Rookie defenceman Lucas Johansen celebrates his first WHL in the Kelowna Rockets 11-4 win over Kamloops Wednesday night at Prospera Place.

Rookie defenceman Lucas Johansen celebrates his first WHL in the Kelowna Rockets 11-4 win over Kamloops Wednesday night at Prospera Place.

Rockets’ offense finds new gear

Western Conference's highest scoring team rings up 11 against Kamloops, 51 in the last nine games

Head coach Dan Lambert doesn’t expect his Kelowna Rockets to hit double digits on the scoreboard every night.

But with 24 goals in the last three games, the WHL’s No. 1 team looks to be hitting full stride on offense.

The most encouraging aspect of the recent surge for the Rockets—who rang up an 11-4 win over Kamloops on Wednesday—is that goals are coming from up and down the entire lineup.

“Whenever you have four lines capitalizing…it’s nice to see,” said Lambert, whose team has scored 51 times in the last nine games. “It’s something that when we made these moves (for Leon Draisiatl and Josh Morrissey) you think that that’s going to happen a month ago, but it took a little time.

“We still have areas to improve,” he added, “but it was certainly another step in the right direction.”

Rookie Tomas Soustal enjoyed his best game as a Rocket Wednesday with two goals and two assists. As an added bonus three of Kelowna’s goals came from 17-year-old defenceman, including Lucas Johansen’s long-awaited first WHL marker.

“When we had injuries and Madison Bowey was gone to world juniors, Lucas was asked to log a lot of ice time and (Wednesday) he gets rewarded,” Lambert said. “The only guy for us that didn’t have a goal and he couldn’t wait to get it. It was great to see him get rewarded.”

The WHL’s best road team (23-3-2-1) this season, the Rockets will visit the division rival Victoria Royals for games on Friday and Saturday nights.

As always, Lambert expects the Royals to be ready to play.

“It’s never an easy road trip or building to play in, or team to play against,” said Lambert. “We can expect a hard physical battle and they have a lot of skill as well. It’s going to be a big game Friday night for us.”

The Rockets (45-9-3-1) next home action is next Wednesday night when the Royals make a return visit to Prospera.

 

Kelowna Capital News