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WHL  

Rockets salvage key point

The Kelowna Rockets came back from a three goal deficit, scoring three times in the final 10 minutes to salvage a crucial point in the fight for the final playoff spot in the BC Division of the WHL.

They weren't able to get the second point, falling 6-5 to the Spokane Chiefs in overtime.

The Rockets were in a dire spot, trailing 4-1 after 40 minutes to the Chiefs, while at the same time knowing Kamloops, just two points back, was winning easily over Victoria at home.

"We felt if there was a team that's shaky in their own end, that's the team," said Rockets coach Adam Foote.

"They've been playing a lot of hockey as of late, and they've had a tough schedule. We talked about getting one and it'll feel good, and we did."

The Chiefs jumped on the Rockets right off the opening faceoff. They won the draw and worked the puck into the Rockets end, where Kelowna native Jack Finley sent a one-timer from the slot past Roman Basran.

Nolan Foote tied it four minutes later, but a sharp-angle chip shot from Jaret Anderson-Dolan and a goal from Luke Toporowski gave the Chiefs a 3-1 lead after 20. Ethan McIndoe deflected in a point shot early in the second to give the Chiefs what looked to be a comfortable three-goal cushion.

The third period was all Rockets.

Michael Farren got the Rockets rolling 75 seconds into the third. His backhand pass toward the front of the net hit a Spokane skate and deflected past Bailey Brkin in the Spokane net.

The Chiefs restored the three-goal lead when Nolan Reid blasted a point shot past James Porter who replaced Basran after the Chiefs third goal.

Just seconds later, Foote notched his second with a wrist shot from the right circle.

Then, with two-and-a-half minutes to go, defenceman Kaeden Korczak sent a laser from the left point that beat Brkin wigth Porter on the bench for an extra attacker.

Kyle Topping completed the comeback on a power play with Porter again on the bench.

Topping took a pass from Foote and sent a wrist shot to the far corner.

The Rockets had a chance to end it seconds into overtime when Korczak broke up a play at his blueline and tried to get a clean break down the left wing.

He was impeded all the way down the ice, and his back pass for Foote was intercepted.

The Chiefs went the other way and Anderson-Donal converted a perfect centering pass on a two-on-one break to end it.

Korczak finished the night with three assists to go with his goal.

Nolan Foote, who also had an assist to go with his two goals, says he's been taking it upon himself to try and lead down the stretch.

"I thought going into the game if I'm playing my game, being physical and being a power forward, and putting the puck in the net. I feel when I'm playing my game the team will follow, and that';s exactly what happened," he said.

"There's no rest now. All the guys have to be going this weekend, and we'll need every one. It's a very big weekend and we're nearly tied with Kamloops right now, so our veteran players definitely have to step up and continue that."

The Blazers, who thumped the undermanned Victoria Royals 8-0 Wednesday, have now won four in a row to pull to within a single point of the Rockets.

Kamloops closes out the season this weekend with back-to-back games against Prince George while the Rockets face the division champion Vancouver Giants in a home-and-home to close things out.



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