The visiting Kelowna Rockets (25-15-3-0, 53pts) struck twice late to come from behind and defeat the Victoria Royals 4-3 Wednesday night.
“We had a couple mistakes that cost us a hockey game…we did more than enough to create opportunities, we had the puck in right places, but mistakes at this time of year are critical.” said Royals Head Coach Dave Lowry,
The Royals (22-17-4-0, 48pts) held a 2-1 lead going to the third, and were up 3-2 in the final frame, but were unable to hold off the 3rd place Rockets who win their 2nd in a row and move 5 points ahead their divisional rivals.
“These games are hard fought, and for us it’s learning how to play at this time of year,” said Lowry,
“You have to win your battles, we had a couple pucks we didn’t finish, didn’t get the clears and it ends up costing us.”
Cal Foote tied the game on the power play with just over 5 minutes to go, and just :38 seconds later Calvin Thurkauff buried a rebound for the eventual game winner.
Kelowna out shot Victoria 36-22 overall, with Michael Herringer earning the win and Griffen Outhouse making 32 saves in the defeat.
The Royals were 1 for 8 on the power play, while the Rockets went 1 for 4.
Victoria got goals from Vladimir Bobylev (1g 2a) who had a 3 point night, Ryan Peckford and Matthew Phillips who had given the home side a 3-2 lead midway through the 3rd.
Kelowna got a goal and assist nights from Dillon Dube, the games first star, along with Foote. Thomas Soustal opened the scoring, while Kole Lind had 3 assists, and his line with Dube and Soustal collected 6 points.
Royals defenseman Loch Morrison made his debut for the club who acquired him from the Raiders.
“I thought he came in and settled the game down for us…” said Lowry on the 19 year old rearguard,
“He gave us a little bit more size, has an understanding on how to play and for us that’s what we expect.”
Victoria dropped their second in a row after settling for a split in Prince George over the weekend.
Kelowna now leads the season series 3 games to 2.
The two clubs will clash again Friday night.
– Marlon Martens
Kelowna Rockets 4 at Victoria Royals 3 – Status: Final
Wednesday, January 11, 2017 – Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena – Victoria, BC
Kelowna 1 0 3 – 4
Victoria 0 2 1 – 3
1, Kelowna, Soustal 13 (Lind, Dube), 12:43.
Penalties-Hilsendager Kel (high sticking, high sticking), 0:47; Dube Kel (elbowing), 15:42; Lind Kel (slashing), 19:25; Bargar Vic (roughing), 19:25; Gagnon Vic (roughing), 19:25.
2, Victoria, Bobylev 3 (Morrison, Walford), 2:28.
3, Victoria, Peckford 13 (Bobylev, Nagy), 15:33 (PP).
Penalties-Soustal Kel (high sticking), 5:30; Oliver Vic (tripping), 10:44; Southam Kel (tripping), 11:08; Chizen Kel (holding), 14:00; Dube Kel (interference), 16:33; Thurkauf Kel (slashing), 19:47.
4, Kelowna, Dube 3 (Foote, Lind), 8:32.
5, Victoria, Phillips 27 (Bobylev), 11:59.
6, Kelowna, Foote 4 (Southam, Lind), 14:36 (PP).
7, Kelowna, Thurkauf 18 (Stephens, Gardiner), 15:14.
Penalties-Walford Vic (high sticking), 5:23; Oliver Vic (tripping), 13:19; Southam Kel (roughing), 14:44; Hannoun Vic (unsportsmanlike cnd.), 14:44.
Shots on Goal-
Power Play Opportunities-
Kelowna 1 / 4;
Victoria 1 / 8.
Goalies-Kelowna, Herringer 18-10-2-0 (22 shots-19 saves). Victoria, Outhouse 22-14-3-0 (36 shots-32 saves).
Referees-Ryan Benbow (62), Sean Raphael (28).
Linesmen-Jeff MacAdams, Kirk Van Helvoirt (107).