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WHL  

Rockets snap latest skid

The Kelowna Rockets four-game losing streak is over.

The Rockets built a 2-0 first period lead, then literally held on for a 3-2 victory Friday over the Tri-City Americans.

Up a goal late in the game, the Rockets were forced to play a man down after Libor Zabransky was sent to the box for holding with 1:45 to go. With Beck Warm on the bench, the Americans had a six-on-four advantage.

The Rockets penalty kill, which had surrendered 12 goals in 21 chances over the last four games, held Tri-City at bay.

Leif Mattson blocked a shot just as time expired to seal the victory.

Assistant coach Kris Mallette, who works with the defence and penalty kill, said he implemented something different on the penalty kill earlier in the game.

On the final penalty kill, Mallette said the guys were sacrificing their bodies and admitted they got a few lucky bounces to close it out.

Rookie Dallon Wilton opened the scoring with his first career Western Hockey League goal.

Zabransky followed that up midway through the first with his first of the season.

The Americans got that back on a power play in the final minute of the first and, after a scoreless second, Kyle Topping scored what proved to be the game winner six minutes into the final frame.

Blake Stevenson pulled the Ams to within a goal midway through the period, but they were unable to get the equalizer past Roman Basran.

Connor Bruggen-Cate had a pair of assists in the game for the Rockets.

Basran turned away 20 shots to earn his first win of the season.

The Rockets power play continued to struggle, going 0-5 Friday. The penalty killing unit allowed just the one goal on six chances.

The Rockets and Tri-City get right back at it when they complete the home-and-home set Saturday at Prospera Place.

Kelowna will be looking for its first win on home on Saturday. They've opened the season 0-5 at Prospera Place.



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