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WHL  

Rockets steal two points

James Porter made sure the Kelowna Rockets would have a pleasant return to the ice after the Christmas break.

Porter turned away 46 shots, and stopped all four he faced in a shootout, as the Rockets won for the 11th straight time on home ice, beating the visiting Kamloops Blazers 2-1.

He was the only reason the Rockets were able to leave Prospera Place with any points Wednesday.

"We did some things descent tonight, but we were sloppy, we were slow and we turned the puck over a lot," said Rockets head coach Jason Smith.

"It's nice to leave with a win, maybe not when you deserve it."

Rookie Liam Kindree put an end to the night when he beat Dylan Ferguson with a wrist shot blocker side in the fourth round of the shootout. It was the only goal of the shootout.

But, as good as Porter was between the pipes, Kole Lind was that good on the offensive side for the Rockets.

Lind scored the only goal in regulation time for the Rockets, a rising wrist shot from about 25 feet out on a partial breakaway.

He could have easily had a four or five point night had it not been for the play of Ferguson, who stoned Lind on a penalty shot in the first period and again in the shootout. Lind also set up his linemates for chance after chance, but they were unable to cash in.

Since being cut from the Canadian junior selection camp, Lind has four goals and four goals and four assists in just three games.

Safe to say he's sending a message to the Hockey Canada brain trust that they made a big mistake.

"I think that's what I came out here to do. I definitely want to come back and prove a point and show them what they're missing," said Lind.

"I think I'm doing a good job so far. We're winning games and that's the most important part."

Lind says it still hurts that he was left off the Canadian roster.

"It was a dream come true for me to play for the world junior's.

"It was heartbreaking and it is always going to stick in the back of my mind, just like not going in the first round in the summer. I think I'll be able to play with a chip on my shoulder, and it will motivate me to get better every day."

Lind's goal just 74 seconds into the second period almost held up. But, a slapshot from former Rocket Joe Gatenby through a screen with 1:18 left in regulation forced overtime and robbed Porter of his second straight shutout.

It also ended a shutout streak of 147 minutes and 38 seconds.

The Rockets had the best chances in overtime. Ferguson robbed James Hilsendager early in the extra period. He threw out his pad to beat the veteran defenceman after a nifty feed from Lind on a two-on-one.

The Rockets had a couple chances late in overtime on a four-on-three power play but Ferguson was again up to the task.

The win, coupled with Victoria's 5-3 loss at home to Prince George moved the Rockets two points up on the Royals.

The Rockets and Blazers close out their home-and-home Friday in Kamloops. Kelowna returns home after that game to host the Royals Saturday.

Kole Lind scored the lone goal for the Rockets in regulation time and rookie Liam Kindree was the only player to score in a four-round shootout as the Rockets jumped over Victoria into sole possession of top spot in the BC Division for the first time this season.



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