Kelowna Rockets forward Justin Kirkland and Medicine Hat's Tyler Preziuso pursue the puck in WHL action Friday in WHL action at Prospera Place.

Linaker scores pair as Rockets tame Tigers

Kelowna scores first five against slumping Medicine Hat in WHL action Friday

The league-leading Kelowna Rockets overcame a slow start to take care of the slumping Medicine Hat Tigers with a 5-2 win in WHL action Friday night at Prospera Place.

Cole Linaker scored twice and Michael Herringer made 34 saves as the Rockets won their second straight, while handing the ice-cold Tigers their sixth straight loss.

The Rockets, who were being outshot 12-2 just 13 minutes in, survived the onslaught to score the game’s first five goals, including Linaker’s 10th and 11th of the season just 2:47 apart late in the opening period.

“We were fortunate to be in the position we were,” Rockets assistant coach Travis Crickard told AM 1150. “They had two glorious scoring chances basically on open nets and they missed both. I thought our team did a pretty good job of turning it around after that.”

Rookie defenceman Cal Foote and centre Tyson Baillie each had a goal and an assist as Kelowna won its seventh straight game on home ice.

Baillie, 20, tops the WHL in scoring with 18 goals and 49 points in 28 games.

Lucas Johansen also scored for the Rockets (21-6-1-0) who are five points up on Victoria and Red Deer for the WHL’s overall lead.

The Rockets will close out a three-game homestand Saturday against Portland, before heading out on a six-game eastern road trip, beginning Friday, Dec. 11 in Regina.


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