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WHL  

Rockets streak stays intact

You can make it nine in a row on home ice for the Kelowna Rockets - and counting.

The Rockets jumped all over the visiting Prince George Cougars early Wednesday, building a 3-0 first period lead, before cruising to a 5-3 victory.

Carsen Twarynski, who has never scored more than 20 goals in any season in the Western Hockey League, bagged his second hat trick of the season, upping his total to 20 in just 23 games.

"I try to dominate games like I can. I have a good shot, and I'm a big body, so going to the net and shooting the puck as much as I can is a key to my game," said Twarynski.

"Playing with a guy like (Dillon) Dube and with (Liam) Kindree right now, they're going to get me the puck. I'm just going to try and keep it rolling and do what I do."

What he did Wednesday was score almost every way imaginable. His first goal, a one-timer from the slot came off a set play on the power play. The puck went from the left point, down low behind the end line then back to the slow in seemingly one motion.

His second was a rebound from the top of the crease while the hat trick goal, also on the power play, came on a quick wrist shot high, short side from the bottom of the circle off a pretty backhand feed from Kyle Topping.

"His all around game is what has really helped our group," said head coach Jason Smith of Twarynski.

"His compete level, his physical presence and his ability to push through when things maybe aren't going well for our team has helped him. Obviously, scoring is important and it's nice to get contributions."

Dillon Dube, with a goal-of-the-year candidate shorthanded and Cal Foote also scored for the Rockets.

Dube found himself about 20 feet in front of Cougars rookie netminder Isaiah Dilaura with four Prince George defenders around him. He seemingly stickhandled around all of them at least once before making a break toward the net, and beating a surprised Dilaura to the blocker side.

"It was obviously an amazing play," said Twarynski who watched it unfold from the bench.

"It's kind of funny, coach Kris (Mallette) was yelling at him on the bench to send it down or pass it back to kill more time. I gave him a little smirk after Dube's scored that goal. He's a special player and he has amazing skills."

Badly outplayed in the first period, the Cougars showed some life in the second, getting shorthanded breakaway goal from Josh Curtis to make it 3-1 at the time.

They rounded out the scoring with a pair of power play goals in the final three minutes when the game was already out of reach.

The Rockets did get some good news prior to the game when they learned leading scorer Kole Lind has been cleared to play by doctors.

Lind has missed the last six games after being diagnosed with mononucleosis.

President and GM Bruce Hamilton addressed Lind's condition after the game, saying doctors informed him Lind is likely at the end stages of mono.

Hamilton says Lind will skate Thursday and Friday and will be re-evaluated Saturday before determining if he will return to the lineup Saturday night.

"He's probably had this for quite a while. It's remarkable for how well he played for probably how he felt, but until you have a blood test, you can't tell," said Hamilton.

Hamilton says being cleared today means Lind will still be in the running for an invitation to Canada's world junior selection camp.

Those invitations will be announced Monday.

The Rockets are on the road in Spokane Friday before returning for their final home game before Christmas Saturday when the Kootenay Ice invade Prospera Place.



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