Rockets fall in pre-season shootout
Sep 1, 2012 / 10:30 pm
Jackson Houck scored the game winner with the sixth shot of a shootout Saturday night giving the visiting Vancouver Giants a 3-2 WHL pre-season win over the hometown Kelowna Rockets.
After both teams had already scored once, Houck had a chance to close out the game and did just that.
He faked a few moves before deking forehand and roofing a backhand over Jordaon Cooke's outstretched blocker.
Rookie Rourke Chartier and Colton Heffley scored in regulation time for the Rockets, both goals coming in the third period as the Rockets erased a 1-0 deficit.
Heffley's goal capped off a pretty three way passing play with Madison Bowey and Tyson Baillie.
Giants defenceman Reid Zalitach forced overtime with a seeing eye shot from the right point that handcuffed Cooke. Dalton Sward scored the other Giants goal midway through the middle frame.
The Rockets came out of the gate very slowly in the opening period, managing just five shots on goal as the Giants took most of the play to them.
Head coach Ryan Huska says the fact they decided to go with a younger line-up Saturday, as they did Friday, may have contributed to the start.
"It's tough because when you don't have that leadership group in there I think your guys run out of gas a little bit sooner. The older guys can handle more minutes, especially earlier in the year," says Huska.
I thought our guys stuck with it and got better as the game went on. Our shifts got shorter and I think we were able to build a little bit of momentum that way."
Eight players expected to start the season with the club sat out the game, including forwards Colton Sissons, Zach Franko, Ryan Olson, Spencer Main, Filip Vasko along with defencemen Myles Bell, Mitchell Chapman and MacKenzie Johnston.
That game the coaches a chance to take a long look at Chartier (2011 1st round bantam pick) and defenceman Riley Stadel (2011 3rd round pick).
Stadel only played three minutes into the second period when he was tossed along with Giants forward Carter Popoff for a second period scrap.
"To that point I thought he was our best defenceman tonight. I thought we missed him when he got thrown out," says Huska.
"it's good for him to stand up for himself. He's done very well in these two exhibition games. We've been very happy with him."
Chartier, along with his first WHL goal also had a chance later in the third but his quick wrist shot was turned aside.
"He's a really intelligent player and I think the more he plays the more confidence he gets. I guess when he understands the pace of the game you'll see he'll do some pretty good things when he gets older," says Huska.
"He's got smarts and you can see that when he's on the ice. He's going to be a nice hockey player."
The Rockets lost the services of Swedish import Henrik Nyberg in the second period with what Huska said was a rib injury.
The Rockets will get a chance to put in their first full week of practice in advance of a pair of pre-season games against the Victoria Royals next Friday in Maple Ridge and Saturday back home at Prospera Place.
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