The Rockets beat the Victoria Royals 7-3 to kick off preseason on Friday, Sept. 17. (Paige Bednorz / Kelowna Rockets)

The Rockets beat the Victoria Royals 7-3 to kick off preseason on Friday, Sept. 17. (Paige Bednorz / Kelowna Rockets)

Kelowna Rockets start preseason with 7-3 victory

The Rockets are back in Kelowna Saturday night for their second game against the Victoria Royals

The Kelowna Rockets opened their four-game preseason with a 7-3 victory over the Victoria Royals on Sept. 17 at Prospera Place.

With the arena limited to 50 per cent capacity, there were still 1,695 fans who attended the first Rockets game open to the public since March 11, 2020.

The Rockets wasted no time and collected three goals on their first three shots of the game.

Turner McMillen, Max Graham and Dylan Wightman all scored within a span of 3:48.

Brayden Schuurman responded for the Royals, but Rockets’ import Gabriel Szturc re-established the Rockets three-goal lead before the end of the first period.

During the second period, Royals’ Reggie Newman tried to narrow the lead again, but a goal from Scott Cousins for the Rockets kept the advantage going into the third period.

The lead only grew as Kelowna’s Andrew Cristall and John Babcock found the back of the net in the third.

The final goal of the night went to Schuurman, who tallied his second of the game for the Royals just after the midpoint of the period.

Victoria’s goalkeeper Sebastian Wraneschitz stopped 18 of 24 shots before leaving in the third period with an injury. Tyler Palmer replaced Wraneschitz, stopping three of four shots.

Rockets 20-year-old netminder Cole Schwebius turned aside 17 of the 19 shots he faced through two periods of action, with his third period replacement Nicholas Cristiano stopping eight of the nine shots fired his way.

Kelowna will be back in action Saturday night when they take on the Victoria Royals again at Prospera Place, puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available at selectyourtickets.com, at the Prospera Place box office or by phone at 250-762-5050. Two dollars from each preseason ticket sold will be donated to Cops For Kids.

The Rockets are set to open their regular season on October 15 against the Kamloops Blazers.

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