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Ethan Neutens scored twice as the Rockets edged Wenatchee 5-4 in overtime

Rockets hit road on up note

Marek Rocak brought the Prospera Place crowd to its feet with a spectacular end-to-end rush in overtime leading the Kelowna Rockets to an entertaining 5-4 victory over the visiting Wenatchee Wild.

The Rockets second year defenceman skated the puck inside his own blue during the three-on-three overtime period then hit the jets as he turned up ice.

Rocek backed the Wenatchee defenders inside their blueline, split the defence to go in all alone before beating Brendan Gee with a deke to the backhand.

"It was pretty lucky I have to say but it worked so I'm happy, said Rocak of the game winner.

Head coach Kris Mallette says it a bit different.

"It was just like holy did that really just happen, and good on him," said Mallette.

"For him to take it into his own hands and the seas just kind of parted and he took what was there."

The goal atoned for a mistake in the defensive zone that led to Wenatchee's tying goal with five minutes left in regulation time.

The Rockets got off to a tremendous start when Andrew Cristall scored just 47 seconds in before many in the crowd had found their seats. Cristall took a cross-ice pass from Caden Price at the edge of the crease and waited for Gee to slide away from the post before tucking the puck in.

With the score tied 1-1 the Rockets had plenty of chances to build on the lead. Cristall missed the net from in close before Max Graham fanned on the puck facing a half open net on an odd man rush.

Ethan Neutens eventually restored the one-goal lead with his first of two on the night. Neutens won a faceoff and pushed the puck forward.

Gee poked at the puck but it caromed off Neutens' leg and into the net.

Neutens made it 3-1 68 seconds into the third taking the puck into the Wenatchee end and cutting through the slot before wiring a wrist shot just inside the far post.

The goals for Neutens were his second and third of the season.

"He's a big kid that can skate really well and has some good skill...we see it every day in practice and it was really nice to see it translate tonight," said Mallette.

"Two of this goals he has scored have come off draws and just going hard to the net and the second one he scored might have surprised a few people which was great."

Wenatchee drew even with goals 39 seconds apart. Briley Wood scored off a fortunate bounce on a power play then he did all the work behind the net to set up Miles Cooper for the tying marker.

The teams traded goals in the third with Gabriel Szturc giving the Rockets a brief one goal lead before Luka Shcherbyna tied it squeezing through the Rockets defence to deposit his own rebound.

The Rockets, winners of two in a row and three of four hit the road for seven in a row before the Christmas break. They head to Vancouver and Seattle this weekend before leaving next week for a five-game East Division road trip.

"This is nice, I haven't been out east for quite some time. It's always good to do that before Christmas time and it's even better to leave Kelowna with a win under your belt."



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