The Kelowna Rockets are limping back home to the Okanagan with one point to show for a four game road trip and now mired in an eight game losing streak following a 5-3 defeat in Victoria Tuesday.
As if things couldn't get worse, leading scorer Andrew Cristall was out of the lineup Tuesday with an upper body injury suffered during the second period of Monday's overtime loss in Victoria and now forward Max Graham could be facing a suspension after he was assessed a major for a hit to the head of Nate Misskey 19 seconds into Tuesday's game.
Goaltender Jari Kykkanen who missed three games due to injury was back in the Rockets net Tuesday, but was pulled just 2:27 into the second after allowing four goals in just under five minutes of clock time spanning the final minutes of the first and the first few minutes of the second.
Kykkanen allowed five goals on 17 shots. Jake Pilon came on in relief, stopping all 14 shots he faced.
Marek Rocak opened the scoring just over a minute after the Rockets weathered Victoria's five-minute power play. He intercepted a clearing pass and batted a bouncing puck that appeared deflect in off a Victoria defenders stick.
The Royals responded with five goals from five different players to assume a 5-1 lead by 2:27 of the second.
Ethan Neutens with a nifty move from near the goal line got one of those back in the second before Tij Iginla closed out the scoring with a wrist shot from the slot midway through the third.
The Rockets were unable to climb any closer despite directing 14 shots toward starter Jayden Kraus.
The 7-11-2-0 Rockets return home to face the BC Division leading Prince George Cougars Friday