The Turkey legs were on more than the Christmas bird for these two teams,
This game didn’t have the usual Kamloops and Kelowna feel to it. Coming back from the holidays it can take a period or so for everyone to back into the motions and this game was no different. The first period was played with quite a few turnovers, a couple power plays both ways and no goals. Shots were 12-7 for Kelowna.
“A little bit too much of a feeling out process by both teams. The execution wasn’t where it needed to be. The effort was there and the desire was there,” said Serge Lajoie.
Continuing his hot play from the first period, goaltender Dylan Ferguson stopped another 11 shots in the 2nd showing yet again why the Vegas Golden Knights signed him to his ELC.
Ferguson made, what has to be considered as a candidate for save of the year when he reached back with his glove – Dominik Hasek like – to rob newly signed and Kelowna native Alex Swetlikoff of a sure goal.
Swetlikoff, playing in his first game for his hometown Kelowna Rockets had three shots on goal, was a minus-one and went 3/7 in the faceoff circle. Previously, the 17-year-old forward played for the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL and had 20 points in 27 games this season.
Later in the period, WHL Journeyman Lane Zablocki got credit for a puck that bounced off Montana Onyebuchi twice and by Ferguson, giving the Rockets the lead 1-0.
The game would stay tied into the third until Brodi Stuart scored while shorthanded off a pass from Martin Lang on a 2-on-1. The goal came after an incredible penalty kill that saw the Kamloops kill off an entire two minute 5-on-3.
“We talked before the game that special teams would have to be special, That big kill 5-on-3, and your best penalty killer has to be your goaltender and Fergy was phenomenal…You want to gain momentum off the kills, and I think that 5-on-3 was an energy booster for us. The bench really get energized,” Stuart said.
The energy in the building was as electric as it has been at anytime this year with the 4251 fans in attendance treated to a very entertaining matchup.
That energy dwindled slightly when Rockets’ defenceman Kaedan Korczak wired a wrister home from the point on the power play to take the lead with only 4:30 left in the game.
With just over a minute left, on their own power play, Zane Franklin took a shot from the left faceoff dot that found it’s way in the net to send the game to overtime. “I needed a little bit of luck I guess, we were running out of time so I just put it on net and it went off one of their d-man’s pads and Jermaine was doing a great job in front,” Franklin said.
Overtime showed pretty well between these two teams. Both seemed happy with the single point and really went after it to gain the second one up for grabs.
With just under a minute remaining in the overtime period none other than fan favourite Zane Franklin scored his 19th of the season on a nifty drag move to send the Sandman Centre faithful into a frenzy.
“I don’t really know, I saw I had and angle and the d-man was coming to cut me off so I just pulled it in and it worked out good.”
Kamloops heads off to Kelowna tomorrow and then back to the friendly confines of the Sandman Centre for a 5pm matchup on Sunday against the Prince George Cougars.