Rockets edge Blazers in Gardiner’s debut

Newcomer Reid Gardiner scores in Kelowna debut and Kole Lind scores shootout winner as the Rockets end four-game slump Saturday

Reid Gardiner celebrates his first goal with the Kelowna Rockets during the third period Saturday at Prospera Place.

Reid Gardiner scored a goal in his first game as a member of the Kelowna Rockets.

The Rockets then rewarded their newest teammate with a win over the Kamloops Blazers.

Kole Lind scored the game winner in a shootout, as the Rockets downed the division rival Blazers 3-2 in WHL action Saturday at Prospera Place.

The win ended Kelowna’s (25-14-3-0) four-game losing streak, pulling the Rockets back to within two points of Kamloops for second spot in the B.C. Division.

On Friday, in the first of a home-and-home set in Kamloops, the Blazers beat the Rockets 3-1.

Gardiner, who the Rockets acquired Friday from the Prince Albert Raiders, scored 43 goals and 92 points last season in the WHL.

Down 2-1 in the third period, with the Rockets shorthanded, Gardiner beat Blazers’ goaltender Dylan Ferguson at 12:31 to force overtime.

The Humboldt, SK native and older brother of Rockets forward Erik Gardiner, started the season with Wllkes Barre/Scraton of the American Hockey League where he played in 26 games.

Nick Merkley also scored for the Rockets, while Brodan Salmond stopped 26 shots—and five more in the shootout—for his seventh win of the season.

The Rockets return to action with two games this coming week in Victoria against the Royals, Wednesday, Jan. 11 and Friday, Jan. 13.

 

 

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