Rockets whip Giants, again

It's as sure as death and taxes - the Kelowna Rockets beating the Vancouver Giants whenever they venture into Prospera Place.

You can make it 26 straight home ice wins for the Rockets over their division rivals, following a 4-1 victory on Wednesday.

It's a dynamic Rockets head coach Jason Smith is at a loss to explain.

"You still have to go out and play. You're starting every game at zero, and how it ends up is based on the play and effort the guys put in," said Smith.

"Sometimes, there's some breaks. We got a post and a reviewed goal that wasn't a goal. I guess it's just hockey."

The Rockets, coming off back-to-back defeats at the hands of the Everett Silvertips over the weekend, came out like a house on fire.

Kole Lind had a great chance to open the scoring on the game's first shift, but was denied by Giants goaltender David Tendeck. Lind wouldn't be denied the second time he stepped on the ice.

The Vancouver Canucks draft choice took a pass at the Giants' blueline, cut to his right, and snapped a wrist shot home from the right faceoff circle.

They dominated the rest of the period, but were unable to increase the lead.

The Giants managed just two shots in the opening period, but, 12 minutes in, forced Brodan Salmond to come up with an incredible glove save off Matt Barberis from the bottom of the right circle.

Connor Bruggen-Cate doubled the lead six minutes into the second when he converted a give-and-go with Leif Mattson on a two-man breakaway.

The shorthanded goal stood up as the game winner.

The Giants got their lone goal of the game in the final minute when Davis Koch banged home a rebound.

Vancouver dominated the early stages of the final period, and thought they had tied it just 1:08 in.

Jared Dmytriw banged the puck toward the goal line at the back end of a scramble in front of the Kelowna net. Salmond had his right pad along the goal line, and a review of the play showed the puck had not crossed the line.

Moments later, Cyle McNabb did put the puck past Salmond, but the goal was waved off immediately for a hand pass.

Shortly after that, Dmytriw rang a shot off the far post from the right wing. The Giants didn't threaten after that.

"In the second period, we got a little sloppy, turned the puck over a little bit, and spent too much time defending," said Smith.

"When you spend too much time in your own zone, and turn the puck over at the offensive blueline, you're giving up odd-man rushes. We didn't execute the way we needed to."

Wednesday's win, combined with Victoria's 8-5 loss in Portland, allowed the Rockets to move two points clear of the Royals in the battle for top spot in the BC Division. The Rockets still hold two games in hand.

The Rockets and Royals will get to know each other well over the next several days.

The two teams meet in back-to-back games in the provincial capital Friday and Saturday, before playing a holiday Monday matinee back at Prospera Place.

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