Kamloops Blazers won their 4th straight over Kelowna Rockets

Blazers dominate Rockets

The Kamloops Blazers dominance over the Kelowna Rockets continued Monday.

The Blazers beat the Rockets for the fourth straight time this season, a 5-2 holiday afternoon victory Monday.

The win streak is 10 games dating back to last season.

Orrin Centazzo scored twice for the Blazers while Zane Franklin added three assists. Connor Zary had a goal and an assist.

The Rockets came out strong in the opening 20 minutes, but found themselves down a goal after Centazzo beat starter Cole Schwebius on the power play midway through the opening frame.

They doubled the lead six minutes into the second before Nolan Foote, back following a one-game suspension, cut the deficit to one deflecting home Kaeden Korczak's point shot.

The Rockets made a goaltending change after the Foote goal and, moments later, the Blazers padded their lead with goals less than a minute apart on Roman Basran.

Centazzo upped the lead to 5-1 on a power play early in the third.

Mark Liwiski closed out the scoring past the midway mark of the third when he powered the puck into the net just as the goal was being dislodged from its supports.

After a lengthy review, the goal stood.

The Rockets, who have now lost four in a row, could also lose the services of rookie forward Pavel Novak, who was handed a major penalty and game misconduct for a check from behind late in the second period.

The Rockets have the balance of the week to try and right the ship before hosting the same Blazers Saturday at Prospera Place.


Kelowna Rockets fell 6-1 Saturday in Spokane

Rockets skid continues

The Kelowna Rockets struggles behind their own blueline continued Saturday.

The Rockets dropped their third in a row, falling 6-1 to the Spokane Chiefs.

Over the span of the three games, the Rockets have surrendered 20 goals.

The Rockets opened the scoring Saturday, but it was all Spokane from there, as the pummeled goaltender Cole Schwebius with 55 shots over the course of the evening.

Mark Liwiski got the Rockets on the board 5:19 into the game. The unassisted marker was his second of the season.

Luke Toporowski pulled the Chiefs even four minutes later, then Filip Kral out the Chiefs up for good just 40 seconds into the second.

The Rockets appeared to tie it moments later, the the goal was waved off when it was deemed Dallon Wilton had made contact with the Spokane netminder.

Jack Finley and Bobby Russell doubled the lead before the end of the second before the Chiefs put the game out of reach with two more unanswered goals in the third.

The game deteriorated midway through the final period.

Rocket forward Ethan Ernst and Jordan Chudley engaged in a fight, then 12 seconds later, most everyone on the ice got involved in a donneybrook.

Liwiski and Michael King were involved in an initial fight, the Alex Swetlikoff and Connor Gabruch got involved in a second fight, resulting in automatic game misconducts.

When the dust had settled, 76 minutes in penalties had been handed out.

In all, 150 minutes in penalties were dished out to the two teams through the course of the contest.

The Rockets played Saturday without captain Nolan Foote, who was slapped with a one-game suspension for a check to the head penalty assessed Friday night.

The Rockets look to right the ship Monday, when they face the BC Division leading Blazers in Kamloops

High-flying Tigers lay eight on Kelowna Rockets

Tigers tame Rockets

Trevor Longo snapped a 5-5 tie 12 minutes into the third period as the Medicine Hat Tigers outlasted the Kelowna Rockets 8-5 Friday at Prospera Place.

Leif Mattson had evened the score at 5-5, but a minute later, a shot from the point hit a Tiger in from of Roman Basran. The rebound fell to Longo, who swept the puck past the Rocket netminder.

Corson Hopwo and Eric Van Impe into an empty net sealed the victory.

The game was very reminiscent to Wednesday tilt with Victoria. The Rockets held the edge in play for a large part of the game, but defensive mistakes led to their downfall.

"There were a lot of positives. We had some breakdowns defensively, but we came back and that's a good sign for sure," said Rockets head coach Adam Foote.

The Tigers led 2-1 after the opening 20 minutes, but the Rockets managed to tie it just 52 seconds into the middle frame.

Eric Comrie sent a pass toward the slot that Pavel Novak tipped to Alex Swetlikoff. His wrist shot beat Mads Sogaard high to the blocker side, deadlocking the game at 2-2.

