3rd period meltdown sinks Rockets
The Kelowna Rockets nine game home ice winning streak evaporated as quickly as their three goal third period lead.
Defenceman Jason Fram scored in the sixth round of the shootout after Spokane roared back from a three goal third period deficit to hand the Rockets a disappointing 6-5 setback before just 4,600 fans Wednesday at Prospera Place.
"It was disappointing for sure," Rockets head coach Ryan Huska understated of the third period collapse.
"They scored early on a mistake we made on their first shift of the third and I thought we were on our heels and stood around and watched for the rest of the period."
After spotting the Chiefs a 2-1 first period lead then roared back with four unanswered goals while peppering Chiefs starter Eric Williams with 20 shots in the second to take a 5-2 lead into the final frame.
As good as the Rockets were in the second - they were that bad in the third managing only four shots on Williams' replacement Garret Hughson.
"We didn't skate. As soon as they scored that goal I thought we were a team that was afraid to win or afraid to lose," says Huska.
"They took the period to us and they scored the goals. We took two penalties that we didn't have to take and they capitalized."
Damon Severson and Ryan Olsen each had a goal and two assists for the Rockets. Colton Heffley and Rourke Chartier both on the power-play and Kris Schmidli also scored for the Rockets.
Heffley's first period power-play goal snapped a futility streak that spanned seven games and 26 chances.
"I guess that's a little light for us," says Heffley.
"Hopefully we can get the power-play going on Friday."
Following Sunday's 4-1 loss in Seattle assistant coach Dan Lambert called the team out saying they were playing with 'arrogance.'
Heffley says some of that may have crept into the team's game.
"We can't take teams for granted. We worked hard tonight but that's not acceptable for us to lose that game," says Heffley.
"We have to come back Friday and put in a good effort."
After a slow start to the season schedule-wise the Rockets are going through their toughest stretch of the season.
Wednesday's game was their 17th in 32 days. In comparison the Rockets opened the season with 17 games in 49 days.
"I don't think we are as mentally sharp right now as we should be. When you lose games the way we did tonight that to me is a good indicator of it," says Huska.
"We have to do a better job of making sure we're prepared. A lot of it started with our back end tonight that got us into a little bit of trouble in the third period."
The Rockets outshot Spokane 35-31 including 4-1 in the five-minute overtime period.
Both Jordon Cooke and Hughson were perfect through five round of the shootout. In round six, Hughson stopped Kris Schmidli who tried to beat him with a deke.
Fram ended it second later when his wrist shot from about 15 feet out beat Cooke high glove side.
The Rockets have now lost two in a row for just the second time this season. Ironically, the other back-to-back losses also came against Spokane and Seattle in early October.
Kelowna gets a chance to bounce into the win column when they face the Kamloops Blazers in back-to-back games Friday in Kamloops and Saturday back in Prospera Place.
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