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WHL  

Rockets fall to Tips

Not enough traffic in front of the net - too many shots directly at the goaltender.

That was the story for the Kelowna Rockets, who fell 3-2 to Carter Hart and the Everett Silvertips Friday night at Prospera Place.

Hart, who backstopped Canada to a world junior gold and is far and away the best goaltender in the WHL, was good when he had to be.

The Rockets made him look better than he had to be.

"We made him look good tonight. We didn't go to the net as hard as we could have," said Dillon Dube, a teammate of Hart's on the Canadian gold medal team.

"I think with a goalie like that you have to get greasy, it's not going to be nice goals. We made it pretty easy on him tonight. When we play the right way and go to the net, we'll expose him a lot."

The Rockets were able to do that more effectively over the final half of the third when they trailed 3-0 and played with more desperation - but, it was a bit too little and a bit too late.

The Silvertips, who moved a point up on the Rockets to sit atop the Western Conference standings, built their 3-0 lead via the power play.

Patrick Bajkov beat Brodan Salmond with a seeing-eye wrist shot from the right circle with 11 seconds left in the first to open the scoring.

Connor Dewar blasted home a one-timer from the top of the circle that seemed to handcuff Salmond midway through the second and Bryce Kindopp jammed home a rebound from the side of the net eight minutes into the third to put the Silvertips up 3-0.

Less than 30 seconds later, the Rockets turned a puck over at the Everett blueline. Kole Lind, from deep in the faceoff circle found Kyle Topping, who outwaited Hart and buried his 18th.

With 90 seconds lift, and Salmond on the bench for an extra attacker, Lind fanned on a one-timer from in close, but the puck dribbled to the front of the net when Carsen Twarynski was waiting to tap home his 33rd of the season.

Lind had the best chance to tie it in the final minute when he found himself all alone in front of Hart, but the puck hopped off his stick and dribbled harmlessly to the goaltender.

"They played a good game," said Rockets head coach Jason Smith.

"We came up a little bit short. I think we good things in parts of the game, but we didn't quite play a complete game where we gave ourselves enough opportunities to win the game."

Smith says the Rockets will have to do a better job of getting bodies, and pucks to the net Saturday night when the same two teams battle again in Everett.



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