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."

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