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WHL  

Ex-mate takes out Rockets

Brodan Salmond had this game circled on his calendar since the start of the season.

And, he didn't disappoint.

The former Kelowna Rocket turned away 18 shots to lead his Moose Jaw Warriors to a 5-1 victory over his former teammates.

He appeared to be heading toward toward his second shutout of the season when Kyle Topping beat him five-hole from the low slot with three minutes to go.

"I said to him after he scored, you couldn't just let me have it, but no," said Salmon after the game.

"I probably should have had that one, but at the end of the day we got the win, so it doesn't."

Salmond battled injuries and inconsistency during his two-plus season in Kelowna. He was released out right following last season.

"In the summer, I didn't know if I was going to have a spot to play, and I lucked out.

"I went to camp and made the team, and I've been going with it from there."

Despite the score, the Rockets were in it through the first half of the game. The only goal came off the stick of Carson Denomie four minutes in, when he tapped home a centering pass from down low.

"We were there the first 30. I thought we got some chances, and we missed a couple of point blank chances," said head coach Adam Foote.

"They get the second goal, a screen shot on the power play, but I thought we reacted OK. We had some chances on our power play, but once we didn't get one, I thought we were got deflated, especially when it got to 3-0."

Down 2-0 late in the second, Jett Woo, a draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, provided the last dagger with a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Roman Basran, who appeared to be screened, on the short side.

Moose Jaw chased Basran from the net with goals three-minutes apart midway through the third.

Through the five game skid, the Rockets appear sluggish at time, and at time seem to be trying to do too much.

Foote says a lot of it is mental.

"We've had a lot of changes as of late from the trade deadline. We've had some things not go our own way, probably more due to our own play.

"Right now...we're trying to figure out how to have some ownership and jump out of this as a group instead of feeling deflated and down.

Things don't get any easier for the Rockets who face the top two teams in the WHL this weekend.

They'll travel to Everett to face the Western Conference-leading Silvertips Friday before returning home to host the CHL's top ranked Prince Albert Raiders.

The Rockets are down to just 21 bodies on the active roster with Wednesday's sudden retirement of forward Erik Gardiner.

The team has just 12 forwards and seven defencemen, and can ill-afford any injuries as they attempt to snap out of their skid and hang on to a playoff spot.

The Rockets are just three points clear of Prince George and four up on Seattle in the fight for the final two berths in the west.



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