Lind explodes, Rockets win

Kole Lind's quick start to the Western Hockey League season continued Saturday.

Lind had a hand in all five Rockets goals in a 5-1 thumping of the Kamloops Blazers.

It gave the Rockets a sweep of the season opening weekend, after a dominating 6-2 win over the Blazers Friday night at Prospera Place.

Lind scored twice and assisted on the other three goals in Saturday's win, giving him three goals and five assists in just two games.

Jack Cowell also scored twice while Cal Foote had a goal and two assists.

The Rockets took a 1-0 lead in the first when Lind scored his first of the night.

Former Rocket Joe Gatenby evened the sore in the final minute of the second, the only Blazers to beat Brodan Salmond, who was sharp again for the Rockets.

Kelowna exploded with four unanswered goals in the third. Cowell scored back-to-back goals early in the third, the first at even strength, the second with the Rockets a man up.

Lind and Foote on a last minute power play closed out the scoring.

The Rockets were again two for five with the man advantage while holding the Blazers off the board on their three opportunities.

Kelowna outshot Kamloops 32-29.

The Rockets made just one lineup change for Saturday's game with rookie Kyle Pow drawing in for Leif Mattson.

Both Dillon Dube and Carsen Twarynski remain with their NHL clubs. Twarynski has been assigned to their AHL affiliates training camp while Dube remains in Calgary.

The Rockets are now off until Friday when the Everett Silvertips come to town.


Rockets dominate opener

Kole Lind showed why the Vancouver Canucks have high hopes for him.

Lind, selected by the Canucks in the second round of the June entry draft, was a force in all areas of the game, leading the Rockets past the Kamloops Blazers 6-2 Friday in the season opener for both teams.

"Kole has an opportunity to be a real good player. His mind set is in a good place after coming back from (NHL) camp," said head coach Jason Smith.

"When you go to your first pro camp as a young player it's a learning curve. You get to see the work they put in, and the attention to detail at that level."

Lind had a goal and two assists, all in the second period when the Rockets exploded for four goals and a 6-0 lead.

He could have easily had three or four more points.

"I feel good at the beginning of the season, I think you always do. But, I am going to try and stay at a good pace the whole year," said Lind.

"Stay disciplined with my workouts and stay strong the whole year."

Kyle Topping had two goals and an assist while newly minted captain Cal Foote chipped in with three assists.

Tomas Soustal, Liam Kindree with his first career WHL goal and Jack Cowell also scored. Nolan Foote had a pair of helpers in the win.

The Rockets jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. Topping got the opening goal of the season tuck home a rebound off the end boards just two seconds after a power play had expired.

Midway through the period, Soustal tapped home a pretty pass from Cowell just before a power play expired.

"We started the game pretty well. I think we played a simple game and played the game fast," said Smith.

"We created opportunities around the net and capitalized on our chances. I think it was a pretty positive starting point, and a good start for us to build on."

The Rockets exploded for four goals in the middle frame, three of those coming from players hoping to make a bigger contribution after having limited roles during their rookie seasons.

"You want your players that may have moved up in the lineup, and are getting more opportunities to create offence and fulfill the role of some of the players we've lost," added Smith.

Broden Salmond, who was tested 35 times, lost his shutout bid late in the third when Justin Sigrist and Nolan Kneen beat him from almost identical spots in the mid slot.

Cal Foote didn't finish the night after getting involved with Blazers tough guy Jermaine Loewen late in the game. Loewen didn't make any fans in Kelowna as he continually tried to mix things up with his team down in the second and third periods.

"It was the time and place. He was messing around a little bit and he went after some young guys," said Foote.

"I was just trying to stick up for my teammates."

The Rockets and Blazers will meet for the fifth time in a span of a few weeks when they faceoff again tomorrow night in the Blazers home opener.

Rockets Foote gets the C

The Kelowna Rockets have named Cal Foote the 23rd captain in team history.

Foote, 18, was selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL draft, 14th overall, by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

He takes over from Rodney Southam, who graduated at the end of last year. Southam wore the C for two seasons.

Foote is entering his third season with the Rockets. Over 144 games, he has 14 goals and 79 assists. He added another two goals and 14 assists in 32 post season games.

Gordie Ballhorn, Dillon Dube, and James Hilsendager will all wear an "A" on their jersey this season.

Ballhorn is entering his third season with Kelowna. He served as an Alternate Captain last season with the Rockets as well.

Hilsendager is entering his second season with Kelowna, but his fourth in the WHL.

Dube is entering his fourth season with the Rockets.

The Rockets open the regular season tonight when they entertain the Kamloops Blazers.


Rockets ready for opener

The Kelowna Rockets will be close to full strength when they start the new Western Hockey League season Friday night.

Only forward Dillon Dube is expected to miss the season opener.

Dube has had a strong training camp and pre-season with the NHL's Calgary Flames. He picked up a pair of assists and was third star in a 5-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night. He remains in Calgary, but could return on the weekend.

Defenceman Cal Foote was the only other Rocket still at an NHL camp, but was sent back Thursday by. the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Kamloops Blazers will provide the opposition Friday night.

It will be the fourth straight game between the two teams, who met three times in the pre-season, with the Rockets winning all three, including the last game in a shootout.

Head coach Jason Smith will have 26 players to choose from. Fourteen forwards, 10 defenceman and two goaltenders remain in town, however that number will be pared down.

The Rockets and Blazers met 10 times in the regular season last year, with the Rockets winning four. Kelowna also won a six-game playoff series with the Blazers.

The two teams will hook up again Saturday for the Blazers' home opener.

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