Dillon Dube and Cal Foote were back together on the ice for the first time since winning gold with Team Canada earlier this month at the world junior championship in Buffalo.
The two proved a winning combination again on Wednesday night in leading the Kelowna Rockets to a 4-3 overtime victory over Lethbridge Hurricanes in WHL action at Prospera Place.
Dube scored once and added an assist in his first game with the club since Dec. 9, while Foote netted the game winner at 2:55 of the extra period as the Rockets won for the 10th time in the last 12 games.
Kelowna (28-13-2-1) led 3-1 midway in the second period, only to watch the Hurricanes score back-to-back goals to force overtime.
Foote’s winner, his eighth of the season, came on a set up from Dube not long after the Rockets killed off a Hurricanes power play early in OT.
While not a picture perfect effort, Rockets head coach Jason Smith was happy to come away with two points.
“There was some good, some bad but it’s nice to come out on top,” Smith said. “We did some real good things early to get up 3-1 and then started to not execute and make good decisions with the puck like you need to close the game out.”
Conner Bruggen-Cate scored twice for the Rockets, including once on a second-period breakaway, and has six goals in his last seven games.
With both James Porter and Roman Basran injured, Brodan Salmond made his first start for the Rockets in more than two months and made 31 saves for the win.
Smith said Salmond—who hadn’t played since Nov. 4 due to injury—made the necessary stops to help the Rockets get the win.
“He competed and made some big saves when he had to,” Smith said. “He gave us a chance to win the game, I think I’ve said that a lot this year that the goalie’s got to give us a chance to win the game and we believe we have the right guys in the room that will score enough goals to win.”
Porter is sidelined with an upper body injury and won’t play this weekend, while a lower body injury has Basran shelved indefinitely.
Dube and Foote were honoured prior to Wednesday’s game for their gold medal wins with Canada’s national junior squad.
While Foote returned to the Rockets’ last Wednesday, a bout of the flu kept Dube out of the lineup for an extra week.
The Rockets will be in Kent, WA Friday to take on the Seattle Thunderbirds, before returning home Saturday to host the Victoria Royals. Face off at Prospera Place is 7:05 p.m.
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