Rockets flat in shootout loss to Royals
Sep 28, 2013 / 10:30 pm
Gross was one of the words Kelowna Rockets coach Ryan Huska used to describe his club's effort - especially in the first and third periods in a shootout loss to the visiting Victoria Royals Saturday.
The Rockets blew a two goal third period and fell to the Royals 4-3 before 5,000 fans at Prospera Place.
Ben Walker scored what proved to be the game winner squeezing a forehand between Jordon Cooke's left pad and the post with the sixth shot of the shootout.
Myles Bell and Damon Severson had all scored for the Rockets in the shootout while Logan Nelson and Jack Walker did the same for the Royals.
Zach Franko missed with the Rockets third attempt leaving the door open for Walker who made no mistake.
"I thought Victoria played hard and we didn't. In the three games we've had we've probably played two good periods and that's not enough," says Huska.
"We've done a lot of standing around and we're not physical at all. We're not winning battles - we're looking for things to be pretty easy right now."
Huska says the group thinks they're better than they are.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the final period Trent Lofthouse cut the deficit in half with a power-play goal four minutes into the final period. It was the first power-play goal the Rockets had allowed after killing off 14 straight to start the season.
Brandon Fushimi picked off a bad clearing attempt by Damon Severson and one-timed a puck past a surprised Jordon Cooke to even things at 3-3 and force overtime.
Cooke gave the Rockets a few extra minutes of life when he robbed Brett Cote on a Royals power-play a minute into overtime.
Cote one-timed a cross-crease feed only to have Cooke sprawl spread eagle and get his glove on the puck to deny Cote the game winner.
"It was a game saver," says Myles Bell of Cooke's save.
"It gave us a few extra minutes. That's all we can ask of him. He plays great every night - the fans know it, we know it."
The teams were tied 1-1 after one as Zach Franko and rookie Landon Welykholowa exchanged first period goals.
The Rockets played probably their best period on home ice this season in the second, outshooting the Royals 21-8 and outscoring them 2-0.
Rourke Chartier scored his third of the season 3:47 into the period converting a gorgeous feed from Ryan Olsen on a two-on-one with the teams playing four-on-four.
Olsen stepped out of the penalty box, stripped a Royals player of the puck creating the two-on-one.
Bell scored his first of the season in the final minute. Bell jumped into the rush turning a three-on-two into a four-on-two.
He took a perfect feed from Franko and beat Coleman Vollrath with a far corner wrist-shot from the left faceoff circle.
The Rockets were unable to carry the momentum of that late goal into the third.
"When you have a team up 3-1 in your own building going into the third period you should be able to finish it off," says Huska.
Bell, who along with Damon Severson were playing their first games of the season, says it's early in the season - things will turn around.
It's early. Some errors were being made that are to be expected at the start of the season," says Bell.
"That's the good things about a 72-game season, they've got lots of time to figure things out and get back on track."
Bell says two games in three weeks may have contributed somewhat but agreed it's no excuse.
"We've got to be a little more mentally prepared and definitely transfer what we are doing at practice onto the ice in the games."
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