Kelowna Rockets’ winning streak doused by Blazers

Kamloops wins 5-1 over division rivals Tuesday in WHL play at Prospera Place, halting the Rockets recent run at six games

Kelowna Rockets' centre Nick Merkley goes on the attack with Kamloops forward Nick Chyzowski in pursuit in WHL action Tuesday night at Prospera Place.

The B.C. Division-rival Kamloops Blazers brought the Kelowna Rockets back to earth on Tuesday night.

Devin Sideroff scored twice and captain Colin Shirley had three assists to lead the Blazers to a 5-1 victory at Prospera Place, ending the Rockets’ six-game Western Hockey League winning streak.

Based on his team’s effort, Rockets’ head coach Jason Smith said the end result wasn’t a big surprise.

“We pretty much got what we deserved,” said Smith. “We took penalties, we didn’t compete hard enough, and we didn’t play the structural game we needed to play.

“They were the better team, they worked harder and they worked smarter,” he said of the Blazers.

The Blazers, who jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, were a step ahead of the Rockets for much of the night, and outshot Kelowna 39-21.

Nick Merkley scored the lone goal for Kelowna (9-8-0) on a late first-period power play, but that was all the Rockets could muster with the man advantage.

The Rockets failed to scored on a pair of 5-on-3 power play chances and finished the night 1-for-7.

“Most of that was refusing to shoot the puck,” Smith said of his team’s lack of success with the extra man. “I think we had opportunities where we could shoot the puck and create a second, third and fourth chance off a rebound where wanted to make one more pass, then the lane was gone, we were under pressure and didn’t get the puck to the net.”

Merkley said the Rockets failed to match the Blazers’ intensity and suffered the consequences because of it.

“Obviously it’s a rival game and we want to win those,” Merkley said. “I just thought we needed more emotion, I mean you gotta get up for those games and obviously they did.

“Definitely next time we’re going to bring a lot more to the plate.”

Merkley, who has scored his first three goals of the season in the last three games, now has eight points in 12  games since returning from off-season knee surgery and the camp of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

The 19-year-old Calgary native said he’s growing more comfortable with each outing.

“I’ve kind of settled in with my linemates, (Thurkuaf) has been playing great, he’s creating a lot of opportunities for us, and then just getting to the net,” Merkley said. “Then obviously with my injury it’s just kind of settling back in and getting used to the pace again.”

Connor Ingram stopped 20 shots in the Blazers’ net, while Michael Herringer made 34 saves for Kelowna.

The Rockets return to action Friday night in Langley against the Vancouver Giants. The Medicine Hat Tigers will visit Prospera Place on Saturday. Face off is 7:05 p.m.

Just Posted

JoeAnna’s House fundraising campaign reaches $4.5 million

Offering ‘home away from home’ for families of KGH patients

2014 murder case finally goes to trial

Steven Randy Pirko was charged with second-degree murder in 2016

Flood recovery work set to begin in Kelowna

The first phase of $5 million dollar flood recovery plan for Upper Vernon Creek will begin on Monday

Kelowna exhibition showcases nature of Haida Gwaii

The Kelowna Art Gallery is holding a reception for Gwaii Haanas – Islands and Sacred Sites Friday

Accused in Kelowna murder heads to court

Chad Alphonse is accused of killing Waylon Percy Junior Jackson, back in 2016

Canadian junior captain returns to Rockets lineup

Dillon Dube will be back in Kelowna’s lineup Wednesday night after world juniors and bout of flu

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

Public asked to report bat sightings

White nose syndrome leads to bats flying in winter or death.

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Song penned for Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Curling Time released to celebrate Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Most Read