Rockets Finish On A High

Chris Ray wanted to close out his Western Hockey League career with a bang and he did just that.

Just 24 hours after scoring the shootout winner in a 3-2 win over Kamloops, Ray was the best player on the ice, leading the Kelowna Rockets to a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Prince George Cougars.

Ray had several good chances to score, the best coming on a breakaway midway through the third period. His shot directed at the top corner sailed high and wide.

He laid it all on the line, as evidenced by his hustle in the dying moments as he raced down the right wing after a loose puck. Cougars netminder Scott Bowles met Ray along the boards, sending the Rockets forward sprawling to the ice.

"It just shows the type of character Chris Ray has," says James McEwan. "On and off the ice I look up to him so much. It was a pleasure to play with a guy with such character and such a work ethic."

Myles MacRae with his 13th and 14th of the season and Cody Almond with his 15th scored for the Rockets. Almond also added an assist.

While Ray, David Schulz and Clayton Barthel are moving on, McEwan and 20 other players are still hoping to find a spot with the team next season.

While change is inevitable in junior hockey, the players eligible to return certainly made a statement over the past two games.

"I just finished telling the guys in the room that I was extremely proud of how the guys handled themselves over the last two days," says head coach Jeff Truitt.

He says it's not easy getting ready to play when there is nothing on the line as far as the playoffs are concerned.

"I thought our younger guys did a great job, and I thought Chris Ray really stepped up a level with his leadership and his effort knowing he would be finished at the end of the night."

Ray is the last remaining player from the Rockets 2004 Memorial Cup championship team.

The Rockets will now prepare for the bantam draft and the European draft later this Spring.

More WHL articles