For the Kelowna Rockets, there continues to be no place like home.
Despite a minor scare in the third period, the Rockets tied a club record Wednesday night with their 18th consecutive victory on home ice, beating the Spokane Chiefs 5-3 at Prospera Place.
Kelowna won 18 straight home games during the 2002-03 campaign when current head coach Ryan Huska was in his first season with the team’s coaching staff.
That season, the Rockets won the WHL title.
“I think our players should be very proud,” Huska told AM 1150 following the game. “They’ve put themselves in some terrific company with that team from 02-03. I guess they’ve brought that feeling back into this rink again.
“We talked at the beginning of the year about re-establishing ourselves at home making everybody proud about what we’re able to do here, that includes some of our former players.”
The franchise record for consecutive home ice wins is 24, set during the 1992-93 season when the Rockets were based in Tacoma, Wash.
There were some nervous moments Wednesday for the home side which had built up a 4-0 lead through two periods. Spokane scored three straight goals in the final half of the third period to make it close, before Zach Franko sealed the game with an empty net marker with 62 seconds remaining in the game.
Captain Colton Sissons and rookie Rourke Chartier each had a goal and an assist to lead the Rockets attack.
Ryan Olsen, with his 21st of the season, and Tyrell Goulbourne also scored for the Rockets who are 9-0-1-0 in their last 10 games.
Alessio Bertaggia, with two goals a minute apart in the third, and Todd Fiddler replied for Spokane.
Kelowna goaltender Jordon Cooke finished the night with 17 stops for his club record 16th consecutive win.
The Rockets (32-10-2-1) were without leading scorer Myles Bell and defenceman Madison Bowey for Wednesday’s game.
Bell was sitting out the second and final game of a suspension for a checking from behind major last Friday against the Tri-City Americans. Bowey played with Team Orr Wednesday night at the NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game in Halifax.
Both will be back in the lineup as the Rockets will visit Spokane Friday. Kelowna then will pursue its team-record 19th straight home-ice win on Saturday night when the Vancouvver Giants visit Prospera Place.