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WHL  

Rockets score three unanswered third period goals in come-from-behind win over Victoria

Rockets tame Royals

Jake Poole scored back-to-back goals in the third period including the game winner Tuesday lifting the Kelowna Rockets to a 5-3 come-from-behind win over the visiting Victoria Royals.

Trailing 3-2 coming into the third, Poole was sent in all alone, and deked to the backhand to beat Logan Cunningham in the Royals net.

Marcus Pacheco set up the goal with a no-look backhand pass to Poole as he was being hit along the left side boards.

Poole scored what proved to be the winner midway through the third, winning race to a loose puck deep in the Victoria end before sliding to his forehand to beat Cunningham.

Adam Kydd iced it into the empty net from inside his own blue line in the final minute.

The Rockets were without several players expected to lead the team this year who are either at NHL training camps or were given the night off.

That left the game in the hands of a younger core of players who, in the view of head coach Kris Mallette had some ups and downs.

I told the guys after the game I shouldn't have to be me this early in the season, and by that I mean I shouldn't have to remind players I've had in years previous to play a certain way," said Mallette.

"We made things difficult on each other, but in the third period I thought our group did what they needed to do.

"A lot of teachable moments in the first two periods, some good and a lot of interesting ones to say the least, but those are all decisions that are going to come, and if we want to get to where we need to be, those are habits that need to be broken."

Mallette says the coaching staff will use the tape from Tuesday's game to get across those points.

Pacheco scored the opening goal for the Rockets, pounding on a juicy rebound seven minutes.

Early in the second, with the score tied1-1, John Babcock again restored the one goal lead one-timing a pass that caromed off the side boards past a screened Cunningham.

The Royals scored goal a little more than two minutes apart late in the period to grab a one-goal lead.

Pacheco,one of those players being counted on to elevate his game this season, was easily the best Rocket on the ice.

The puck seemed to follow him whenever he was on the ice, and he elevated the play of whoever found themselves on his line.

"He was very consistent tonight. He's a player that has great speed, and I thought he built confidence.

"Obviously the first goal he scored, he went to the net hard off a rebound, great. From there he played a real consistent game.

"I thought a lot of our younger players...did what I asked."

Mallette says he expected Poole to come through with the type of roster the Rockets dressed.

The Rockets played much of the game short two forwards after both Dylan Wightman and Turner McMillen ,left with undisclosed injuries.

The extend of their injuries will be reassessed Wednesday.

The Rockets 2-1, close out the pre season this weekend with a home-and-home against the Vancouver Giants. The teams meet Friday at Prospera Place before returning to the coast for a Saturday tilt in Maple Ridge.



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