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WHL  

Rockets close pre season

The Kelowna Rockets have closed the book on their Western Hockey League pre season.

They've done so a week earlier than any other team in the league.

The Rockets closed out a sparse four game pre season schedule Saturday night with a 4-3 shootout win in Kamloops, running their exhibition record to 3-0-1-0.

Their only blemish, a 5-4 overtime loss to the Victoria Royals.

Veterans heading to NHL training camps, for the most part, sat out the pre season, allowing rookies, second year players and those battling for jobs the chance to show what they could do.

Saturday, the Rockets were led by three players being counted on to step up to the next level in their second year with the club.

Kyle Topping, who led the team in pre season scoring with six points, had a goal and an assist Saturday. Leif Mattson scored his third of the pre season, while Nolan Foote tallied his first.

Despite being outshot 18-4 in the opening 20 minutes, it was the Rockets who jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Mattson and Foote. Topping made it 3-0 16 seconds into the second before the Blazers finally mounted a comeback.

Justin Sigrist in the second and Nic Holowko and Brodi Stuart in the third brought the Blazers even, forcing the shootout.

Jack Cowell scored the lone goal of the shootout while Cody Porter stopped all three shots he faced for the win.

Porter allowed all three goals in regulation time on 21 shots, while Brodan Salmond stopped all 24 shots he faced over the first half of the game.

The Rockets are now off for two weeks as they prepare to open the season Against the same Kamloops Blazers.

Between now and then, many of the 10 players sent to NHL camps, will be back, except for those expected to crack a professional lineup.



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