Gardiner returns to Rockets

Erik Gardiner is finally returning to the Kelowna Rockets lineup.

The 18-year-old forward made the trip with the team to Victoria Thursday. He'll be in the lineup when the Rockets and Royals kick off a crucial three game weekend in the provincial capital.

Gardiner has been out of the Rockets lineup since taking a puck to the helmet while trying to block a shot late in the third period of a 4-3 overtime win over Tri-City Oct. 27.

Gardiner briefly left the game before returning to assist on the game winning goal.

He played the following night against Prince George, picking up a pair of assists, but has not played since.

Prior to the injury, Gardiner had tallied three goals and 10 assists in 12 games.

The Rockets and Royals meet three times in a span of less than 72 hours.

They play back-to-back games in Victoria Friday and Saturday before making the trip back to the Okanagan for a BC Day Monday matinee at Prospera Place.

Kelowna holds a two-point lead on Victoria in the fight for top spot in the BC Division. The Rockets also hold two games in hand.

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