In an offensive funk for the better part of the previous week, the floodgates opened for the Kelowna Rockets on Monday afternoon.
Rourke Chartier scored a hat-trick, and Justin Kirkland and Tyson Baillie each had four points as the Rockets downed the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds 7-4 in a WHL matinee at Prospera Place.
Kelowna had scored just eight times while posting a 2-3-0-0 record in its previous five outings.
Head coach Brad Ralph was happy to see his team play to its potential after a rough stretch of games.
“We’re such a good hockey team when we work and we compete, you know not a lot of teams can hang with us,” said Ralph, whose team closed out a four-game homestand. “It’s a lot of fun watching them play that way, compete and win those battles.
“We’re a very good hockey team when we’re doing that.”
With the Rockets trailing 1-0, Chartier opened the scoring on a shorthanded breakaway in the second period, his first goal in six games.
The 19-year-old centre scored twice more in the third period, including the game winner at 12:34.
“From a personal standpoint it felt good, and I know there’s a lot of guys in that room (who feel the same), ” said Chartier, who has 14 goals in 24 games this season. “Some of us have been snake-bitten the last four or five games. I know it was nice to get seven tonight.”
Kirkland scored twice and added two assists, while Baillie notched his team-leading 31st goal of the season and had three assists.
Cole Linaker also scored for the Rockets, his 13th of the season and first goal in 23 games.
Michael Herringer, making his 16th consecutive start in the Kelowna net made 27 saves, while Logan Flodell made 34 stops for the Thunderbirds.
Rockets forward Nick Merkley and defenceman Joe Gatenby both sat out Monday’s game with injuries and are considered day-to-day.
The Rockets (37-14-3-0) and Thunderbirds will meet again Tuesday night in Kent, Wash.