Rockets dominate holiday matinee
The Kelowna Rockets snapped a two game losing streak but in the process may have lost a lot more.
Sparkplug forward Tyson Baillie had to be helped off the ice during the second period of Monday's Family Day 7-3 victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds with a right leg injury.
Baillie took the worst of a knee-on-knee collision with hulking 6'5" defenceman Jared Hauf inside the Seattle offensive zone.
He lay on the ice in obvious pain before being helped off the ice by teammate Carter Rigby and athletic therapist Scott Hoyer.
"I don't think it was a dirty hit, I didn't see him stick his knee out," says Rockets head coach Ryan Huska.
"As far as timeline, I don't know. We'll see what the docs come back with."
Tyrell Goulbourne played his best game of the season by far.
Goulbourne was involved both physically and offensive.
He scored twice, added an assist and took out the hulking Hauf in a typical one-sided Goulbourne fight late in the game.
"I may or may not have been shooting for that at the end of the game," Goulbourne joked of his Gordie Howe hat trick.
Ryan Olsen and Myles Bell each had a goal and an assist while Colton Heffley, Marek Tvrdon and Nick Merkley also scored. Madison Bowey and Damon Severson both chipped in with a pair of assists.
The Rockets led 2-0 after one and 5-0 after two, They increased the lead to 6-0 five minutes into the third before the T-Birds got on the board with a couple of quick goals before the midway point of the third.
Goulbourne ended any hope of a comeback with a shorthanded goal with less than six minutes left.
"Good teams don't want to lose three in a row," says Goulbourne of Monday's effort.
"When you lose two games at home especially - we take pride in playing here. We knew we wanted to come out hard and win this game."
While the Rockets scored seven times it could have easily been twice that. They hit four goal posts and a cross bar on the afternoon and had several other great chances to score but couldn't convert.
"I think our line could have had probably nine goals," says Goulbourne.
"Linny (Cole Linaker) played amazing. He just couldn't find the back of the net and Carter (Rigby) is always on the body and creates space for us."
Monday's win was the closest the Rockets have come to a 60 minute effort in recent games.
They had lost two in a row and four of their last seven.
Huska says he was pleased with the first 40 minutes but added the team is going through something every team does during the course of a long season.
"This is really our first test of adversity where we haven't played the way we think we are capable of over a two-and-a-half week stretch," says Huska.
"When Dan (Lambert) and I talk to some other coaches we use a lot they remind us of that. I think because of that it's easy for us to go after players but most times that's not what they need - they need answers."
Huska says the coaches did a better job of letting the players know they are still behind them despite the mini-slump.
The Rockets, winners of 44 games on the season, hit the road again Tuesday morning for a Wednesday game in Spokane.
Kelowna will be looking for its first win against the Chiefs after dropping their first two meetings earlier this season.
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