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A costly Rockets win

The Kelowna Rockets may have paid a heavy price in salvaging one win over the Victoria Royals.

Both Kole Lind and starting goaltender James Porter left Monday's 5-4 Family Day matinee with injuries.

Lind may have suffered a concussion after he was hit high by Ralph Jarrett while cutting through the slot. Lind lay on the ice for several minutes before being helped off the ice.

Fans wanted a penalty for what many in attendance thought was a high hit, but the only minor went to the Rockets bench for seemingly voicing their displeasure over the non-call.

"I don't really have any comment on the hit because the league will look at that, and there may be some decisions on what they thought, whether it was a clean hit or not a clean hit," said Rockets head coach Jason Smith.

Dillon Dube, who had a rare game on a line with Lind, didn't say much about the hit.

"It was tough...it was a hit, it happened," said Dube.

"I think everybody took his number...but we didn't do anything stupid because obviously it was a big game for us, and we couldn't take ourselves out of it.

Porter limped to the dressing room after Dillon Dube knocked Royals forward Igor Martynov into the Rockets' goaltender on a strong back-check.

Kyle Pow and Braydon Buziak set the tone for Monday's game, the third between the fierce BC Division in less than 72 hours, off the opening faceoff.

The two dropped their gloves in a spirited tilt just 10 seconds into the contest. Both players were ejected.

Moments later, Rockets defenceman Gordie Ballhorn leveled Martynov with a clean open ice hit near centre ice.

As for the game itself, despite a strong start, and the better of the early chances, it was the Royals who hit the scoresheet first when Matthew Phillips beat Porter on a penalty shot five minutes in.

Lind got that one back seconds later when he streaked into the Royals zone, backed off the defence, and beat Griffen Outhouse with a wrist shot to the far side.

Noah Gregor restored the one goal Victoria lead, but again, it was Lind who tied it, deflecting Cal Foote's point shot on a Kelowna power play.

The Rockets broke the game open with three unanswered goals over the first 14 minutes of the second.

Dube tipped home Connor Bruggen-Cate's centering pass for his 25th of the season, Carson Twarynski beat Outhouse to the blocker side from in close, and Gordie Ballhorn blasted home the eventual game winner on an other Kelowna power play.

Tyler Soy late in the second and Andrei Grishakov 11 minutes into the third pulled the Royals to within a goal, but that was as far as they got.

"It was obviously good for the group to bounce back after a couple of disappointing games in Victoria," said Smith.

"We played a pretty solid game, and did some pretty good things."

The weekend marked the final time these teams will meet this season, unless they face off with each other in the playoffs.

With both holding serve on home ice, it shows how important home ice could be it they do meet in the post season.

"It is. We've been really good on home ice so far this year, and we've been rolling here. I think we have a lot of confidence," added Dube.

"We won in their rink before this year, so I think it'll be fine."

The Rockets hold the slight edge, a single point better than the Royals, with two games in hand.

Kelowna gets a much needed break from playing Tuesday before starting another three-in-four-night stretch.

They'll host Red Deer on Valentine's evening Wednesday before travelling to Kamloops Friday and returning home to host Edmonton Saturday.



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