Giants player checks Rockets Lassi Thomson during Wednesday’s game. Photo: Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze

Rockets lose defensive battle to Vancouver Giants

In a tight 2-1 loss, the Rockets’ home ice winning streak is snapped

The Kelowna Rockets played the second best team in the league last Saturday, and they lost the tight battle 2-1 to the Everett Silvertips. On Wednesday, they played the third best team in the league, the Vancouver Giants, and lost 2-1. So, if there’s any good to take from back to back losses, it’s that the Rockets can often compete with the leagues’ best.

Head coach Adam Foote says the team faced some adversity in the past two losses.

“We were right there again, and we fought hard,” said Foote. “We hung in there for a chance to get a point or a win.”

Last time the Giants were in town, the Rockets were rolled over in a 5-0 loss. It seemed clear that the Rockets weren’t keen on letting that happen again as they came out with fire and with physical play.

The Giants came out with some energy as well, matching the Rockets’ physical play. Rockets goalie Roman Basran, making his 20th start of the season, drew a delay of game penalty when trying to clear the puck to help his team on a change. The Giants would only need 59 seconds to capitalize on the power-play with a shot from Giants defenceman Dylan Plouffe that beat Basran top corner. Minutes later, the Rockets found themselves a man down again, this time a result of the big 6’5 Brydyn Chizen going to the box for fighting. But the “November Man”, Nolan Foote who has 11 points in the month, struck again on the penalty kill, and tied the game at one at the end of the first period.

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The physicality continued into the second period with both teams looking for an edge to get a goal up. The Giants would come away with some luck and secure a goal lead when Milos Roman, the Giants’ leading scorer, picked off a pass from the Rockets’ defence and put a quick and well placed shot past Basran for a 2-1 lead. The Rockets would kill two more penalties in the period to ensure only a single goal deficit going into the third period.

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Down a goal to start the third, the Rockets tried to match that first period energy. But the Giants showed poise and controlled the puck while crashing the net hard on every opportunity, staying on the fore-check, and keeping physical with the Rockets’ skaters. The Rockets would get back to back power-plays halfway through the third, and with only 13 shots at this point in the game, the Rockets needed a lift.

But the launch would be interrupted as the Giants held off the Rockets’ desperate pushes to tie the game. The Giants would skate away with the 2-1 win.

Rockets defenceman Dalton Gally took the positives out of the game.

“(Giants) are a pretty good hockey team, they’re fast and with good skating defenceman,” said Gally. “Our guys came out hard tonight, they got an extra one on us, but I’m really proud of the guys and how we played (against a top team).”

With a day’s rest, the Rockets head into the weekend facing a back-to-back that starts on Friday in the U.S. against the Tri-City Americans and then back at home against the Saskatoon Blades on Saturday.

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