Cal Foote and the Kelowna Rockets will take on Jiri Smejkal and the division rival Kamloops Blazers for the third time in eight days Friday night at Prospera Place.

Blazers up first on three-game WHL weekend

Kelowna Rockets look for payback against Kamloops after losing twice to Don Hay's team last weekend

The Kelowna Rockets didn’t have much luck solving goalie Connor Ingram and the Kamloops Blazers last weekend.

The defending champs will get another crack at their B.C. Division rivals when the teams  face off Friday night at Prospera Place.

Ingram stifled the Rockets with 97 saves over two night, as the Blazers won both games 3-2.

Kelowna rebounded nicely on Wednesday with a 3-2 shootout win over the Prince George Cougars and will carry a better frame of mind into the weekend, which features three games in as many nights.

“It’s a huge weekend, three in three are never easy,” said Rockets head coach Brad Ralph. “We’ve been through it here over the last two months, so hopefully we’ve learned how to manage our game, be efficient and stay out of the penalty box.

“The guys were a little edgy about those losses (to Kamloops), and I thought they bounced back well (against Prince George.)

“We need to make sure we come back with another great effort on Friday.”

With a just a half dozen games remaining and the playoffs just around the corner, Ralph said nothing will come easy at this time of year.

“We’re learning that lesson here pretty quickly but that’s the way it goes, the hockey tightens up, everyone tightens up defensively and we’re seeing some goalies step up and show what they can do,” he said.

“I think we’re getting there as well. Our shots were way down (Wednesday) so there’s a lot of good signs we’re seeing.”

The Rockets (45-18-3-0) are trying to chase down the Victoria Royals (45-16-3-3) for first overall in the WHL. Kelowna trails the Royals by three points but does hold a game in hand.

The Rockets and Victoria will meet head on for the last time in the regular season next Wednesday at Prospera Place.

A CHL record fourth straight 50-win season is also still on the table for the Rockets who need five victories in the last six games to reach that precedent.

Baillie moving up…

Rockets forward Tyson Baillie scored his team-leading 39th goal of the season in Wednesday’s win over the Cougars and now has 304 career points, good for fifth all-time in franchise history. The 20-year-old Fort Saskatchewan, AB native is just six points back of Alan Egeland and nine behind Jason Deleurme (313) for third all-time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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