Rockets test goalies between pipes
The Kelowna Rockets split a pair of Western Hockey League exhibition games on the weekend, opening up with a win over the Kamloops Blazers before losing to Vancouver on Sunday.
It was the start of a six-game WHL exhibition schedule for the Rockets, who will play in a mini-tournament in Delta this coming weekend, playing B.C. division rivals Vancouver and Victoria.
On Saturday the Rockets held its annual season ticket holder barbecue before opening up with a 5-0 win over Kamloops, a shutout for goalie Jackson Whistle, who left the team to attend the Young Stars event in Penticton with the Vancouver Canucks.
Five different Rockets hit the scoresheet for Kelowna in the win as returning players Riley Stadel, Dalton Yorke, Cole Linaker and Joe Gatenby scored, along with prospect Jordan Borstmayer.
Kris Schmidli and Austin Glover chipped in with two helpers apiece.
On Sunday in Vancouver, the Rockets and Giants were tied 1-1 after two periods of play before the wheels came off and Vancouver scored five times in the third, to win 6-1.
European import Tomas Soustal was the lone Rocket to hit the scoresheet on Sunday. A native of the Czech Republic, Soustal was playing his first game as a Rocket after being drafted by the Rockets in the CHL import draft earlier this summer.
Goalies Jake Morrissey and Christopher Tai split duties for the Rockets in net on Sunday.
First year head coach Dan Lambert, who was joined by assistant Kris Mallette on the bench and Travis Crickard in the press box, said it was a good weekend of preparation after training camp.
“It was a good weekend for us to see some of our young guys play against other teams,” said Lambert.
“Sunday things happened a little quicker and we got ourselves in trouble in the third period but nothing we can’t work on,” he said.
The Rockets will continue the preseason next weekend as they travel back to the coast to take part in a mini tournament with games against the Giants on Sept. 6 and against the Victoria Royals on Sept. 7.
Kelowna has one remaining home exhibition as it will host the Royals on Sept. 13 before opening the WHL regular season at home on Sept. 20 against Kamloops.