Liam Kindree clears the puck away from the net of Roman Basran of the Kelowna Rockets after a shot by Alex Kannok Leipert of the Vancouver Giants during first period at Prospera Place on January 4, 2020 in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)

McDonald scores shootout winner as Rockets defeat Giants

Rockets’ goaltender Roman Basran made 23 saves in the win

The Kelowna Rockets got into the win column for the first time in 2020 with a 3-2 shootout win over the Vancouver Giants Saturday night at Prospera Place.

Conner McDonald was the hero, scoring the shootout winner, while Roman Basran made 23 saves to help the Rockets win their 20th game of the season.

Rockets’ Liam Kindree opened the scoring 16:32 into the game. His initial shot rebounded off a Giant defender’s skate blade right back to him and he fired his fourth goal in as many games over David Tendeck’s left shoulder.

Although, it didn’t take long for the Giants to respond as Holden Katzalay scored just 25 seconds later.

The game then remained tied through two periods until Giants leading scorer Tristan Nielsen pulled Vancouver in front early in the third. The Rockets would then answer with a goal from rookie sensation Pavel Novak just past the midway point of the period.

Overtime solved nothing and in the shootout, the Rockets shot first. Kelowna’s Matthew Wedman would score to keep the shootout even until Conner McDonald sealed the deal with a nifty deke to the forehand.

Kelowna outshot Vancouver 36-25.

Kelowna was 0-for-1 on the powerplay, while the Giants were 0-for-2 with the man advantage.

Rockets captain Nolan Foote and Team Canada will take on Russia in the gold medal game at the World Juniors tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. PT.

Kelowna’s next game is tomorrow afternoon on the road against the Tri-City Americans, puck drop is set for 4:05 p.m.

READ MORE: Canada downs Finland in world junior semis to set up gold-medal game with Russia


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