4-1, Jordon Cooke, the game's second star was victimized with one of the stranger goals he has ever allowed.
The puck flipped into the air, hit the post, hit Cooke in the back and fell into the net.
"I remember the puck going from one corner to the other and all of a sudden there was a shot out. It hit my stick, came up and I think it hit Severson, hit the post, hit me, hit the post - something like that," recalls Cooke.
"You see that happen in the NHL all the time but you never really expect it to happen to you."
Cooke made several key saves especially in the third after Everett had cut the deficit to one.
He was also aided by a couple of goal posts early in the second.
Cole Martin was a +4 on the night improving his league leading total to +43. Teammate Madison Bowey is second in the league at +38 after also registering a +4 Wednesday.
Wednesday's win improved the Rockets record to 38-6-0-2.
With 78 points the Rockets magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to six.
Kelowna continues its brief three game homestand Friday when the Medicine Hat Tigers come to town.
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