A lot of hats were thrown onto the ice at Prospera Place on Wednesday night as Andrew Cristall and Carson Golder both netted hat tricks in the Kelowna Rockets 7-4 win over the Spokane Chiefs.
The teams exchanged goals in the first period when Golder scored his 26th of the season on the powerplay, followed by Chiefs’ Berkly Catton scoring to tie the game.
At the 11:28 mark of the second period, Cristall scored the WHL’s highlight of the night when he dangled around a defenceman and the goalie while looking like the puck was glued to his stick. It was his 31st goal of the year.
In the final minute of the frame, Cristall found the back of the net again, making it 3-1.
Early in the third period, Spokane made it when a one goal game when Chase Bertholet scored a shorthanded goal. But soon after, Golder took over the game.
In a 4:01 span, Golder scored his 27th and 28th goals this season to complete the hat trick and make it 5-2.
Just 42 seconds after Golder’s hat trick goal, Dylan Wightman scored his 11th of the season to make it 6-2. Since being elevated to the team’s top line last Friday in Edmonton, he has had four goals in his last four games.
The Chiefs scored twice in quick succession to make it 6-4 but that’s as close as they would make it.
With just under three minutes to go, Cristall scored into the empty net to make it 7-4 and complete his hat trick with his 33rd goal of the season.
Golder ended with a four-point night as he also collected an assist. On top of the hat trick, Cristall also finished the game with a +4 rating. Captain Gabriel Sztruc and forward Elias Carmichael each added three assists.
Cristall is ninth in scoring in the WHL with 33 goals and 42 assists (75 points) in 43 games this season. At that ratio, he is fourth in the league at points per game at 1.74.
Kelowna went 2/4 on the powerplay while Spokane went 0/6.
Despite Kelowna scoring seven goals, Spokane threw everything they could at Rockets goaltender Jari Kykkanen, who made 41 saves in the win. It was his 11th win of the campaign.
The Rockets still remain two points behind Vancouver for the seventh spot in the Western Conference as Vancouver also won on Wednesday night. Kelowna is 23-31-3-0 and has a 12-point lead on the ninth-place Victoria Royals.
Up next for the Rockets is a massive home-and-home weekend with the Kamloops Blazers. The two teams play in Kamloops on Friday night (March 3) and Kelowna on Saturday night (March 4).