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Rockets stave off Chiefs late comeback

Larry Brunt

The Kelowna Rockets opened their weekend with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Spokane Chiefs Friday night at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena in Spokane, WA.

Leif Mattson (21) got the Rockets on the board 5:26 into the game when he beat Bailey Brkin with a backhand shot. Dallon Wilton was called for holding 1:02 later, on the ensuing faceoff Kyle Topping was sent to the box as well for a faceoff violation giving the Chiefs a five on three advantage. While on the powerplay, Riley Woods (28) tied the game at 7:32. The two ended the first tied at one. Rockets starter, James Porter made 19 saves alone in the opening period.

In the second period, the Rockets headed to the power play after Jake McGrew was called for high sticking at 10:21. Thirty-four seconds later Ty Smith was also called for high sticking, but this was a double minor, giving the Rockets a five on three advantage. The Rockets pounced on their chance, Nolan Foote (30) regained the lead for the Rockets at 11:30. Bobby Russell interfered with Conner Bruggen-Cate, giving the Rockets another power play with under two minutes to play in the period. Cayde Augustine made a great pass for Alex Swetlikoff (3) to one time past Brikin at 17:58. The Rockets entered the second intermission up 3-1.

With Kaedan Korczak sitting in the box for tripping a Chief, Luke Toporowski (17) brought Spokane within one at 14:36 in the third period. With 37 seconds left in the third, the Chiefs pressed with their net empty, Luc Smith (26) netted the tying goal to force overtime.

The two went back and forth in extra time, but neither team could light the lamp. In the shootout, the Chiefs elected to shoot first. Jaret Anderson-Dolan was denied by James Porter, while Lassi Thomson netted his attempt. Adam Beckman was stopped, Nolan Foote with a chance to secure the victory made no mistake beating Brkin to lift the Rockets to a 4-3 win.

Kelowna’s record improves to 25-29-4-1.

Porter turned aside 40 of the 43 shots fired on him, and stopped both shooters in the shootout. His record moves to 8-13-2-1. The Chiefs outshot the Rockets 43-30.

The Rockets return to home to host the Kamloops Blazers tomorrow night for one of the biggest games of the year. Tickets are on sale at selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050.

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