Rockets ride 3rd period outburst to win
It took the Kelowna Rockets 40 minutes to finally get untracked - but when they did, they rode a strong third period to a convincing 5-0 win over the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes.
Justin Kirkland staked the Rockets to a 1-0 lead midway through the first period and it looked like that might stand up as the only goal of the game until Myles Bell doubled the lead on a breakaway two minutes into the third.
After that, the flood gates opened.
Marek Tvrdon with his third as a Rocket, Rourke Chartier and Tyson Baillie with his 20th all scored in a six minute span before the midway point of the third to close out the scoring and put away a Hurricanes team that was drubbed 10-0 in Vancouver the night before.
Huska gave credit to the Hurricanes for keeping it close for the first 40.
"I thought Lethbridge worked real hard tonight until the third when I thought we started to take over a little bit. The game was close because they worked hard," says Huska.
"We're not going to beat every team and that's what's starting to get a little old. Everybody starts to expect us to win by big margins and that's not the reality. There's good teams in this league - they've had their rough luck over the last little while but they've played hard and that's what it comes down to."
Chartier stole the puck behind the Lethbridge net on the opening goal after goaltender Jonny Hogue had trouble controlling it. He found Kirkland in front who snapped home his 10th.
The best chance of the middle frame came with the Rockets on a power-play.
Lethbridge forward Jamal Watson stole the puck and broke in on a partial breakaway. He shook off a Rocket defender, faked backhand and tried to beat Jackson Whistle from close in on the forehand.
Whistle stretched to his left and got his glove on the puck sending it out of harms way.
Bell had a chance to up the lead early in the third but was denied on a partial breakaway. He would miss second later when he was sent in all alone by Kris Schmidli and beat Hogue with a quick wrist shot from about 20 feet out.
The goal was the 100th of Bell's WHL career.
After Tvrdon made it 3-0 Chartier put home the pretties goal of the night.
He stole the puck along the left boards inside the Lethbridge end, circled around the net, cruised into the right faceoff circle, turned and fired a shot high short side over Hogue's left shoulder.
Whistle turned aside 26 shots for his 11th win and first shutout of the season.
Saturday's win was the Rockets ninth in a row at row and 40th of the season. They are 40-6-0-2 over their first 48 games.
The Rockets power-play continued to struggle Saturday. Kelowna was 0-5 with the man advantage and is 0-22 over the past six games.
Kelowna concludes a difficult three day weekend Sunday when they travel to Seattle to face the Thunderbirds.
"Tomorrow after is a big one," says Chartier.
Seattle has been hot I think lately and they are always good games. Ever since that playoff series last year and that's one we want to win in their barn for sure."
The T-Birds come into Sunday's game winners of eight of their last nine. The Rockets have won eight of their last 10.
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