Kelowna’s Ethan Ernst had a goal and an assist against Portland at Prospera Place on Friday night. (Photo: Marissa Baecker/Kelowna Rockets Images)

Rockets lose to Winterhawks, drop to wild-card position

Rockets’ Kyle Topping was named the first star of the game with two goals

The Kelowna Rockets now drop to a wildcard position after losing 4-2 to the Portland Winterhawks on Saturday night at Prospera Place.

Rockets’ goaltender Roman Basran returned between the pipes after being pulled the night before. The 18-year-old stopped 32 of the 35 shots faced.

“I just play every game the same,” said Basran when asked about his bounce-back performance.

“Same mentality, same way. Don’t do anything different, cause once you do anything different there’s no point of changing.”

Despite losing the game, the Rockets outshot Portland 38-36, registering 17 shots alone in the opening frame.

“We had a better start and didn’t take as many penalties tonight,” said head coach Adam Foote.

“It was good, we had a good effort against a good team, a fast team and we didn’t stop. There was a lot of positives that came out of that game.”

READ MORE: Rockets splutter, Warriors come close in Okanagan hockey action

Five minutes into the second period Portland’s Cross Hanas and Seth Jarvis found the twine to give their team a 2-o lead. Then, Kyle Topping would give the Rockets some life one a pass attempt that went off a Winterhawk defenceman and into the net. Jarvis would then restore Portland’s two-goal lead 1:20 after Topping’s tally.

Reece Newirk would seal the deal for Portland on an empty-net goal with 2:43 left in the game. Topping scored his second of the game in the dying seconds of the third period.

“I think we played more solid minutes,” said Topping following the game.

“We continued what we did yesterday that worked. We had a lot of good shifts and hemmed them in and made them work.”

Kelowna went 0-5 on the powerplay, while Portland was 0-4.

Sean Comrie, Devin Steffler, Michael Farren, Matthew Wedman Liam Kindree and Nolan Foote were all listed as injured for the Rockets.

The Rockets are now 2-8-0-0 in their last 10 games. They will look to turn things around on Tuesday when they visit the Prince George Cougars.

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