Kelowna Rockets grasp on the final Western Conference playoff spot has shrunk to a single point

Rockets losing playoff grip

There's still two-and-a-half months and 29 games left in the Western Hockey League's regular season.

But, the Kelowna Rockets who are treading water at best, floundering at worst, need to find the urgency to turn around a dreadful stretch which has seen the surging Victoria Royals climb to within a single point of the Rockets and the final Western Conference playoff berth.

The Royals completed a weekend sweep of the Rockets Saturday, doubling Kelowna 6-3 in the provincial capital.

Victoria, the hottest team in the Western Conference, is 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 while the Rockets are 1-9-0-0, having now lost four in a row.

When this stretch began, the Royals were 14 points in arrears of the Rockets who were making move on Vancouver and Prince George in the standings.

The Rockets were able to snap their goal scoring drought when Max Graham opened the scoring on a first period power play.

The goal 10:20 into the period was their first in 177 minutes and 34 seconds, nearly three full games.

Graham scored twice while Dyan Wightman also scored. All three goals coming on the power play.

Gabriel Szturc assisted on all three.

Matthew Hodson had two goals and an assist for the Royals while former Rocket Jake Poole had a pair of assists.

The game was tied at 1-1 after 20 minutes before the Royals broke the game open with three unanswered goals in the second to take a 4-1 lead.

The Rockets were able to claw back to within two on a couple of occasions, but were unable to get any closer.

Jari Kykkanen, who replaced starter Talyn Boyko in the first period of Friday's 4-0 loss went the distance Saturday, surrendering all six goals on 27 shots.

The power play, which has struggled of late along with the rest of the offence, struck for three goals on eight chances.

The Rockets are off now until Friday when they travel to Langley to face the Vancouver Giants. The same two teams will meet Saturday at Prospera Place.

Kelowna and Vancouver will face each other five times over a span of 14 days.

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