Rocket rookies get valuable experience in Windsor

Jesse Lees, Tyson Baillie and Madison Bowey play at World U17 Challenge

There wasn’t a whole lot more Jesse Lees, Tyson Baillie and their Team Pacific teammates could have done.

The two Kelowna Rockets rookies helped Team Pacific to four wins in five games

at the World Under 17 Challenge this week in Windsor, Ont., but it was only good enough for a fifth-place finish in the 10-team annual tourney.

Pacific finished the round robin tied in its pool with both the U.S. and Russia with 3-1 records. But after a tie breaking formula involving goal differential among the three teams, Pacific was the odd team out by just one goal, while the U.S. and Russia advanced to the medal round.

In the fifth-place game on Tuesday, Team Pacific defeated Team Quebec 5-4 in overtime, with Lees picking up an assist.

“It was a little bit of tough luck for us that we didn’t get into the medal round, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” said Lees. “But it was really a good experience, great to play against other countries and your peers from across Canada.”

Lees, 16, was one of Team Pacific’s top defenceman at the tournament with five assists in five games, while Baillie recorded a goal and an assist during the week.

Given the chance in the future to play for his country, Lees said he would jump at the opportunity.

“For sure, I think it’s every kid’s dream to play for Canada,” Lees added. “This is one of the stepping stones and I hope there are more of them down the road for me.”

Okanagan Rockets manager Dave Michaud also served on Team Pacific as the assistant director

One other Rockets rookie, defenceman Madison Bowey, played at the U17 Challenge with Team West. Bowey scored a goal in the 9th-10th place game on Tuesday as Team West lost to Team Germany 6-3.

The three rookies will rejoin the Rockets this weekend in Victoria as the WHL team plays a

Friday and Saturday against the Royals.

Kelowna will play its next six games on the road, including Jan. 11 and 13 in Portland, Jan. 14 in Vancouver and Jan. 15 in Everett.

The Rockets next home action is Wednesday, Jan. 18 vs the Silvertips.


Kelowna Capital News