Dillon Dube, Calvin Thurkauf and Tomas Soustal were all back in the Kelowna Rockets’ lineup on Friday night.
It wasn’t enough as the hometown Kamloops Blazers downed the Rockets 3-1 at the Sandman centre, kicking off a weekend home-and-home set between the B.C. Division rivals.
Dube, who played for Canada just 24 hours earlier in the gold medal game at the world junior hockey championship in Montreal, scored the Rockets lone goal on a second-period power play.
Thurkauf (Switzerland) and Soustal (Czech Republic) also played their first games with Kelowna in almost a month after competing at the world junior championship.
Dylan Ferguson stopped 30 shots for the Blazers, who outshot Michael Herringer and the Rockets 36-31.
With the win, Kamloops (25-15-1-0) pulls three points ahead of the Rockets (23-15-1-0) who lost their fourth straight game.
It was a busy day on the trade market for the Rockets who acquired high-scoring forward Reid Gardiner from the Prince Albert Raiders.
Gardiner will be in the lineup Saturday when the Rockets host the Blazers, 7:05 p.m. at Prospera Place.