Rockets road woes continue

The Kelowna Rockets dropped its third straight road game on Wednesday night, a 6-2 decision to the Spokane Chiefs in front of 4,519 fans at the Veterans Memorial Center.

It was the Rockets third straight loss on the road and second straight in which the team has given up six goals.

Zach Fischer opened the scoring for the Chiefs at 3:57 and Filip Kral extended the lead at 15:20 with a shorthanded marker. It was the third shorthanded goal Kelowna has surrendered this season through 23 games. Last year, the Rockets were the only team in the WHL that did not give up a shorthanded tally during the regular season.

Midway through the second period, Kelowna tied the affair with a pair of goals just 16 seconds apart.

Conner Bruggen-Cate

Connor Bruggen-Cate scored his fourth of the season from Libor Zabransky and Leif Mattson at 10:53, then Carsen Twarynski potted his 13th from Mattson and Braydyn Chizen at 11:09. Mattson, in his second season with the Rockets, has sored seven goals and added eight assists in 14 games this season and has hit the scoresheet in 10 of his last 12 games.

Carsen Twarynski

But Spokane would respond late in the frame with two more goals to take a 4-2 lead into the third frame.

Ethan McIndoe beat Rockets goaltender James Porter at 17:23, but the game’s turning point would come just a couple of minutes later.

Eli Zummack, a Kelowna-native in his second WHL season, beat Porter at the 19:59 mark.

Through two periods, Spokane dominated on the shot clock, directing 30 shots at Porter while Dawson Weatherill in the Chiefs net faced only 11 shots.

Milos Fafrak and Riley Woods scored in the final four minutes to make it a 6-2 verdict for Spokane, who would go on to out-shoot the Rockets 46-20 on the night.

With the win, Spokane inproves to 12-8-1-2 while the Rockets drop to 12-8-2-1. The three Stars were Fischer, Zummack and Fafrak.

Rockets Fuel…Dillon Dube and Jack Cowell were back in the lineup for Kelowna after sitting out the last game in Vancouver, a 6-1 loss to the Giants…Kole Lind, Erik Gardiner and Nolan Foote did not play…Kelowna was 0-for-4 on the power play and Spokane went 0-for 3…Kailer Yamamato added an assist on Spokane’s shorthanded goal and has six points in five games since returning to the WHL from the Edmonton Oilers… Last season, Kelowna and Spokane met four times, with Spokane winning three times in overtime…The Rockets face the Giants on Friday in Langley before returning home to meet the Central Divison leading Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday at Prospera Place…Elsewhere in the WHL on Wednesday night, a couple of Central Division teams combined to help Kelowna’s cause. The Prince George Cougars dropped a 7-4 decision to the Tigers at the CN Centre, while the Vancouver Giants lost 5-2 to the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the Langley Events Centre…The second-place Rockets remain six points behind the Victoria Royals, three points ahead of the Giants and five points in front of the Cougars.

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Glen Erickson

WHL supporter for more than 40 years. Spent the past 11 years in Kelowna, B.C. as WHL Writer for Hockey’s Future, collaborating on prospect rankings, covered two World Junior Championships, four Top Prospects Games, and a handful of Canada/Russia Super Series events. Still feel the sting from my beloved Saskatoon Blades never winning a league title, but enjoyed witnessing the Kelowna Rockets win two WHL championships on home ice. The passion of the players continues to draw me to the rink.