Kelowna Rockets forward Shane McColgan was still en route to Kelowna on the weekend when his teammates pulled out a Western Hockey League season opening win in Everett.
McColgan would have been handy to have around, with seven shooters used in a shootout as the Rockets beat Everett 5-4 on Saturday.
But Slovakian import Filip Vasko won the game while veteran Spencer Main and newcomer Myles Bell also scored in the shootout as the Rockets opened the season with a win.
The shootout victory came after Everett scored twice in the final three minutes of the third period to tie the game 4-4 and force overtime. Then goalie Adam Brown was forced to stop a penalty shot in OT before the Rockets won it in the shootout.
“I think for the first game there were a lot of good things happening,” said Rockets head coach Ryan Huska. “We took a penalty late in the third period that put us in trouble but we found a way to win.”
While the Rockets celebrated the win, McColgan touched down in Kelowna after being sent back to the Rockets from the New York Rangers training camp.
Huska said getting the team’s leading scorer back will add speed and offense and added McColgan’s work over the summer at the Team USA world junior camp and with the Rangers will make him a better all around player.
“The challenge for Shane is to develop a solid two way game,” said Huska. “He had good experiences over the summer and at the Rangers camp and he understands how hard you have to work to be a professional.”
Meanwhile the Rockets are still waiting to see how far forward Brett Bulmer will go at the Minnesota Wild’s NHL camp. Bulmer, 19, is having an excellent camp and has impressed with his combination of grit, size and skill.
“There’s a lot to like. We think he can be a big, strong power winger,” Wild GM Chuck Fletcher told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “We’ve got to do what’s right for the team and what’s right for Brett, and right now the right thing in both cases is to keep him here. He would love to stay here. He’s excited. But he recognizes when you’re 19, he’s going to have to be playing to be around here this season. So he has work to do to prove he belongs. This will be a big test for him. The pace of play will pick up this week, the games will get faster and the lineups will get stronger. We’ll see if he can continue to keep pace.”
The Rockets play their home opener this Saturday at Prospera Place as they host the Vancouver Giants in the team’s only game of the weekend.