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Rockets thrill in opener

Dillon Hamaliuk was itching to play some meaningful hockey after a serious lower body injury derailed his season last December.

Hamaliuk, who was on pace for nearly a point per game in his draft year, missed the final 37 games because of the injury.

He was obtained by the Rockets along with defenceman Jake Lee and goaltender Cole Schwebius.

If first impressions are any indication, the deal was a steal for the Rockets.

Hamaliuk showed Rocket fans just what he can do when he is healthy, scoring twice, including the game winner with 0.1 seconds left in overtime, and adding a pair of assists in a thrilling 4-3 victory over Spokane to kick off the regular season.

Lee took the initial shot and, while the clock ticked down Hamaliuk banged home the rebound.

Ironically, Hamaliuk and Lee came to the Rockets together in a draft-day deal with the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Hamaliuk looked to have the hat trick, but a first period goal was called back when he was whistled for goaltender interference.

The Rockets in the first on a power play that went three-for-four on the night when Kyle Topping knocked in his first of the campaign.

The Chiefs scored two unanswered goal in the second to grab a 2-1 lead after 40, but Hamaliuk and the power play took over in the third.

Hamaliuk knocked home his first of the night on a rebound then, after the Chiefs regained the lead on a power play of their own, Hamaliuk set up Kaedan Korczak, who's point shot was deflected before beating Campbell Arnold for the tying goal.

Topping had a pair of assists, including a helper on the game winner, to go with his goal. Leif Mattson also had a pair of helpers.

Roman Basran earned his first win of the season, turning away 25 shots.

The Rockets played Saturday with just one regular missing from the line up. Forward Nolan Foote dressed Saturday for Tampa Bay in their NHL pre season game with in Nashville.

The Rockets are off now until next weekend when they play three games in three nights.

They're in Kamloops Friday, at home to Everett Saturday and travel to Vancouver Sunday.



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