But, a couple of penalties to Kobe Mohr and a five-minute major to Nolan Foote for a check to the head in quick succession turned the game in the Tigers favour.

They scored three times in just under four minutes, two with the man advantage to grab a 5-2 lead.

"We owned the game until they gave the Mohr that penalty. They had 10 shots with 15 minutes left in the second period, then they got seven straight minutes of power play time to our zero," said Foote.

"From that moment forward...I mean, that's kind of odd to me, I don't know how you explain that. It took the momentum right out of us, killing seven in a row."

The Rockets did battle back.

Michael Farren backhanded home his own rebound with the Rockets still shorthanded, and Mattson tapped in a rebound from the edge of the crease before the second period ended to pull the Rockets to within a goal.

Mattson, who scored 47 times the last two seasons, is finally seeing the puck go in after a slow start to the season. He has four goals in his last six games after starting the season goalless in the first 11.

"It's nice...I've been trying not to think about it too much, and still playing the way I know I can play," said Mattson.

"It's nice to get in a couple for me and, like you said, it would be nicer in a win, but hopefully I can keep it going tomorrow and we can keep it going tomorrow."

The Rockets don't have much time to work on shoring up the defensive side of the game. They play in Spokane Saturday and Kamloops for a holiday afternoon tilt Monday.

"We just have to keep working on it," said Foote.

"We have to really watch the middle of the ice. We're letting teams come down with speed. It's a little bit bizarre, but we'll have to try and fix that."


Victoria Royals doubled up the Kelowna Rockets 6-3 Wednesday

Rockets miscues magnified

The Victoria Royals only managed a handful of scoring chances Wednesday at Prospera Place.

Turns out, that's all they needed in a 6-3 victory over the Kelowna Rockets.

The Royals scored three times on their first six shots, and got three more on their last six.

In between, the Rockets had the better of the play, more scoring chances and many more shots, but were unable to outscore their defensive miscues.

"After one mistake, you don't want to make a layer of mistakes, but I felt the first two goals were backed up by a second mistake," said head coach Adam Foote.

"It seemed like we weren't quite on tonight, and when that happens you just get puck focussed and you don't see guys flying to rebounds or the week side of the ice open. I felt there was a lot of that going on in our game.

"We out-chanced them, we outshot them, but our big mistakes went in our net. They didn't have too many big mistakes, and it's hard to come back from that."

Early on, it looked as if both teams could get to double digits. The game was barely 10 minutes old, and the Royals held a 3-2 lead.

The Royals hit the scoreboard first with a power play goals just 75 seconds in. The Rockets got that one back a minute and change later on their own power play.

Pavel Novak's initial shot was stopped by Brock Gould, but the rebound bounced high in the air in front of him. Leif Mattson took a swing at the puck before it eventually went behind Gould.

The goal was initially waved off, but upon video review, it was determined it had deflected off Victoria defenceman Will Warm's elbow. Novak was credited with his 10th of the season.

Jake Poole gave the Rockets a short-lived 2-1 lead three minutes later, but, two defensive mistakes led to a pair of Victoria goals, and the end of Roman Basran's night.

"I wouldn't put the first two on him, but I could sense something was off, which is OK.

"He can't be saving our bacon every time we fall asleep, so it's not on him for sure."

The Rockets came out flying in the second, and were rewarded when Alex Swetlikoff beat Gould from the top of the right faceoff circle just as a Royals penalty had expired.

But, goals two minutes part from defenceman Mitch Prowse and Sean Gulak gave the Royals a two-goal edge.

"We had a good push there through my goal. We were right there with them, but some turnovers, some penalties and they score...that's the way it goes," said Swetlikoff.

The Royals put it away late when Tarun Fizer beat Cole Schwebius on a Victoria power play.

The loss snapped the Rockets two-game winning streak.

The Rockets are at it again Friday when they host the Medicine Hat Tigers.

The game kicks off a busy weekend for the Rockets, who hit the road for games in Spokane Saturday and Kamloops for a holiday Monday afternoon tilt.

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